The Victorian Government announcement of a Parliamentary Inquiry into methamphetamine (aka ‘crystal meth’ or ‘ice’) is a welcome move. Ice is a highly addictive drug capable of triggering aggressive and violent behaviour, causing trauma in our communities. The heartbreaking stories associated with this insidious drug are far too familiar to me over recent years. It’s a drug that once used heavily, is difficult to escape, and is increasingly taking hold of people’s lives.
The recently announced funding increases for treatment services and education are a step in the right direction, however we need more dollars to run preventative programs that will develop and support our young people so they do not turn to drugs. Preventing drug problems comes down to tackling the issues that lead people to develop them in the first place – we need to tackle issues of unemployment, disengagement, mental health, isolation and boredom. This means community education about drug use issues; assisting parents to nurture their children through adolescence; ensuring all young people have access to jobs, training or further education; helping people access health and mental health services; and providing ways for young people to be engaged with their community, particularly in rural areas. Families needing information about ice can find it at www.druginfo.adf.org.au
John Rogerson, CEO, Australian Drug Foundation.