AN EDUCATION program to support families affected by ice will visit Wonthaggi this week.
The first session was held last night, February 6 and the second session will be held this Monday, February 13 at Bass Coast Health at the Wonthaggi Hospital from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
‘Breakthrough: ice education for families’ will cover key issues including how to identify if family members are using ice, how to seek treatment and how families can support these decisions, and the relationship between drug use and mental health.
The program has been developed by Turning Point, Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC) and the Bouverie Centre, and is supported by the State Government through the Ice Action Plan.
Turning Point director Prof Dan Lubman said the program was a great opportunity for three major state-wide services to work collaboratively to reduce the harms associated with ice use in our community.
“This program aims to provide an insight into what ice is, how it affects people and how to support family members into treatment.
“We will also provide people with practical approaches in caring for themselves, and other family members.”
More than 100 sessions have been held with over 2000 people throughout Victoria, and Turning Point education officer, Dean Rogut, said there had been an overwhelmingly positive response to the program.
“Most people come out of it having learnt something positive that can help loved ones,” he said.
“Whilst we deal with people that have got issues, quite often families are forgotten in the process.
“We’ve been doing this for about 18 months now and now we’re getting invited to places to talk to communities.
“Quite often people are worried, and part of that is the stigma of putting their hand up and saying ‘this is what we’re dealing with in our family’, so they’re worried about how people are going to perceive them and then others are reluctant to get help for various reasons.”
The workshops are free but bookings are
essential.
For further details and to register, visit www.turningpoint.org.au/education/breakthrough

How to deal with an Ice problem
Key messages from the Breakthrough program include:
• The impacts of ice can vary for each person.
• A person’s drug use can affect their mental health and vice versa.
• The longer a person is abstinent the more improvement you will see in their thinking and emotional parts of the brain.
• Try to understand the drug use from the person’s point of view.
• Change is possible and may take a few attempts.

Practical strategies to help family members discuss drug use and keep communication lines open include:
• Let them know you are worried and that they can talk to you whenever they need to.
• Encourage them to discuss their drug use with a health professional such as a GP or counsellor.
1800 ICE ADVICE, ACSO Connect, Directline and Family Drug Help are important and useful first points of contact.
Victorian alcohol and drug treatment services are offered in a range of settings, by workers from many professional backgrounds, and have varying goals.