Several regional media outlets have recently reported on community concerns regarding use of the methamphetamine 'Ice' in country communities, including several in western Victoria.
These reports quoted former addicts, family members, and police and described the devastating effects on young people within our regional towns.
The Victorian Coalition Government is broadening the fight against the growing use of 'Ice' in the community with a new package of targeted initiatives.
Through this new package the Coalition Government is investing more than $1.1 million in prevention, education and treatment initiatives targeting key groups in the Victorian community.
Through these new initiatives we are improving knowledge about the prevalence and impact of ice, educating key groups about its devastating effects and training our police and paramedics to effectively respond.
The education campaign, the expansion of counselling and the training of staff will be provided right across the state. An inquiry into the supply and use of methamphetamines, particularly ice, in Victoria has been referred to the Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention committee of Parliament for consideration.
In particular the committee is required to:
examine the channels of supply of methamphetamine, including direct importation and local manufacture of final product and raw ingredients;
examine the supply and distribution of methamphetamine and links to organised crime organisations, including outlaw motorcycle gangs;
examine the nature, prevalence and culture of methamphetamine use in Victoria, particularly amongst young people, indigenous people and those who live in rural areas;
examine the links between methamphetamine use and crime, in particular crimes against the person;
examine the short- and long-term consequences of methamphetamine use;
review the adequacy of past and existing state and federal strategies for dealing with methamphetamine use;
consider best practice strategies to address methamphetamine use and associated crime, including regulatory, law enforcement, education and treatment responses, particularly for groups outlined above.
I would urge people with views on this matter, and agencies providing assistance to ice users within your area to make submissions to the inquiry.