Ballarat streets "one stop shops" for ice

Karen Heap

Karen Heap

BALLARAT'S indigenous community is being torn apart by ice, while some young Aborigines view the drug as a "badge of honour" when they get their hands on it.

Addicts also claim there are at least two "cook houses" in Ballarat and certain streets in Ballarat serve as "one-stop shops", according to the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative.

And the drug is even prevalent in Ballarat football clubs, as well as nightclubs.In a submission to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the supply and use of ice, BADAC chief executive officer Karen Heap said ice was having a disastrous impact on the indigenous community in Ballarat.

People from all walks of life were becoming hooked on the drug, Ms Heap said, adding there were few facilities that exist to curb the epidemic.

"Ice is particularly horrible because of the effects it has on our people," Ms Heap told the inquiry."I'm very concerned for our people. It has become a party drug for us as aboriginal people."

Also speaking on behalf of BADAC, mental health worker Peter Treloar gave some horrific examples as to the disastrous impact ice had on some Ballarat people.

Mr Treloar spoke of a 15-year-old indigenous boy from a broken family who started drinking alcohol when he was just six years old, before he recently discovered ice.

"He presented it (ice) more as a badge of honour, as if to say 'I use ice it's great, it's so easy to get'," he said."It was quite alarming that he saw nothing wrong with it, that he wore it as a badge of honour."

Mr Treloar said it was almost impossible for heavy addicts to come clean, given there were few facilities in Ballarat to detox.

He said he had also heard how the drug had become part of football clubs and that it was particularly prominent in nightclubs.

"There is no fear, it's crept into football clubs, nightclubs and it's not just underground, which was what we first thought."

Ms Heap said there needed to be better centres developed to help treat indigenous people.

"We need somewhere for these people to go to heal their inner soul, not just focus on the drugs themselves," she said.

"Waiting so long to get people into rehab or detox is not beneficial to people whatsoever."

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