Forum hears of crippling effects of ice

THE growing community concern around the drug ice has led to a forum to hear about the crippling effects of crystal methamphetamine and ways to help users struggling with addiction.

Around 120 people attended the Department of Justice community forum at Federation University last night, where they were told of the devastating toll ice can take on the mind and body.

Public health group Anex trainer Crios O’Mahony spoke on how ice is made, what affect it has on chemicals in the brain and signs of psychosis and overdose.

He  said methamphetamine had a long history of use but had recently become a “cure-all for the 21st century”.

“We don’t need to exaggerate about ice because the truth is scary enough. It’s a terrifying drug. It can be really really hard on communities,” said Mr O’Mahony.

Ballarat police have raised concerns about the increasing use of ice locally, which has seen a jump in drug-related crime.

The audience also asked questions of a panel of local health service workers, including how to broach the topic of drugs with children.

Question were also asked about the lack of resources for drug and alcohol support services and whether you need a drug user’s permission to seek help.

Among the crowd were people who knew drugs users, support workers, as well as members of Ballarat police, including Superintendent Andrew Allen.

One audience member asked about ways to help an ice user who has acknowledged that they have problem but refuses to seek help.

“Do you just accept that if they don’t want to get the help, you are just then forced to go merrily along your way and accept that there isn’t a problem?” 

Crios O’Mahony, from health organisation Anex, was one of the speakers. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Crios O’Mahony, from health organisation Anex, was one of the speakers. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Ballarat UnitingCare drug and alcohol program manager Peter Cranage said it helped to provide information to drug users about what support services were available.

“Sometimes it takes a person a while to get the point. Even though you might see that they’re really struggling,” he said.

tom.cowie@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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