Ice affecting Ballarat white-collar workers

ICE has seeped into white collar professions in Ballarat, according to a former community health worker.

In a bid to tackle the scourge of the drug in Ballarat, former ice addict Stu Fenton has launched a new website to educate and support those who are affected by crystal meth addiction.

“A lot of families don’t know where to start,” he said.

“It’s also to be able to help people through the confusion of being able to get treatment.”

Mr Fenton worked at Ballarat Community Health as a youth worker and said his role reinforced that ice addiction did not discriminate any job or profession.

“In six months at Community Health, I saw so many different pockets of the community, including single mothers, farmers and lawyers,” he said.

“It’s incredibly high amongst tradies, including plumbers and electricians.”

Mr Fenton said there had been cases where trades people would smoke ice in the car on the way to work.

“I’m dealing with a lot of female partners and wives of ice addicts and they don’t understand why the addicts lie, why they can’t stop, how they don’t take responsibility for themselves,” Mr Fenton said.

“What I’m doing is helping the addict better themselves and the best way to not enable the addict.”

Mr Fenton has abstained from ice for nearly 11 years and currently holds a crystal meth support group in Ballarat.

He said plans were being made for a day rehab program, however he said Ballarat was in need of a long-term residential therapeutic community.

“What is unique in my service is that I have a deep knowledge of where to direct addicts and how to support families,” he said.

For more information, visit www.beyondaddiction.net.au

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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