A campaign against the spread of the illicit drug ice in Mildura has welcomed a Statewide Parliamentary inquiry into the drug.
Project ICE Mildura last month kicked off a six-month campaign to counter the influence of the drug on the Mildura community amid concerns its use is increasing in the region.
Health agencies and police believe it is the major drug concern in the Mildura area, and say it’s having devastating effects on its growing number of users.
A State Parliamentary Committee was yesterday directed to investigate the supply and use of ice in Victoria. It will examine the supply and use of methamphetamines with a particular focus on ice.
The Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Committee will look at the nature, prevalence and culture of methamphetamine use, particularly among young and indigenous people and those living in rural areas.
Project ICE Mildura brings together organisations including Sunraysia Community Health, Mildura Rural City Council, Mildura Police, Mallee District Aboriginal Services and the Northern Mallee Primary Care Partnership.
The group said members were welcoming an opportunity to having input to the inquiry because of Mildura’s particular problems with the drug.
“Ice is the second most common illicit drug in Mildura after cannabis and its use has risen rapidly over the past year,” said Project ICE Mildura spokeswoman Melissa Lonsdale from Sunraysia Community Health.
“We are getting on the front foot as a community with this combined response,” she said.
“But we also need the ice issue to be looked at a wider level and this inquiry is a welcome recognition by Government about the extent of the problem.
“This significance of the ice issue here in Mildura is of concern
“But we aren’t alone – we know many other communities and regional towns are grappling with the same issues, so it’s good to see the response from the Parliament in getting this inquiry started.
“This drug is affecting not only the user, but also families and we are also seeing an increase in crime impacting on the wider community – no one in our community is immune from the effects, or the ripple effects.”
Several community forums in Mildura have already attracted more than 250 people seeking more information about the signs, symptoms and effects of ice, and another forum is scheduled for the Benetook Room at the Alfred Deakin Centre next Thursday night (6-7 p.m.).
It’s aimed at parents, carers, community members and young people and will provide information about ice, its effects and the signs and symptoms of its use.
“What we need is for people to realise that as a community this is everyone’s problem and that knowledge is a powerful resource to helping us to overcome it,” Ms Lonsdale said.