NO region has been left untouched by the highly addictive drug “ice”, according to Warrnambool’s peak drug and alcohol services.
As the state parliamentary inquiry into the supply and use of methampehtamines, particularly ice, began this week, Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre (WRAD) acting operations manager Daryl Fitzgibbon welcomed the government initiative.
He said any government that looked at alcohol and drugs seriously as a health issue, through to the broad range of impacts, could do nothing but good.
He was hopeful it would mean more resources were put into dealing with the complexity of the problem.
Mr Fitzgibbon said the use of ice was an issue across Victoria and he didn’t believe any area had been left untouched.
“It’s a growing issue statewide,” he said.
He said a submission from WRAD would be made to the inquiry on behalf of the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA).
VAADA executive officer Sam Biondo agreed ice was an issue affecting the state.
He said generally he was supportive of the inquiry, so long as it looked comprehensively at all the issues.
“I think this is a burden on the whole community,” he said.
Mr Biondo said the community needed to understand all the issues that were at play.
“Why in particular are rural communities affected?” he said.
“Often they’re vulnerable communities. Often the infrastructure is not there to deal with these issues.”
Mr Biondo said the treatment sector was capable of dealing with it, but more support was needed for the appropriate resources.
“Law and order is not the total solution,” he said.
“It’s a broader, complex social problem with complex solutions.”
In December The Standard reported that the number of people using methamphetamines in the south-west had risen sharply.
At the time, WRAD director Geoff Soma said there had been a steady increase in the use of crystal methamphetamine, or ice, in the previous three months, with the drug accounting for 10 per cent of presentations in that period.
He said ice was a dangerous drug of high dependency and users could never really be sure of what they were getting.