March date set for ice scrutiny as Parliamentary inquiry sits in Warrnambool

A parliamentary inquiry into the drug ice will sit in Warrnambool next year.

The hearing is scheduled to be held on March 3 and has been welcomed by local drug and alcohol counselling services.

Western Victoria MP Simon Ramsay pushed for the inquiry to be held in the south-west and said a local session would give those affected in the community a chance to share their stories.

Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre director Geoff Soma said it was good for south-west organisations and services to be included in the debate around methamphetamine use and get the opportunity to look at a number of perspectives, including police, emergency services and the community.

“It’s really important to have the experience of individual voices,” Mr Soma said.

“The experience for individuals may not be the same and treatment responses may differ.

“It’s a really good thing to get the complete picture.” 

Mr Soma said he had been in contact with police, who had obvious concerns about the increasing use of ice.

He said users could be violent and difficult to handle in custody and police needed support.

Glenelg Southern Grampians Drug Treatment Service manager Bev McIlroy said she was interested in being part of the inquiry and providing feedback.

The inquiry will look at the supply and distribution of methamphetamine and links to organised crime organisations, including outlaw motorcycle gangs. It will also consider the nature, prevalence and culture of methamphetamine use in Victoria, particularly among young people, indigenous people and those who live in rural areas, as well as the links between methamphetamine use and crime, in particular crimes against the person.

Hearings have already been held in Bendigo, Geelong and Ballarat and are scheduled to be held in Mildura, Wodonga and Shepparton.

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