THE escalating use of methamphetamine in Portland is among the drug and alcohol problems to be targeted by a new campaign which aims to involve the whole community.
Glenelg Southern Gram-pians Drug Treatment Service (GSGDTS) will run the campaign in conjunction with a network of local services.
The campaign will kick off with a public forum on September 11, featuring nationally-recognised child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and other speakers.
The forum will explain about methamphetamine, or ice as it is more commonly known, look at the warning signs of use, discuss how to access professional help and look at practical strategies to reduce the harm it causes.
GSGDTS manager Bev McIlroy said the forum would be an opportunity for parents, grandparents, schools, sporting clubs and other interested community people to increase their awareness about local drug and alcohol use and get some tips for prevention.
Ms McIlroy said it was time the community found out more about the harm caused by ice in Portland and look at ways to tackle it.
“Like many rural areas we are seeing immediate visual harms from ice, not only in the physical and mental health of users but in the disruption it causes to families, workplace, education, finances and crime rates,” she said.
GSGDTS dealt with clients with ice addictions but much of the problem was unreported, Ms McIlroy said.
“The challenge is to acknowledge that we have a problem and that we need to do something to address the serious harms it is causing," she said.
“There is an obvious trend towards use of ice in rural communities, including Portland, and it’s not just in young people. It crosses all generations and socio-economic areas."