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Community Forum to tackle ice epidemic

Bland Shire Council will host a community ice forum next week to tackle head on an issue which is devastating similar sized rural communities across Australia.

The community drug (ice) forum will be held at St Mary’s Hall in West Wyalong next Wednesday night, 22 July and feature guest speakers including a former user, police officer, paramedic and drug and alcohol clinician who will each deliver a no holds barred address about methylamphetamine (ice) and its devastating affects on individuals, families and entire communities

According to the recently established National Ice Taskforce, there appears to be an increase in the availability and use of methylamphetamine, in particular ice, in areas where the drug has not been previously prevalent – particularly regional, rural and disadvantaged communities.

Law enforcement efforts indicate that the problem is only getting worse while in Wagga Wagga paramedics have said they will not touch ice-affected people upon responding to an incident until police backup arrives due to safety fears.

“While there is no specific evidence of an ice epidemic in the Bland Shire, Council has seen the devastating effect the drug has had on other rural areas and how quickly it can take hold,” Bland Shire Council Director of Corporate, Community and Development Services, Adele Casey said.

“Council wanted to be pro-active in informing and educating the community about this awful drug before it becomes an epidemic and seriously threatens the way of life Bland Shire residents value so dearly.

“It is important to stand together as a community to fight against this drug and its presence in our community.”

The forum will help educate people about ice, the effects of the drug, what to do if someone close to them becomes affected by ice and the referral options and resources available.

After each delivering a short address, the guest speakers will form a panel to answer residents questions at the end of the evening. People will also have an opportunity to ask questions anonymously.

The forum commences at 6pm at St Mary’s Hall in Church Street, West Wyalong. Registration is not required but people are encouraged to arrive early to ensure they get a seat.