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Meth help expands regional reach

A community-run group from Bunbury tackling the South West’s methamphetamine crisis is set to extend its reach to help Margaret River residents.

Bunbury’s Icebreakers group has already attended one local community forum where residents and families affected by ice addiction shared their struggles, but the Icebreakers will be more frequent visitors, with a volunteer day planned for Wednesday, and $1000 in funding from the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.

Icebreakers co-ordinator and former addict Adam Lange told the Times Margaret River had the same methamphetamine problems as many other smaller regional towns.

“There are people down there who are suffering and families as well,” he said. “People in rural towns seem to be getting hit the hardest, perhaps because of unemployment.

“It’s a very hard drug to get away from.

“You’ve not only got to fight the addiction, but also walk away from the lifestyle.”

Mr Lange said “it only takes one addict” before methamphetamine consumption spread to others in small communities.

Capes residents who did not want to be named said there was a lot of shame and anxiety surrounding ice abuse. There were several deaths in the Capes region this year tied to ice abuse, and families had also split up, or become embroiled in disputes between addicted members.

One woman said methamphetamine was increasingly the party drug of choice because it let young people drink more heavily during their weekends.

“The people who are turning to the drug just don’t understand how addictive it is,” she said.

Mr Lange said ice was the hardest of the drugs he had quit, and casual users were easily hooked.

“It also clears through your system fairly quickly and then you can get a drug test a few days later and it won’t show up,” he said.

Icebreakers started as an informal community group more than two years ago and is now extending from Bunbury to other regional centres because more and more addicts and their families are seeking help.

Mr Lange’s comments come as the State Opposition launched into Police Minister Michelle Roberts’ methamphetamine action plan this week, saying it had abandoned compulsory rehabilitation and cut funding to the meth helpline.

Shire community development co-ordinator Jason Cleary said the grant to Icebreakers came from the community development fund to help extend its program. “The program shows loved ones how to help, support and guide them into recovery,” he said.

Mr Lange said no referrals were needed for the volunteer-run service. To make contact, call 0400 707 049, email icebreakers.bunbury@wapcyc.com.au, or see the group’s Facebook page.

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