MESSAGE: Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs chair Kay Hull speaks at the Wagga Ice Forum on Thursday. Picture: Kieren L Tilly
CALLS to establish a national support hotline for those affected by the ice scourge have arisen as a result of a forum held about the drug’s growing influencein Wagga.
A frequent concern raised by audience members at the forum on Thursday night was the lack of support services available –not only for those who become addicted to the drug, but others left to pick up the pieces from the fall-out.
One woman angrily confronted panelists at the forum about the lack of support services for friends and family of addicts and education on the subject.
Kay Hull, the chair of the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs, a key member of the national ice taskforce and convenor of Thursday’s forum, said the creation of a national hotline was critical in the fight to curb the drug’s rapidly spreading reach.
“The number one gap for me is you need a national number –one number everyone knows, that’s in every pub, every phone book, every chemist, every place,” she said.
“One number you go to which will triage you through the area you need to be at. That’s what we need right now in Australia, right this minute.”
Member for Riverina Michael McCormack, who found Thursday’s forum a “raw and emotional” experience, has backed the call for the establishment of a national hotline.
“The thing I really took home from (the forum) is we do need a national hotline and it would be great to have a national service to be able to confront this problem,” he said.
“Hopefully that will be one of the recommendations out of the national taskforce –perhaps we can have a 1800-number where people seeking assistance can go.”
Mrs Hull said the sheer raw emotion displayed at the Wagga forum, combined with the amount of people willing to stand and identify themselves as having dealt first-hand with the ice problem, was something she hadn’t seen at events held elsewhere.
“One of the things that resonated very strongly with me was the sheer emotional frustration of one of the parents who were looking after the grandchildren,” Mrs Hull said.
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