While it was mostly aimed at South-East Queensland, the announcement on the weekend of a state government $105.5 million investment to address the impact of ice on Queensland over the next five years is welcome everywhere.
The whole-of-government plan Action on Ice is aimed at reducing supply of ice, reducing the demand of ice and reducing the harms and effects of ice use.
And while Rockhampton gets a $14.3 million new 42-bed residential drug rehabilitation and treatment facility and Brisbane gets a trial youth residential care service for high risk young people, it is a problem across the state including here in the North West.
Figures from 2016 for the Mount Isa Police District show ice accounted for one in five local drug seizures.
And while it is far from epidemic proportions, it is an important consideration in the community and as Robbie Katter said a couple of years ago drug and alcohol abuse among young people is a reflection on how we’re failing them in terms of jobs and industry opportunities.
He said giving young people employment and hope for the future was the antidote to widespread drug use and he is right longer term, but the action plan is useful for the here and now issues faced by people using ice and the people they affect.
There is money in the plan to expand access to specialist family support and services regional Queensland and a program to raise awareness to make sure people know how and where to access help to deal with the impact ice is having on their lives
The government said it was also committed to strengthening the alcohol and other drug treatment system to deliver treatment options including withdrawal management, counselling, rehabilitation, family support and specialist services.
Help organisation Lives Lived Well says in their services around Queensland about 30 to 40 per cent of the people seeking help, name ice as their primary drug of concern.
Action on ice: The Queensland Government’s plan to address use and harms caused by crystal methamphetamine can be read at http://qld.gov.au/actiononice – Derek Barry