Glen Innes Police Inspector Garry Huard says that crystal methamphetamine or ‘ice’ is a problem in Glen Innes but there is no epidemic.
The Federal Government recently announced a new national taskforce on the drug ice that will give priority to rural and regional Australia.
Inspector Huard said that it would be naïve to think that Glen Innes doesn’t have a drug problem.
“No town is immune to drug problems and abuse of drugs does play a fairly significant part in what we investigate on a weekly basis,” he said.
“We are seeing an increase in ice use and a lot of the people we deal with are clearly affected by that drug, even victims are talking about their incident being related to ice use.
“We have issued search warrants over the last six to 12 months on places where they are allegedly manufacturing ice within Glen Innes and Tenterfield.
“We believe that the use of ice has taken over from cannabis which leads to an increase in hospital admissions and erratic behaviour. We see it as just as much of a health issue as a crime issue.”
Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said the taskforce would pay special attention to the problem in regional Australia.
“The unfortunate situation we find ourselves in with ice in so many rural and regional communities will be made very clear to this taskforce,” she said.
“We know that we must include, in fact give priority to, rural, regional and remote Australia.”
In response Inspector Huard stressed the need for any funding to have an emphasis on prevention and education.
“This is the type of drug that once people are hooked it is very hard to turn them around,” he said.
“I hope any funding from the taskforce would be equally shared between health, education and policing.
“We have gone into local schools and given talks on this subject and that is something that we will continue to do.”
Director of Drug and Alcohol at Hunter New England Health Adrian Dunlop says drug and alcohol clinicians are available to support methamphetamine users across the District, including in Glen Innes.
“Hunter New England Health offers a number of services for methamphetamine users including assessment and referral, counselling and withdrawal support,” he said.
“A Drug and Alcohol counsellor is available in Glen Innes and provides evidenced-based interventions to assist people who want to reduce or stop their drug and or alcohol use.
“Demand for assistance through the Stimulant Treatment Clinic, across the District has been steady over the past couple of years.”
Anyone seeking help should contact the Drug and Alcohol Triage and Assessment Service on1300 66 00 59.
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