FORMER policeman Kevin Mack has seen first hand the toll methamphetamine has taken on Border families and, as Albury mayor, he’s looking for solutions.
Albury and Wodonga councils, cross-border health agencies and police have joined forces to host a free community forum on Wednesday about the drug.
“A lot of this stuff is new to people, especially parents,” Cr Mack said.
“There are a lot of helpless parents out there.”
Wednesday’s event comes after public health group Anex ran a series of forums around the state recently, including one at Benalla.
Wodonga mayor Rod Wangman said while many Border residents were keen to attend the Benalla forum, they were unable to travel to attend.
“This is an ongoing step towards tackling this issue,” Cr Wangman said.
The forum will cover methamphetamine use, the effects and risks, treatment and the extent of the problem on the Border.
Cr Mack said the forum would provide insight into one of the biggest drug issues to emerge in recent times.
“From my experience as a policeman, I know that ice destroys lives, families and communities,” he said.
“Its impact is devastating and all levels of government and community groups must work together to find a solution.”
Cr Mack said “ice” was the new heroin.
“It has taken over because it’s cheaper, it’s accessible and it’s a quick fix,” he said.
“If someone gets addicted to that quick fix, that’s when you start seeing issues within that person and the way they relate to the community and their family.
“A lot of our crimes are driven by drug use and it’s not necessarily confining itself to ice, there’s a lot of issues with users of prescription drugs.
“We can provide the location, infrastructure and support to the health agencies to enable a community gathering where parents and young people and professionals can come together to discuss issues confronting them over the drug.
“It is our hope that we can explore practical solutions and I encourage everyone to participate in this discuss.”
Presenters at the forum will include drug and alcohol counsellors Carmen Colley and Bianca Deuis, mental health and drug and alcohol clinical leader Alan Fisher and representatives from Albury and Wodonga police.
The forum will be held at The Cube Wodonga, from 7pm.