DEALING with a loved one affected by the illicit drug "ice" has been described by a local parent as one of life's hardest struggles.
"We are currently experiencing first-hand the effects that the drug ice has on a person, and not only that person, but everyone who cares and surrounds that person," she said.
Ice is one of the slang names for crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride.
The Federal Department of Health advises that ice and base are methamphetamine, part of the amphetamine family of drugs which also includes speed. The difference between ice, base and speed is that ice is the most pure form.
The 'high' experienced from ice and base is much more intense, and with intense reactions come powerful responses including comedown, the potential for dependence (addiction) and chronic physical and mental problems.
Speaking on behalf of her partner and herself, the woman said that it had certainly been one of life's hardest struggles and what has made their journey tougher is the lack of knowledge and just where to turn next.
Speaking anonymously, the mother made a heart-felt plea to district people to attend one of the coming drug forums at Cohuna and Kerang.
The first forum will be held at the Cohuna Memorial Hall between 7pm and 9pm on Wednesday, May 14. Register by telephoning Cohuna Neighbourhood House, 5456 4666 or e-mail email@example.com.
A second forum will be held on Wednesday, May 21 in the Kerang Memorial Hall between 7pm and 9pm. Register by telephoning Northern District Community Health Service, 5451 0200 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Unless you have personally experienced this, and the steps that follow, you will have no concept of how much this district needs this forum," she said.
"Kerang and our district is currently experiencing a huge ice problem at epidemic proportions.
"It's in our streets, pubs, and even our schools, and noone is considered immune from it.
"Kerang and our district need to look very seriously into this problem before it's just too late."
Senior Constable Andrew Neil, who has worked with the district drug tasking unit, has gathered a committee of education, health and municipal professionals to organise the forum after receiving a number of requests for information about this latest drugs scourge. Support has been received from service clubs, community groups and sporting organisations.
The organisers have engaged Anex Australia to conduct the forums. Anex is a program of Penington Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that advances health and community safety by connecting substance use research to practical action.
Kerang Football Club president, Andrew Gray said that the Kerang forum would be a compulsory educational training night for players.
"We've told them, they're got to be there and they have to hear the message," he said.