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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community rallies against ice

Date posted: 21 September 2015

Staff from the Gindaja Treatment and Healing Indigenous Corporation, in far north Queensland, have been knocking on doors since Wednesday and taking surveys to gauge how much of a toll ice is taking on the community.

It's the first step in getting some hard data for service providers, who have until now relied partially on rumours circulating within the community of less than 2500.

The corporation's, Greg Fourmile, told AAP results from the first two days of surveys confirmed what rehab workers had suspected - ice usage is on the rise.

Gindaja Chief Executive, Ailsa Lively, knew of three users in the town a year-and-a-half ago, but estimates there are now up to 40, with around half that number confirmed in the first days of surveying.

Acting Senior Sergeant, Andrew Pool, hadn't heard of juveniles taking the drug but said young males were the main risk takers.

But the problem is far less widespread than in nearby Cairns, thanks in part to an extremely strong anti-ice sentiment, Acting Senior Sergeant Pool said.

'A lot of the stop signs in Yarrabah have been graffitied with 'Ice' under it,' he told AAP. 'I think that's a really positive visual image that the community's not hiding from it.'

Ice use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has become a high-profile topic, with a number of leaders speaking out about the issue.

Last week, Queensland MP, Billy Gordon, went public about losing an uncle and a 22-year-old cousin to ice-related suicides and called on governments to 'get their hands dirty' and increase funding for mental health services.

The comments were made at a meeting with police and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services, which called for more funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to address the issue with culturally appropriate programs.

While no one knows for sure which Queensland communities are worst affected, Dr Mark Wenitong, from the Apunipima Cape York Health Council, said it was expected towns near mines and regional centres would have the biggest problems.

One such community is Aurukun, where Mayor Derek Walpo is concerned the drug is flowing in from nearby mining town Weipa. He's been distributing flyers and posters around his locality in an effort to get through to the town's youth before a major problem takes hold.

Source: Nine News


Last updated: 21 September 2015
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute