OPEN DISCUSSION: Kerry Skinner speaks to a seminar discussing the ice situation in the Clarence Valley.
OPEN DISCUSSION: Kerry Skinner speaks to a seminar discussing the ice situation in the Clarence Valley. Adam Hourigan

Families on frontline to help ice users

COMMUNITY and family members have an important role to play in combating the use of crystal methamphetamine, or ice, in the Clarence Valley.

A forum in South Grafton on Tuesday heard from experts and frontline workers that the user won't always reach out for help.

A past ice user, Viki, who didn't wish to give her last name, told the meeting that it was up to loved ones to look for assistance because users don't seek out services until they reach the point where they want to stop.

But when they did seek help, she said, users needed to work with doctors to ensure they got the right treatment for their situation.

"You need to tell them what will help them," she said.

Viki said keeping busy, staying occupied and being honest was the key to users staying clean.

"Say you love them, you can call me throughout the day," was her advice for family members who are often on the front line of helping users.

Local medical practitioner, Dr John Drinkwater, said because treatment of ice use was not a part of standard training, doctors had to actively seek the knowledge to help users.

"Because doctors don't know enough, they don't want to get involved," Dr Drinkwater said.

"There is a lack of education, lack of support and fear."

Kim Gussy, from the North Coast Primary Health Network, said they had plans to educate general practitioners about how to treat ice use.

Senior Constable David Fish encouraged the use of Crime Stoppers to tell police about suppliers, dealers and manufacturers.

Meeting attendees and panellists also discussed how the money from the National Ice Taskforce could be spent to help the community combat the use of ice.



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