Ice group offers help for Wimmera families

WIMMERA families being torn apart by crystal methamphetamine use are seeking solace in each other.

The Wimmera's first support group for families affected by ice use formed earlier this month and will meet for the second time on Monday night.

Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce co-ordinator and Grampians Community Health alcohol and other drugs counsellor Brendan Scale said the group attracted people from all walks of life.

"There are single people, couples we've had an uncle come along and grandmother," he said.

"The group provides therapeutic benefits for families and friends who have loved ones dealing with ice addiction."

Mr Scale said two Grampians Community Health facilitators led the group.

"It's still at a very early stage, so the group is likely to evolve," he said.

"At the moment there is a mix of education, knowledge sharing and debriefing."

Mr Scale said the was a strong emphasis on confidentiality within the group.

"The people who come along respect each others' privacy," he said.

"There are people out there who are doing it tough and need somewhere to go to get support.

"The people who have come along find it's good to be able to talk about the issue with other people who are going through the same thing there is no judgement."

Fortnightly meetings will be on Monday nights at Grampians Community Health in Horsham from 7pm to 8pm.

Mr Scale said the family support group was part of Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce's ongoing commitment to battle ice use in the Wimmera.

Horsham hosted the state's largest ice forum in December last year.

About 250 people attended the forum at Wesley Performing Arts Centre, with another 100 Wimmera residents participating in an ice workshop for professionals earlier in the day.

Twelve people attended a family forum the following week to gauge interest in an ongoing support group.

Mr Scale said the taskforce was in the process of completing an ice action plan for the Wimmera.

"The ice forum in Horsham last year was not a one-off," he said.

Mr Scale said people from towns across the Wimmera had expressed interest in hosting their own ice forums.

"Ice is a Wimmera-wide problem," he said.

"We are more than happy to share our knowledge and help facilitate forums in other parts of the region."

Mr Scale said anyone interested in further education or in joining the family support group could call him on 5362 1200.

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