ORGANISERS of a community forum to discuss the drug 'ice' in Warracknabeal were blown away when more than 350 people attended the event.
Yarriambiack councillor and Warracknabeal Secondary College chaplain Lisa Woods said the group could not have anticipated such a large crowd at the crystal methamphetamine-focused forum on Wednesday night.
"We really would have been stoked with 100 people," she said.
Cr Woods said education was the focus of the evening.
"It doesn't indicate that there is a problem," she said.
"It highlights that people want to know about ice and be educated in advance, so if something arises they will know what to do."
The forum used a true story to illustrate the decline of a man who becomes addicted to ice.
"My biggest point at the end of the night is that ice is not a huge problem in our community, but for those who are affected it's huge."- Lisa Wood
A panel discussion with Warracknabeal doctor Franklin Butuyuyu, clinical social worker Pip Watene, Grampians Community Health worker David Henwood and Wimmera Superintendent Graham Kent followed the man's story.
Cr Woods said the audience quizzed the panel on the nature of addiction.
"Dr Butuyuyu's response was that everybody's different," she said.
She said the size of the forum was not indicative of the level of drug use in the region.
"My biggest point at the end of the night is that ice is not a huge problem in our community, but for those who are affected it's huge," Cr Woods said.
"It takes over people's lives and a lot of people lose their family and their jobs."
Cr Woods said people from Birchip, Rainbow and Dimboola attended the forum.
Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce co-ordinator and Grampians Community Health alcohol and other drugs counsellor Brendan Scale said the numbers at the forum showed people's desire to be educated about the drug.
"It's great to see regional towns getting behind the issue and taking some action to equip themselves with information," he said.
"We're excited that Warracknabeal and surrounds were so supportive of it."
He said Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay would address a second ice forum in Ararat on Wednesday.
Mr Ramsay is the chair of the parliamentary inquiry into ice.
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