Wimmera's ice battle ramps up | Breaking the Ice

THE Wimmera's battle against crystal methamphetamine continues to gain momentum, with forums announced for the northern and western parts of the region.

Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce co-ordinator and Grampians Community Health alcohol and other drugs co-ordinator Brendan Scale said there would be a community ice forum at Hopetoun on August 5, with forums at Nhill, Kaniva and Edenhope to follow later in the year.

He said Rural Northwest Health would run the Hopetoun forum as a follow-up to its successful event at Warracknabeal in May.

"After forums at Warracknabeal, Ararat and Horsham, there has been strong interest from the western part of the Wimmera," he said.

The taskforce hosted its first community ice forum in Horsham in December last year.

At the time, it was hailed as the largest ice forum in the state.

Mr Scale said educating the Wimmera's smaller communities was an important part of the taskforce's ice action plan.

The taskforce which is unfunded formed in 2010, but really established itself during the past year after joining forces with police, health professionals and the media for the Breaking the Ice campaign.

Mr Scale said the partnership approach to tackling the growing ice issue continued to gain national attention.

"ABC program Australian Story has approached the taskforce about featuring some of the work we have done so far," he said.

"The producers are very aware ice is embedded in rural Australian life and are interested in how we are working together and facing the problem in a proactive way.

"We're working with them to overcome some issues, because the show typically features an individual in an in-depth half-hour documentary.

"With the sensitive nature of ice use and the suffering it can cause, we're looking at ways to tell the story while protecting privacy."

Mr Scale said measures had been taken to protect privacy during today's forums at Wesley Performing Arts Centre in Horsham, which will feature on SBS2 program The Feed.

He said a question and answer session and a video featuring an ice user would be key aspects of Wedneday's forums.

The forums will be from 1.30pm to 3.30pm and from 7pm to 9pm.

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