TWO Wimmera women are determined to help tackle illicit drug use in the region.
Laharum’s Amanda Beats and her daughter-in-law Josephine Beats have started Wimmera for a Drug-Free World, which aims to educate people about drug use so they can make informed decisions and live drug-free.
Josephine said the pair felt compelled to act after hearing numerous stories about illicit drug use and its effects on families and groups.
“You often hear that Horsham is the ice capital of the Wimmera,” she said.
“Our work is about prevention, so people can have information available to them so they don’t start using drugs in the first place.
“Ice in particular is unlike a lot of other drugs, because you only have to use it once and you can be addicted.
“Whereas some other drugs, people might try them once and find they don’t like it, and stop.
“But coming down off ice is so hard that people feel they need another hit to stay ‘up’.
“People become willing to do anything to get their next hit, including breaking into businesses to get cash or items they can sell to pay for the drugs.”
Josephine said she and Amanda had distributed information to police at Halls Gap, Stawell and Horsham about their program.
“We visited every shop in Halls Gap and they each agreed to take 20 booklets about drugs and help distribute them,” she said.
“We also want to work with schools to provide information for students, and illustrate the harsh reality they are in for if they start taking drugs.”
Drug-Free World is an international organisation that started in 2006.
Amanda said the Wimmera branch officially started about three weeks ago.
“We have raised money so we can have someone deliver booklets about drugs to every house in Horsham,” she said.
“The booklets come from Drug-Free World and cover how drugs work, and basic facts about different kinds of drugs and their effects.
“Our aim really is community education – people need to know what happens when they take drugs.
“As a community, it’s an issue we need to do something about.”