Here in Warragul, like so many other cities and communities across Australia, we have a problem. And that problem is the scourge of ice, also known as crystal methamphetamine.

The ice epidemic is devastating and overwhelming families across Australia – with no respect for age or socio-economic background. Health professionals warn that an entire generation may be at risk and police say they’ve never seen anything like it.

More than any other drug, ice has a crippling effect not only on only the user, but on their families. Many parents find themselves trying to support loved ones but feel ill-equipped to do so. This is exacerbated by the volatility and chaos which often results from ice addiction.

This insidious disease in our community is increasing at an alarming rate. And while there’s no one size fits all approach to addressing it, what we do know, is that we must respond as a community.

The Local Drug Action Team Program works to tackle issues through community partnerships that educate and prevent harm. They achieve their goal of reducing drug associated issues by tailoring responses to the unique needs of a particular community.

There are currently more than 230 teams operating across Australia and our government is looking to fund a further 40 in 2021.

If you want to make a difference to alcohol and other drug use in your community, you can visit the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website for further details about the Local Drug Action Team Program (https://community.adf.org.au/local-drug-action-teams/ldat-apply/).

If we have learned anything from the events of 2020, it’s that a supportive community can make an incredible difference to our health and wellbeing. It’s vital that we, as a community with the assistance of initiatives such as the Local Drug Action Team Program, actively educate and support young people.

That’s just as I see it.