Ice Summit to meet in Rockhampton as Queensland deals with its epidemic
A summit to discuss ways of tackling crystal meth addiction in Queensland will be held in Rockhampton on April 27.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she has spoken to the families of people who become addicted to the drug.
“We need to come down hard with the full resources of our law enforcement agencies on the criminal groups producing this drug, be they outlaw motorcycle gangs or international syndicates or any other group,” Palaszczuk said.
“But we need to do much more than that. Ice may be slightly less addictive than heroin, but its effects trap users in a downward spiral that takes far greater time and resources to escape.
“Some health professionals suggest a rehabilitation pathway needs to be about 18 months long because it takes that long for users to recover basic abilities that most Queenslanders take for granted.”
Minister for Police Mark Ryan said the government supported Queensland Police in their efforts to remove illicit drugs from the streets.
“The violence associated with the use of ice is extreme and our police are being confronted all too often by violent offenders affected by drugs. The ice summit will bring together all agencies impacted by the growing concern of ice use in their state and will work towards a united approach in the fight against these dangerous drugs.”
Dr Wendell Rosevear from the Stonewall Medical Centre has run the Gay and Lesbian Alcohol and Drug Support group (GLADS) since 1991. He told QP drug users will continue to use until they find better relief for their needs.
“Punishment models that our society use to address drug use and addiction sadly don’t and never will work and unfortunately make it worse,” Rosevear said.
“The only person in the world who can stop someone using drugs is the person using them. Users need safe places where they can be honest to come out of the denial and dependency of addiction.”
Rosevear said the profit margin on illegal drugs is so high that it guarantees supply and the crime that users resort to in order to maintain their addiction.
“It kills parent-child communication so that, sadly, young people who experiment are likely to hide what they are doing, feel guilty and seek peer group acceptance through the ‘communion’ of shared drug use, which is a perfect recipe for addiction.
“We would be better to legalise all drugs, regulate the dose – to avoid overdose – remove the excess profits, tax all drugs and use 100 per cent of the tax to educate at point-of-sale about safety, risk and dose and also help those who want to stop [with] recovery support and rehabilitation.”
THE GOVERNMENT ACTION PLAN
The Qld government aims to reduce supply, demand and harm by measures including:
- prioritising organised crime investigations into high threat criminal networks that are trafficking ice into Queensland
- using the proceeds of crime function to restrain and forfeit the assets of crime gangs trafficking and producing ice in Queensland
- ensuring the support and resources necessary are available to young people coping the drug use of a friend or family member, through initiatives such as school-based youth health nurses and police officers, adopt-a-cop and youth support
- addressing ice use in high risk industry groups such as mining, rural and remote workforces including FIFO (fly-in, fly-out mining workers)
- increase screening, intervention and referral through GPs and other health professionals for people affected by ice
- identifying options to provide specialist services for people experiencing severe substance dependence who are at risk of serious harm due to associated mental illness, cognitive impairment and other clinically indicated factors
The Gay and Lesbian Alcohol and Drugs Support group (GLADS) meets at Gladstone Road Medical Centre, 38 Gladstone Rd, Highgate Hill from 7.30pm to 8.30pm each Wednesday. For more information phone (07) 3857 1222.
A Gay and Lesbian AA meets on Saturday nights at 7pm at 30 Helen St, Newstead; and a Gay and Lesbian Narcotics Anonymous on Wednesday nights at 6.15pm at New Farm Neighbourhood Centre.