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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

'Ice' forum to inform

Cobram-based students host educational forum on crystal methamphetamine.

ROB HENSON April 21, 2014 3:56am

Ice breaker: Diploma of community Service Work students Heather Bovalina, Meagan McGuinness, Jenny Carroll and Neeska Robinson are hosting an educational forum on the drug 'ice' at Cobram Civic Centre.


 

An ‘ice’ forum in Cobram next week will seek to educate on an ‘‘alarming’’ increase in the drug’s use across regional Victoria.

Similar awareness forums on crystal methamphetaine have been held throughout Victoria, as well as a Victorian parliamentary inquiry.

Cobram will now host a free event as an opportunity to learn more, through welcoming health professionals, support agencies and interested community members.

The idea sparked from Cobram Diploma of Community Service Work students, who, as part of their coursework, must hold a community event.

Community Service Work student and Cobram resident Jenny Carroll said the group of students decided to hold the forum to get people talking about the issue.

‘‘Most of us (students) have children and we see this as a community issue,’’ she said.

‘‘There’s been other forums in the region – recently Benalla, and Shepparton, Albury, but nothing has been brought back to Cobram.’’

She said the scale of the ice problem in Cobram was neglected because the area lay unreported within larger statistical regions.

‘‘We’re always included in other area’s statistics, whether it be Shepparton or Wangaratta region statistics.

‘‘We know it’s out there, but it’s not reported because we’re mixed in with those figures.’’

Ms Carroll said the focus of the event was on keeping the community healthy by informing and educating people about the impact the drug has on the greater community.

Presenters will cover a range of perspectives, including Primary Care Connect (clinical issues), Victoria Police (impact on community), RIAC (family counselling) and Odyssey House (rehabilitation).

State Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy, who is a member of the parliamentary committee leading the state ‘ice’ inquiry, will also be a speaker.

‘‘It is an opportunity to build a whole of community awareness about this drug which has had a devastating effect on communities and families across Victoria’’ Ms Carroll said.

‘‘There will be a whole range of information and discussion on everything from the effects methamphetamine can have on the user, to various resources and support agencies that are available,’’ she said.

A panel of experts will lead a question and answer session at the conclusion of the forum, including Moira Shire youth development officer Maryanne Ryan, Cobram ambulance representative Jason Green, Goulburn Valley Area Mental Health Dual Diagnosis co-ordinator Dave Murray and Mission Australia youth worker Anthony Bordett.

The community forum will take place from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Thursday, April 24 at the Cobram Civic Centre.

To register attendance or for more information phone Meagan McGuinness on 0448351096 or Heather Bovalina on 0427560266.

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