Would you support 'ice rooms' for Sunshine Coast addicts?

"Meth rooms" for drug users could stem ice epidemic: experts

As the dangerous drug 'ice' continues to be a threat to our community, the Sunshine Coast Daily's four-part series with the University of the Sunshine Coast examines the impact of the drug with those who are battling it on the front lines.

 

DESIGNATED safe places for crystal methamphetamine, or "ice", users could help the Sunshine Coast shake off the drug's increasing grip on the region, according to experts.

The Noffs Foundation - a youth outreach group - called for the introduction of "ice rooms" earlier this year, with chief executive Matt Noffs likening them to the heroin injecting centres in Sydney's King's Cross.

Mr Noffs believes ice consumption rooms have the potential to help curb addiction to the potentially deadly narcotic.

Former addicts, GPs, youth counsellors and domestic violence experts have told the Daily of the growing threat ice poses to the Sunshine Coast community.

Would you support safe rooms for meth use and addiction treatment?

This poll ended on 19 September 2016.

Current Results

No, but I support other alternative measures

33%

No, I only support punishment

35%

Yes, I support the use of safe rooms

31%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Noffs Queensland's Russell Workman said if Mr Noffs felt the ice rooms would work nationally, they would work on the Coast.

"If he feels that that's a solution then I would say I definitely agree that it would be a solution and it would work on the Sunshine Coast," Mr Workman said.

The Sunshine Coast Council was approached for its view on ice rooms for the Coast but did not respond before publication.
 

The Sunshine Coast's ice scourge:

Part One: "Walk down a street, someone offers it to you"

Part Two: Ice addicts can be 'like a paranoid schizophrenic'

Part Three: Ice addicts forcing partners to deal, warn experts

 

Earlier this year, the Federal Government launched a task force targeting Australia's ice epidemic.

While the task force is focusing on ways of prevention, intervention and rehabilitation, Mr Workman said it could be doomed to failure.

"We can't arrest our way out of the ice epidemic. It didn't work before, it didn't work with any of the other big drugs, why would it work with ice?" Mr Workman said.

"We are supportive of the government's nerve, but we don't think it's enough."

According to Mr Workman, the best way to beat the epidemic is by looking at the social and health factors surrounding why people begin taking drugs.

The taskforce's strategies for fighting ice are expected to be considered before the end of the year.

In Queensland, the government is spending $1 million to fight ice abuse, funding a phone helpline and an advertising campaign targeting rural and regional areas.

It is part of a $20 million program over four years that also tackles organised crime and alcohol-fuelled violence.

According to a Queensland Health spokeswoman, calls to the helpline relating to ice have increased by almost 80% this year compared to last year.

The spokeswoman said it was due to the government's advertising campaign about ice.

The figures also showed there had been a rise in the number of calls relating to other drugs.

Need help with your ice addiction? Phone 1800 177 833 or go to http://www.qld.gov.au/ice.

This four-part investigation is a collaboration between the Sunshine Coast Daily and students from the University of the Sunshine Coast.


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