SUBSTANCE Misuse Limestone Coast has welcomed next month’s world premiere of the “In The Pines” theatre production as another avenue to educate the community on the devastating impacts of ice.
The group has been working behind the scenes to boost education, public awareness and explore new health service models for people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.
Alarmingly, crystal methamphetamine – commonly known as ice – remains the drug of choice in the Limestone Coast.
“Although we are always campaigning for better health services in the region for people with addictions, our big focus has been on education,” group project officer Sophie Bourchier said.
“We have a really great program that we are trying to get into high schools for students in Year 8 to 10 to educate our youth on the effects of drugs.
“Intergenerational drug use is an issue for young children, but there are youth out there who have never been exposed to a drug environment and are still making the choice to dabble.”
While more services for those already battling addiction were needed, Ms Bourchier said it was important to educate and prevent addiction.
In addition to school programs, Ms Bourchier said more forums in smaller towns were set to be held soon, with previous events held in Mount Gambier and Bordertown.
“We are going to host events in Robe, Kingston, Naracoorte and Millicent,” she said.
“The Mount Gambier event was taped so we will play the video at these forums in addition to having a local panel on board.”
Mount Gambier theatre company Gener8 Theatre is now only weeks away from premiering its production “In The Pines” which focuses directly on drug impacts in communities.
Regarding the theatre production, Ms Bourchier said the project would be an asset to the ongoing campaign.
“The In The Pines production is going to be a big addition to the education in our region,” Ms Bourchier said.
“Anything being done to incite change is something that must be done.
“I am excited to see the show and what it brings to the table in our fight against the beast.”
Limestone Coast Police crime prevention section manager Sergeant Andy Stott – who is a pivotal member of the group – said the public needed to have its eyes opened on the true impact of ice.
“All of our services are bogged down by drug use – police, health, Centrelink, child services, everything is strained because of it,” Sgt Stott said.
“It leaches into everything, but we are hopeful education will create change in addition to making the public more vigilant.
“We have ‘dob in a dealer’ programs which need to be utilised by the public, but in an efficient way.
“The community must be reminded we need details before we are able to investigate, such as descriptions of the people, car registration numbers, locations, frequency of incidents – it all needs to be reported.”
Sgt Stott issued a reminder to those who intended on driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs.
“SAPOL is very accurate when it comes to recognising those on drugs and cracking down on drug drivers,” he said.
“I have personally been witness to parents doing school drop off and pick up that are under the effects of drugs.
“It is a very upsetting thought to know what those children must be witnessing in their home life.
“There is no reason for children to be in that position, but if we do not make a change and educate our community then they will continue to be put in dangerous situations.”