ORGANISERS of Thursday night’s ice forum to be held at Wagga High School hope to see more than 500 people in attendance.
The forum, kicking off at 6.30pm, will involve a discussion of ice’s growing impact upon the Wagga community from a range of perspectives – from health experts to community leaders.
It will be chaired by Kay Hull, the chair of the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs, who is currently playing a major role in the federal government’s ice taskforce.
Forum organiser Christine Howard said the major focus of the event was on ensuring people were fully informed of the major issues surrounding the drug and what they can do to support family and friends who may have fallen into its icy grip.
“We’re hoping to empower people with information around what they can do to support their family and friends,” Ms Howard said.
“These issues affect everybody … it’s not as though we can put it in a box and say it’s someone else’s problem.”
Speakers include addiction therapist Ian Smith, from the St John of God Hospital in Burwood, Wagga Base Hospital emergency department director Shane Curran as well as a former addict who will share his experiences.
A similar event held in Tumut on Tuesday night saw around 400 people attend.
The Tumut forum featured a talk from Tony Hoang, a Sydney-based recovered ice addict and dealer, who candidly shared his experiences of his life under the spell of methamphetamines.
“He lived the life – he’s witnessed 13 family members die because of the lifestyle of drugs and the whole underworld scene he was caught up in,” Tumut forum organiser Evan Saunders said.
“I think people responded to him especially well because he was dynamic, and when there’s an ex-user speaking on it, people perk up and listen because it’s fascinating.”
Topics broached at the Tumut forum included treatment for those affected by the drug to how health workers and police are tackling the ever-growing ice problem.
Mr Saunders said the forum had something useful for everyone who turned up on Tuesday night.
“There were some people who knew nothing about the drug to begin with and there would’ve been some who didn’t find out anything new, but found Tony’s speech engaging.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.