This was the question asked at the latest Ice Forum co-hosted by Healthy Options Australia (link to HOA website) and the Metro South Clinical Ethics Committee at the Princess Alexandra Hospital this week.
This free public forum was developed to provide a space for clinicians, carers, media and concerned citizens to discuss the local community effects of the drug crystal methamphetamine (ice) and how to respond to it effectively and ethically.
The event proceedings were co-hosted by Drug ARM CEO Dr Dennis Young and Clinical Ethics Coordinator Dr Jenny Jones.
The first session set the scene for understanding substance use and its impacts. Presentations were delivered by an animated group of speakers including Dr Jeremy Hallyar who spoke on the current substance use environment in Qld, Sr Sgt Geoff Marsh who provided a police perspective on the situation and Gerard Byrne from the Salvation Army who spoke on the current responses from the non-government sector.
The second session was a Panel Discussion to deliberate on what could work to reduce the harm to individuals and local communities. Led by Chair, Adrian Braithewaite from the Queensland Bar, the panel members brought experiences from all areas directly related to ice.
The panel agreed that there needed to be more education, information, intervention and treatment services to help reduce harm and stigmas surrounding substance use. It was also agreed that although the ‘drug of the moment’ is ice it is important to keep working to reduce harm from the alcohol which still causes more harm than any other drug.
The challenge set to all attendees was to work with their local communities and continue to speak up for positive change to reduce harm from substance use.
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