A new Ice Help Line has been established as part of the Andrews government’s $45.5 million AUD Ice Action Plan to support families and ice users, Mental Health Minister Martin Foley announced.
The Help Line will offer general information to the community about ice and its effects and will direct users and families to the support and treatment services they need. It will be free to call from landlines.
The line is operated 24/7 by Turning Point, a drug addiction treatment centre, which has figures showing a massive increase in ice-related ambulance attendances between 2011 and 2012. The centre’s Rick Loos said that, in 2013-2014, methamphetamine became the primary drug of concern for the people contacting the organisation’s services in Victoria. Mr Loos added that the new helpline would give people assurance that the persons answering the calls fully grasped the problems associated with ice.
“People in rural and regional Victoria are suffering disproportionately from the effects of this vicious drug,” Mr Foley said. The Ice Action Plan includes $4.7 million AUD in extra support for families and communities to address ice use, $18 million AUD to boost innovative drug treatment services and $1.8 million AUD to widen Needle and Syringe Programs.
The Ice Help Line comes as federal and state governments are working to put an end to the ice crisis that has taken hold of communities across the country.