Action. Rural Health manager Robert Waterman has a clear message for the community: we need to stand together to fight drugs.
Since the Chronicle’s front page article (Ice: a wasted life, June 4), Mr Waterman has been inundated with phone calls and visits from concerned parents.
He wants to let the community know that something is being done.
He is behind plans for an upcoming forum to address concerns about drug use in Circular Head.
To date, he has arranged to conduct workshops with both Burnie and Circular Head councils, with plans to host forums along the coast.
While the date for Circular Head’s forum is yet to be decided, it is expected to be later next month.
Mr Waterman asked the community to stand together and not allow drugs to dictate.
“As a community, we need to be prepared and understand how to protect our children,” he said. “This will be easier if the whole community supports each other.
“Let’s not just hand over our children and communities to drug addiction because we would prefer to remain in denial or because we’re too proud to think it will happen to us or our family”.
He said parents must “try and understand that drugs have changed dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years”.
“The drugs around today do irreparable physical, psychological and emotional harm to individuals, families and communities, and are so very highly addictive that people will prioritise drugs over everything else.”
Mr Waterman said ice drives users to abandon values and do things they vowed never to do.
“Drug addiction does not discriminate and it certainly does not care who you are,” he said.
At present, Rural Health is applying for funding to provide substance abuse recovery programs for north-west Tasmania.
Mr Waterman said any assistance or donations would be most appreciated and well utilised.
The proposed programs would focus on education and early intervention and prevention, with the aim of supporting parents and caregivers and help them identify problematic behaviours that may lead to drug addiction.
The detection of adverse behaviours from an early age, Mr Waterman said, would help in developing pro-social behaviours and resilience in children.
“I recognise that parents generally do the best they can, but these behaviours can be quite subtle and often go undetected,” he said. “They can then lead to future problems.”
He said today’s children must be able to navigate their new environment.
Mr Waterman encouraged all community members to attend, from those people unsure about the drug and its effects, through to parents and carers concerned for children.
With the increased presence and availability of the drug, those present would benefit from knowing ways to “navigate the potentially difficult situations” they may face.
If you or someone you know is being affected by drugs call Rural Health on 6452 1266.