“I want to share the message of hope – there is a way out”

Hume Police District chief inspector Brendan Bernie presents to the large crowd at the Crookwell Drug and Ice Forum. Photo: Mariam Koslay
Hume Police District chief inspector Brendan Bernie presents to the large crowd at the Crookwell Drug and Ice Forum. Photo: Mariam Koslay

There was a contagious message of hope at the Drug and Ice Forum last week.

The Crookwell District Hospital Wellness Centre was packed with residents who, by the end of the night, walked away having learned something new.

A police officer, a doctor, representatives of Narcotics Anonymous and Pathways, and the mother of an ice user all spoke on the long-lasting impacts of ice. 

The crowd, including MP Pru Goward, was not afraid to participate with speakers throughout the night. 

“In regional NSW the possession and use of amphetamines increase every year ... with the trend looking to continue,” Hume Police District chief inspector Brendan Bernie said on the night.

“[Ice] has a lasting effect on the whole community.”

Pathways treatment and support program representative Carol Sharp said the current was to minimise harm associated with drug use.

Covering Crookwell, Braidwood, Yass and Gunning, Pathways offers family support, education, legal and employment support. 

Over the past two years, 15 clients have entered the residential rehabilitation for ice related issues in the region.

In an emotional speech, a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) representative spoke of his own experience using ice and the gripping addiction he was unable to shake off. 

“I never intended on being an addict,” he said to the silent crowd.

“The ice addiction destroyed my life and took everything that I loved until I was living on the streets of Kings Cross, paranoid and alone.”

He said the NA meetings had helped him significantly over the years. 

“I want to share the message of hope: there is a way out.” 

Crookwell Hospital Community Consultation Committee member Jo Agostini said the night was well-attended and -received on all accounts

“It’s essential for people in the community, especially young people, to learn about the impacts of prohibited drugs,” Ms Agostini said.

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