Funding initiatives to reduce the harm of ice

The Victorian Coalition Government has today announced new measures to respond to the harm arising from the use of the drug ice.

The Victorian Coalition Government has today announced new measures to respond to the harm arising from the use of the drug ice.

Announcing new harm reduction programs to the value of $5.1 million at the Penington Institute’s 2014 Australian Drugs Conference – Ice and altered realities, Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said the investment builds on the Napthine Government’s recent initiatives to tackle ice.

Ms Wooldridge said the funding is consistent with the recommendations of the Victorian Law Reform Committee’s report into The supply and use of methamphetamines, particularly ice.

The new package of measures includes:

  • $360,000 for the Penington Institute to train staff who work with injecting drug users to reduce the risk of the transmission of blood borne viruses such as HIV, as well as additional funding to up-skill Aboriginal communities in reducing the harm of ice;
  • More than $1 million to improve and expand access to key needle and syringe exchange services in eight local government areas experiencing high need;
  • $160,000 for Harm Reduction Victoria to extend its innovative DanceWize program to venues and public dance parties where ice may be used; and
  • $160,000 to the Victorian AIDS Council to target risky sexual behaviours, including innovative peer education for same sex attracted men about the increased risk of HIV transmission as a result of the disinhibiting effects of ice.
  • $600,000 to UnitingCare ReGen to modify treatment approaches in drug withdrawal services to enhance the recovery prospects of ice users.

“This suite of initiatives is another important part of the Victorian Coalition’s whole-of-government approach to ice, which seeks to reduce supply, demand and harm of this damaging drug,” Ms Wooldridge said.

Ms Wooldridge said the Napthine Government has already announced $2.7 million for community forums and direct support for families.

The Penington Institute will receive half of that funding to further expand its community outreach work, with the other half being invested in drug services across the state to better support the families of people who access their services.

In addition, last month,the Napthine Government launched the What are you doing on ice? campaign which was developed in partnership with the Penington Institute and with advice from other experts within the field.

“The campaign consists of online, in-venue and cinema advertising and has already been very successful, with the website averaging about 1,200 views per day, 45,000 views of the videos and more than 400,000 Facebook posts,” Ms Wooldridge said.

There is no quick fix to the problem of ice. It has to be attacked from every angle and the Napthine Government is busting drug labs, educating users on the harms of ice and expanding access and capability of our treatment services.

The ‘What are you doing on ice?’ campaign is at www.ice.vic.gov.au, where people can share their stories and find out how they can get help.