Western Australia should follow Queensland’s lead by investing more in community education to overcome the scourge of ice, a former crystal methamphetamine addict says.
Martin Pizarro said WA needed more funding for education programs about the way ice worked and to change the stigma associated with rehabilitation.
His comments come as the Queensland Government today announced $6 million for new health programs to fight ice addiction.
The new programs offered by the Queensland Government aim to tackle ice use by providing help to not just addicts but also communities and families.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there would be multiple new rehabilitation and treatments services rolled out across the state.
“Ice is having a chaotic effect on many individuals, their families and communities,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Mr Pizarro, who said he had been clean for a year after 13 years of use, is now a volunteer with the Salvation Army’s Harry Hunter Rehabilitation Centre in Gosnells.
Mr Pizarro said ice was the easiest drug to get in Perth.
“It (ice) is definitely an epidemic,” he said.
“We need to make recovery more available and change the stigma in society of what rehab is.
“Rehab saves lives.
“Education is the best prevention.”
According to the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report, WA had one of the highest illicit use of any drug in Australia, second only to the Northern Territory.
“I am blessed my family never gave up on me because if they did I don’t think I would be here to be honest,” Mr Pizarro said.
“I hurt a lot of my family doing it [ice] and I was broken mentally, spiritually and emotionally.”