ABOUT 150 people packed out the Fossicker's Room at Gympie Civic Centre yesterday to take talk about the scare drug of the moment, ice.

Conference organiser David Allard warned the ice was a drug that did not need exaggeration.

Conference organiser David Allard.
Conference organiser David Allard.

And young people did not need to hear anything but the truth.

"Just tell it like it is," the Community Action youth support worker said.

But that was bad enough, as other speakers made plain.

Victory Church community pastor Kevin Dailly said a huge proportion of young people were users of the drug.

Mr Allard said that included most of his homeless young clients.

"Health, appearance, budget, mood and sustainability of housing" were among the things that get lost when people take ice, he said.

Drug Arm's John Omond said it was important to remember that "ice is not the only drug in town." And the legal drug alcohol remained one of the most destructive.

Gympie's regional detective acting superintendent Bruce McNab said police had changed their approach since the 1970s and 1980s when cannabis and heroin were the big drug issues.

"We started to notice the emergence of what became known as the 'box lab," so named, he said, because it was a drug laboratory that could be dismantled, packed in a box and shifted.

Packed house at Gympie Ice forum.
Packed house at Gympie Ice forum.

The ready availability of pseudoephedrine cold tablets and the information on the internet.

Dual diagnosis co-ordinator for Gympie's Sunshine Coast Health and Hospital Service, Terry Jacobs said the increased purity of the drug and its impact on the community meant a big increase in the social problems "that front-line police deal with every day."

Dr Stephen Priestly addresses the crowd.
Dr Stephen Priestly addresses the crowd.

The service's director of emergency medicine, Stephen Priestley said there had been a "dramatic increase in presentations to hospital by people suffering meth amphetamine toxicity, or overdose and the consequences of meth use (including health effects on users and the victims of ice related violence)."

Gympie Times


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