Albany Meth Awareness March encourages families to reach out

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Albany residents took to the streets on Thursday for the Meth Awareness March.
Camera IconAlbany residents took to the streets on Thursday for the Meth Awareness March. Credit: Sarah Makse/ Albany Advertiser

Reaching out to friends and family in the grips of methamphetamine dependence was the message at the heart of Albany’s Meth Awareness March on Thursday.

Community members marched up York Street to stand up against the methamphetamine crisis in our community.

The parade was met by a colourful flash mob at Albany Town Square, performed by the Drug Action Support Group.

The new group aims to help challenge and change attitudes about harmful drug and alcohol use.

The Drug Action Support Group perform a flash mob at Albany Town Square.
Camera IconThe Drug Action Support Group perform a flash mob at Albany Town Square. Credit: Sarah Makse/ Albany Advertiser

By using art, music and drama, the group aims to support people affected by drug and alcohol misuse and break the stigma around seeking help.

“The flash mob symbolises many working parts coming together, co-operating and growing to be something amazing. It was also an announcement we are here and we want to help,” Drug Action Support Group member Anthony Csermelyi said.

“Whether you have personal experience, great ideas or simply just want to help a worthy cause, everyone is welcome.”

Albany residents took to the streets for the fourth March for Meth Awareness.
Camera IconAlbany residents took to the streets for the fourth March for Meth Awareness. Credit: Sarah Makse/ Albany Advertiser

Addressing the crowd, Palmerston regional services manager Ben Headlam praised family members for “doing it tough for the people they love” recovering from drug dependence.

“It’s not a choice, it’s a process of losing choices, the lack of choices and how hard that must be for a family to watch,” he said.

“How hard it must be to stand next to somebody who you love more than anybody else in the world and it looks like their only choice is the thing that is killing them and destroying them.”

Penni Harris tells her story.
Camera IconPenni Harris tells her story. Credit: Sarah Makse/ Albany Advertiser

Palmerston peer support worker and former meth user Penni Harris said it was the “small acts of connection” with family, friends and strangers that helped dissolve her shame and keep the hope for recovery alive.

“Being a dependent meth user is so isolating. I have never felt more alone in my life than when I was misusing meth,” she said.

“My message to you today is ‘don’t stop reaching out to those people that you love that are on meth’.”

The Drug Action Support Group will meet on May 31. For details, contact awjc479@hotmail.com.

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