Heroin on the rise, meth ‘everywhere’

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Margaret Gordon.
Camera IconMargaret Gordon. Credit: PAPER NAME

Heroin use is increasing in Albany, while some methamphetamine users are spending hundreds of dollars a day to feed their addiction.

That is according to Ice Breakers rehabilitation program founder Margaret Gordon, who says meth is available “everywhere” across town.

“There are so many streets you can go down in Albany and there’s a meth house,” she said.

“It’s incredible how available it is.”

Ms Gordon, who founded Ice Breakers in 2015, said she believed most meth came to town from Perth but she was “sure it is being cooked down here by some people”.

She warned the use of drugs, including heroin, was on the rise, but said meth remained the biggest problem.

Some users spent more than $200 a day to feed their addiction.

Others committed crimes to pay for their habit, she said.

Ice Breakers presently works with 44 regular attendees at its Albany PCYC meetings, assisted by a $360,000 State Government grant to run until March.

Organisers were hoping for renewed State support after that date, but have had to defend the program after the 2018 charging of then-program facilitator Craig Golding for allegedly offering to sell or supply prohibited drugs.

Mr Golding is no longer associated with Ice Breakers.

In an effort to combat “false news” about the program stemming from the arrest, staff last week hosted a public meeting to answer questions about the program and the prevalence of illicit drugs.

Ms Gordon said the organisation had made changes since Mr Golding’s arrest and would continue to make improvements. She said staff members had been regularly drug tested since 2015.

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington, who was one of more than 30 people at the meeting, said he believed it was “essential” for the program to continue.

“It’s obviously something we need given the number of drugs around town,” he said.

“It’s essential to continue ... to see if we can find a way out of the mess we’re in.”

In 2018, regional WA was revealed to have the highest use of meth of all regional areas nationally.

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