Premier backs Ice Breakers

Toby Hussey and Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
WA Labor leader Mark McGowan announces the Ice Breakers trial funding in 2017.
Camera IconWA Labor leader Mark McGowan announces the Ice Breakers trial funding in 2017. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Premier Mark McGowan says the State Government remains committed to the Ice Breakers methamphetamine rehabilitation program despite one of the program’s facilitators facing serious drug charges.

The State Government’s funding commitment of $360,000 to a two-year trial of the program began in 2017 and is set to conclude at the end of the financial year, before it is reviewed

The ground-breaking non-residential 12-week program is run by recovering methamphetamine addicts focussing on education and cognitive behavioural therapy since being established and housed by Albany PCYC in 2015.

Police last week charged Craig Raymond Golding with 15 counts of offering to sell or supply methamphetamine after a raid on a Spencer Park home.

Mr McGowan said the election commitment of funding the trial of the Ice Breakers program would continue.

“I’ve heard about this isolated case and it’s disappointing but it illustrates just how insidious this drug is in the community and that’s why we’re implementing our whole-of-government Meth Action Plan to help tackle the meth problem,” he said.

“This case should not take away from the positive work this program has done in helping people to beat their meth addiction.

“Unfortunately, relapse is a real risk with any addiction, and our Meth Action Plan includes measure to address this.

“We understand that this program, which has been running in Albany since 2015, has helped hundreds of participants across the State.”

Mr McGowan said the trial formed part of the Government’s comprehensive $171.4 million Methamphetamine Action Plan, which was recently bolstered with extra initiatives to help support WA families in crisis and facing the devastating impacts of meth use.

“As Government, we will not shy away from our responsibility in tackling this major problem in our community and our Meth Action Plan is delivering positive results but we know there is more to do,” he said.

Before the funding commitment, the program was touted to spread Statewide through WA PCYCs due to its success in Albany.

The program expanded to Bunbury in a pilot mode operating out of Bunbury PCYC, but was suspended due to lack of funding and re-instated on a part-time basis.

Albany MP Peter Watson said he would be pushing “very strongly” for the program’s funding to continue after its trial is completed in June.

“It has been tremendous for the community,” he said.

“You are always going to have pluses and minuses when you are working in this sort of area.

“There are some very good people involved in the program and I support it 100 per cent. We have to make sure it keeps going and keep helping the young people who have got issues with drugs back into the community. It’s a bonus not just for the person the drug affects but also the community.”

Great Southern police have voiced their support to the program in previous years and Superintendent Ian Clarke said police would continue to work with Albany PCYC and Ice Breakers.

Supt Clarke said police were not just focussed on enforcement but prevention in a “challenging space” where users had a “high propensity” to relapse.

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