Fundraiser helps battle ice epidemic

About $11,000 has been donated to the Gippsland Fighting Ice Campaign since its launch in Trafalgar three months ago.

The Gippsland Road Runners charity hosted a gala fundraiser at the weekend, supporting Latrobe Valley’s Youth Support and Advocacy Service team.

GRR president Tracey O’Brien said although she was disappointed in the lack of community support at the weekend, the night still ran smoothly.

“The night went amazing, it looked spectacular and it looked really good – we had lots of fun,” Ms O’Brien said.

“I thought it would have been better supported, seeing as it is such a massive epidemic throughout Gippsland.”

Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath and Member for Morwell Russell Northe attended, along with local nurses and the YSAS team.

Mr Northe, who has spoken on the ice scourge in parliament, said it was essential focus turned to medium and long-term rehabilitation programs.

He said organisations such as YSAS, with three on-the-ground youth support workers dedicated to helping drug-affected young people from Drouin to Sale, appeared to have positive results.

“So we need to focus more attention on that,” Mr Northe said.

“In my view, and unfortunately I know a bit about this, we need better services in the middle.

“In all due respect to our local services delivering support, I am not really sure they are working as effectively as they could and should.

“We definitely need rehabilitation services medium and long-term in the region and somehow we have got to find local solutions to local issues as well.”

Ms Bath said it was grassroots causes such as the GFIC, which were needed to send a strong message of support to ice-affected people and their families.

“It is not socio-economic dependent or restricted,” Ms Bath said.

“It can happen to young people, white collar and blue collar workers – unfortunately it happens across the board.

“GFIC is certainly advocating on reaching out and supporting people in our local community.”

Ms O’Brien thanked those who attended and showed their ongoing support, encouraging more people to be proactive and get behind drug-support organisations.

“For anyone burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the issue, whether affected directly, indirectly or not at all, it’s not going to go away,” Ms O’Brien said.

“We need to unite, support each other and start doing something.

“If we can raise awareness, this world can be a better place.

“Until we do that nothing will change.”

If you are someone or know someone who is at risk or is using illicit drugs such as ice, there is support available.

Phone the 24-hour YSAS Youth, Drug and Alcohol Advice free helpline on 1800 458 685 or sharc’s Family Drug and Alcohol 24-hour Helpline on

1300 660 068.

Email gippslandfighting or visit the Gippsland Fighting Ice Campaign Facebook page to donate to the cause.