Prepared to break the ice

RISING concern over the impact of alcohol and drug use, particularly ice, on Latrobe Valley’s community will be addressed during a local forum Monday night.

‘Breaking the Ice’ is a free forum instigated by Latrobe City Council in response to growing concern from police and local courts over the increased presence and use of the street drug known as ice and other synthetic drugs in the community.

Latrobe City general manager cultural liveability Michael Edgar said the impacts of ice were “worrying in the way it changes behaviour and affects mental capacity, short and long term”.

“It is also highly addictive and being synthetic, its composition in unreliable,” he said.

“We feel it is important to provide a forum to support individuals and families who may be affected, or for those who wish to learn more about its dangers.

“The forum also encourages community discussion and good decision-making.”

Its focus would be on “taking responsibility,” Mr Edgar said, adding “these issues are everyone’s responsibility and individually and collectively we can all make some positive change to improve the situation”.

Latrobe Police Service Area Inspector Mick West commended Latrobe City on its willingness to “really get involved with these community issues over the years and bring them to the fore”.

He urged anyone with an interest to attend the forum, saying it was a “good opportunity for people to become a bit more informed about issues that are affecting our community.”

Insp West said the increased prevalence of ice-use in rural communities, and violent assaults associated with alcohol abuse – particularly around late-night venues – were impacting on community safety.

He said he would also speak at an afternoon session on alcohol use “and get the message out about our enforcements and what we expect from the community and publicans”.

Mr Edgar said the alcohol and ice forums were part of Latrobe City’s regular ‘Community Strengthening’ community safety forums.

As of yesterday there were almost 80 people registered for the alcohol forum and 250 registered for the ice forum.

Guest speakers at the ice forum will include Insp West, Gippsland senior magistrate Clive Alsop, an Ambulance Victoria representative and members of the Clandestine Drug Lab Squad.

The alcohol forum will be held from 2pm to 4.30pm and the ice forum starts at 6pm.

Both sessions are at the Premier Function Centre, Grey Street, Traralgon. Bookings for the ice forum can be made at