Central Victorian sporting clubs responsive to ice education sessions, addiction expert says

Sporting clubs met with mental health minister Martin Foley and local drug and alcohol addiction expert on Thursday as a new round of grants were released. Picture: DARREN HOWE
Sporting clubs met with mental health minister Martin Foley and local drug and alcohol addiction expert on Thursday as a new round of grants were released. Picture: DARREN HOWE

A BENDIGO expert in drug and alcohol addiction says hosting ice education sessions at local sporting clubs has been important in spreading the message about the drug’s dangers, but more needs to be done.

Nurse practitioner in addiction Cameron Cail has held sessions with 14 football-netball clubs after AFL Central Victoria was successful in receiving a $10,000 grant for education programs.

He will host events with at least 15 more clubs in the near future, answering questions and providing local advice for support services.

Mr Cail said the response from the sporting clubs indicated the message was getting through.

“There are so many people who will put their hand up and ask a question about it, because everyone is being affected by this,” he said.

“People have the stories, and people have struggled with this, so if we can have the discussion before it gets to crisis point, people will know how to respond to it.”

The state government announced the opening of the third round of grants of up to $10,000 for local community groups with plans to tackle the spread of ice.

Mr Cail said being able to provide local knowledge was key.

“It works because the person delivering it is local,” he said.

“We can think about local need, we also understand what treatment is there, what local services there are, and I’m also treating people on a daily basis. 

“So I see what’s happening on the ground.”

Mr Cail said problems with alcohol were also as prevalent as ever, and it was important not to let alcohol addiction be forgotten while the media focuses on ice.

Victorian mental health minister Martin Foley announced the latest round of grants during a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Oval on Thursday.

He said the success of Mr Cail’s work in Bendigo demonstrated the importance of local approaches to ice education.

“We know that sports clubs are a really important way to get that message out, by partnering with Victoria Police, partnering with community health organisations,” Mr Foley said.

“It has been a really successful model in this community.

“We know that there is more to do.”