IT took a Newcastle man just over an hour to get his hands on a few grams of ice after leaving a Bendigo rehabilitation service.
That is how easy it is to score the drug, according to Transformation Ministries International general manager Bennett Cain.
Tragically, that man is now dead.
“He voluntarily left the Transformations program here in Bendigo around three to four weeks ago and he died in an accident,” Mr Cain said.
“He was a really bad ice user and had used here locally and found it very easily and readily available when he left the house.
“Then he went to Western Australia and was using at the time. The only report that I’ve had is that it was a tragic accident, but often there’s a lot of risky behaviour and stuff that takes place when they’re on ice... it’s very sad.”
Mr Cain said the man, who he did not wish to name, had moved to Bendigo to get clean with the help of the Transformations program.
Connect Church, in partnership with Transformation Ministries International, recently brought the residential rehabilitation program to Bendigo.
The service has nine beds and is only available to men, but there are plans to expand the program to women within the next year.
The Transformations program has been running in south-east Queensland for more than 13 years and is designed to help provide people with addictions and dysfunctional lifestyles a second chance at life.
“He left the program and basically within an hour he had ice in his hands,” Mr Cain said.
“It’s obviously very easily available if a stranger can just wander up to someone at the pub and score within a matter of minutes.”
Mr Cain suggested Bendigo could benefit from a lobby group to tackle the escalation of ice use within the community.
“(One) of the main ways of tackling the issue would be preventative education,” he said.
“But in treating those who are suffering from the addiction, then the most effective form is through rehabilitation through programs such as Transformations.
“So we are definitely interested in making available our service to those who are looking for treatment options.
“We’d look to get involved in some sort of lobby group locally and we’d be definitely interested to have a voice and get involved with that.”
Mr Cain said ice was a highly addictive drug and could have devastating effects on people’s lives.
“Even over this Christmas period, what can start off as social and recreational use, can develop into addiction very quickly with ice,” he said.
“And then it becomes harmful dependence within a short period of time.
“That has ongoing effects within the community as well, within families, their ability to hold down jobs, and then we’re getting referrals.”
Mr Cain said ice use seemed most prevalent in males aged between 18 and 30, but some older drug users were also swapping to methamphetamine.
“The thing about it is that it’s cheaper, it lasts longer and it’s stronger,” he said. “We’re definitely seeing a saturation on the street of availability of ice.”
If you need help, call: Family Drug Help 1300 660 068; Family Drug Support 1300 368 186; Directline (Alcohol and Drug referrals and telephone counselling) 1800 888 236; or Lifeline 13 11 14.
For more information about the Transformations program phone 5441 3133 or visit www.transformation.net.au