THE drug ice continues to be a scourge right across the country, and its impact on the Tablelands is forever growing. That is why the work of the Australia Anti Ice Campaign (AAIC) is of such grave importance, as they travel the country outlining the horrors of the drug to high school students between 12 and 17 years of age.
AAIC’s Far North Queensland Development Officer Glen Ivers and AAIC Presenters Esther Degen and Mimi Robinson were in Mareeba last week to deliver a presentation to Mareeba State High School and St Stephen’s Catholic College students about the lasting and often irreparable effects of ice addiction.
“The core message of AAIC is “not even once”, Mr Ivers said.
“The police are describing the influx of ice into this country as a tsunami, so our position is that we need greater education and awareness to stop the demand for the drug.
“The police and border security units are doing their best; however the supply will never end, so we are trying to reach out to 12-17 year-olds through these presentations to ensure they’re aware of just how terrible drug addiction is.”
To build greater rapport with the students, AAIC Presenters Esther Degen and Mimi Robinson speak about their own struggles with ice addiction.
“When you have a lived experienced with ice addiction you can describe in detail to the students the horrific outcomes,” Ms Degen said.
“I started using drugs at 12 years of age and by 19 was a full-blown drug addict, so I guess being relatable and being able to give a first-hand account of the side-effects of ice makes a massive difference – I feel they’re more inclined to listen.”
Ms Robinson echoed Ms Degen’s sentiments, stating that not only does providing a first-hand account resonate greatly with the students; she also noted how rewarding it is on a personal level.
“Being able to participate in these presentations is fantastic,” she said.
“I’m so passionate about impacting these young kids and it’s such a rewarding feeling when they come up after a presentation and ask questions.
“It’s reassurance that our work is important and that we are getting through to a number of these students.”
As an increase in awareness and education are at the forefront of AAIC’s model, the organisation will be hosting a ‘Walk Against Ice’ on the Cairns Esplanade on Sunday, September 15.
“That will be our national fundraising launch and hopefully we’ll see people of all ages putting their hand up to help fight against this life-destroying drug,” Mr Ivers said.
Mr Ivers also took time to thank those who have contributed to AAIC.
“Firstly I would like to thank Andrew and Graeme Ford from Hansen Ford and Mareeba Toyota and the Rotary Clubs in the region for their financial support,” he said.
“They’ve put their hand up and said ice is too big of a problem in our community, and we’re extremely thankful for their commitment.
“Lastly and most importantly, I want to recognise AAIC Chief Executive Officer Andrea Simmons – she is a 24/7 dynamo who works tirelessly to ensure everyone who is struggling with ice addiction receives the help they deserve.
“None of us would be here without her.”
For those interested in participating in the ‘Walk Against Ice’ on Sunday, September 15, the cost is $20 per adult, $10 for kids and pensioners and $50 for a family. In addition, you can donate to AAIC by visiting their website at https://www.australianantiicecampaign.org.au