DESPITE urgent needs, the Glenelg Shire has been left out of a new $34 million State Government program to reverse a trend towards more and ever-younger rural people getting hooked on methamphetamines such as ice.
This is despite the ongoing concerns of Portland and district health professionals, police and community leaders.
The money is expected to be officially announced in the May 6 state budget, but already Mental Health Minister Mary Woodridge has confirmed that her department plans to spend it over four years in the northern Grampians, Gippsland and a region of outer Melbourne.
She expected the money would assist more than 2000 people a year to treat people using the highly addictive drug, or get them to avoid it altogether.
Glenelg Southern Grampians Drug Treatment Service manager Bev McIlroy knows firsthand the terrible impact methamphetamine use is having on users and their extended families and is keen to see funding to combat the problem.
“In Portland and the Southern Grampians, ice has had a very harmful impact on families and school-aged students,” Ms Bev McIlroy said.
Read the full story in Wednesday’s Portland Observer, or subscribe to our epaper at the top of the page.