As our Falling Through the Cracks series launches today, investigating the impact methamphetamine is having on our local community, the magnitude of tackling this insidious drug has started to dawn on me.
While I am fully aware that labeling something as an 'epidemic' or 'crisis' will bring out the usual claims of media sensationalism, it is hard not to use this vernacular given the sheer scale of impact meth is having in Mandurah and across Western Australia.
Week one coverage:
Looking through our recent archives or sitting in the local courtrooms, the influence of meth is glaringly obvious.
The fact that about 29,000 clean needles are being distributed to drug users in the wider Mandurah area each month is shocking and gives another indication into the size of the problem at hand.
Mandurah Palmerston chief Bram Dickens, who oversees the needle exchange program, even admitted he thought the figures were an error the first time he saw them, such was the number.
Reliving the stories of people that have had their lives devastated and destroyed by meth has been harrowing and hard to hear.
Although those we have interviewed gave a range of reasons for their initial drug use, there has been one common denominator - unequivocal regret at trying meth in the first place.
I hope the series will shine a light on Mandurah's drug issues and spark a conversation about a new strategy to tackle this societal menace.
The goal is to show the devastating effect meth can have - to demonise and denigrate the drug.
And, if some of the stories we detail in forthcoming weeks resonate with even one person and dissuade them from potentially experimenting with meth, the series will have been a success.
Gareth McKnight is the Mandurah Mail's editor.