In August last year, I was approached by the Rotary District Governor to see if I was keen to speak with Glenn Ivers from Australian Anti-Ice Campaign (AAIC) about coordinating a community Walk Against Ice in the Peel Region.
The conversation with Glenn around the program they provide to high school students sounded very positive and I felt something all communities need to know more about.
So as I do, I hit the ground running pulling together a community walk for the coming weeks.
We soon had the support of both the Mandurah Rotary Clubs.
It was a great success, not only in attendance and promoting the campaign but putting Rotary out in the community.
We had huge media coverage around the walk and Rotary's involvement with the program.
Just prior to COVID-19 restrictions Peel Chamber of Commerce and Peel Thunder partnered with AAIC and the Mandurah Rotary Clubs were to host a community forum on the usage of ice, which will now happen once the pandemic is behind us.
Each community has their own issues with drugs.
Most of us know a family struggling with the effects of drug abuse.
The AAIC promotes the pitfalls and damage ice does to your body to high school aged kids.
'Not Even Once' is their slogan and they aim to educate our kids not to dabble as they possibly aren't taking what they believe they are.
Teenagers are growing up in an environment where the highly addictive and destructive drug is easily accessible and in arguably epidemic proportions - impacting on our police, ambulance, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and mental health workers.
Recent reports suggest that ice dealers have resorted to giving away free 'samples' to our vulnerable teenagers.
The rapid surge in teenage ice users can be largely attributed to peer influence and ignorance of the dangers of trying ice, even once.
The drug is stealing, killing and destroying our youth.
Young boys are being told the ice will help them with 'body sculpting' while young girls are being told it will help them 'lose weight rapidly'.
All of these statements are lies.
The AAIC in-school education workshops provide students with a defence against these lies, by exposing ice for what it really is - an insidiously poisonous chemical concoction that eventually, and often rapidly, destroys the physical and mental health of almost everyone who uses it, with the destruction of families and friendships, and sometimes suicide, as the ultimate outcome.
AAIC has secured the rights to adopt and implement the highly successful Partnership for Drug Free Kids program, which includes a high impact prevention and awareness in-school education workshop program.
The workshops comprise of a 60-minute interactive workshop delivering information on the short and long-term effects associated with ice use; the danger and toxicity of the ingredients in ice; the mechanism of ice addiction; the effects on the brain, body, relationship and community; and the risks of trying ice even once.
The workshops are delivered in an interactive format so that the students are able to communicate openly with and ask questions of the presenter.
Many of the presenters have recovered from ice addiction and can graphically convey the harsh reality of addiction.
They are not a school teacher delivering just another one in a long line of drug education lessons but they are uniquely positioned to break through any peer influence with total honesty from personal experience.
AAIC is now implementing a school-based public art competition, Paint the State.
The large scale community action program aims to empower teenagers to create artwork with a strong anti - ice message that is clearly visible to the general public.
Rotary clubs across the country are jumping on board to partner with AAIC to provide the program and help educate school children once we are past COVID 19.
Marg Pantall is from the Rotary Club of Mandurah.