Over the last year, we have had a series of State and Federal Parliamentarians visit Triple Care Farm. Ministers and local members are all seeking solutions to addiction and mental health problems, and particularly for the frightening Ice Epidemic.
The latest visitor, Federal Member for Throsby (in the Southern Highlands) was Stephen Jones MP, the Assistant Shadow Minister for Health. He is well informed about the challenge of increasing ice use and was impressed with the successful interventions at Triple Care Farm that you make possible. He saw that the holistic approach to untangling the complex knot of problems that comes with addiction, is the only effective approach.
In 2014, for the first time, Ice became the #1 drug of concern amongst Triple Care Farm students, and whilst the Farm has successfully been helping young people with methamphetamine addiction for over 20years, this change brings fresh challenges – particularly increased psychotic disorders and an inability of students to settle and stabilize in the program.
Thankfully the Ice Epidemic is getting recognition and prompting action. At Federal level both parties are gathering information on possible solutions to the Ice Epidemic. A submission was made to the Assistant Minister for Health, the Hon Fiona Nash, outlining how effective the holistic rehab approach of the Farm is, and Stephen Jones saw this for himself on his visit. At State level several Ministers and local members have also visited the Farm and calls are mounting for a Drug Summit this year to take place after the NSW state election in March.
The last drug summit was in 1999 and is credited with helping avoid a full scale heroin epidemic. In fact heroin use has declined significantly in recent years, partly due to initiatives developed during the drug summit. But now the landscape has changed. Ice is a different drug and new strategies are needed.
A Drug Summit would look at the Ice Epidemic from all angles. Community education and addressing supply are part of the solution, so is rehab for those who ‘fall through the cracks’. Because of donors’ generosity, Triple Care Farm has become the most effective rehabilitation service for young people.
One young person at a time, and step by step, their unique combination of challenges is addressed and the tools provided to live a healthy and happy life. This is only possible with your support, and with the Government’s involvement, we look forward to being able to extend the Farm’s unique model of care to more young people.