Ice education sessions mark a milestone

Posted on: Wednesday, 07 December 2016

More than 2000 Victorians have participated in an ice education program, with BreakThrough: Ice Education for Families set to mark its 100th session in December.

A joint project between Turning Point, SHARC and the Bouverie Centre, BreakThrough has held sessions throughout regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne since late last year.

The sessions discuss a range of key issues including ice and its effects, mental health issues, the role of families and how to seek support.

Program participant Gail attended a BreakThrough session after learning a family member had been caught up in drug use.

“It is not something you choose to happen. It is something uninvited and inflicted upon you.”

She said her family had a choice to make. In some ways, it brought her family closer and opened them up to an issue that they wouldn’t have really discussed.

“You can try and bury your head in the sand and hope it will sort itself out; or face it head on and try not to become a casualty.”

Gail saw the damage ice did to her family member’s mental health, confidence, work and even ability to function. It also proved to be taxing for herself – mentally, physically and emotionally – as she looked for answers and support.

That is where the value of the Ice BreakThrough session proved so important.

“I knew if I had to fight a battle, the best chance I have of winning is to understand the enemy as much as possible,” Gail said.

“The BreakThrough session helped me to acknowledge and accept the fight against ice is a long term battle with no quick fix; and also to understand relapse is as much a normal part of the recovery journey. This helped me to know I was giving the right support and setting the right boundaries. 

“The education and understanding gave me greater strength and although some days are a struggle, giving up isn’t an option.”

Gail said being in the BreakThrough session’s non-judgemental environment was comforting.

“Knowing the problem of addiction is affecting people from so many walks of life, sharing and being able to listen to some of their stories allows perspective.”

Turning Point Education Officer Dean Rogut said he was delighted with how the community had supported the program.

“It is has been greatly encouraging to see such a keen interest in people wanting to learn more about the effects of ice and the treatment options available.”

“Knowing how to respond to someone affected by ice can be incredibly challenging, so it is terrific that people are taking steps forward by seeking support.”

The first BreakThrough session was delivered in October 2015. By the end of this year, 102 sessions will have been delivered.

There will have been 64 sessions delivered in metropolitan Melbourne in areas including Frankston and Footscray. There will also have been a further 38 sessions in regional Victoria in places such as Shepparton and Warrnambool.

Feedback from the sessions has been positive. Over 85 per cent of participants surveyed measured their overall satisfaction with the BreakThrough program as ‘high’ or ‘very high’. Meanwhile, 98 per cent said they would recommend BreakThrough to other people with similar concerns.

Gail counts herself as one of the program’s supporters.

“It offers a very thorough program including comprehensive research and facts based evidence, all of which are translated through presentations and examples that are easy to understand.

“There is no doubt my family member with addiction issues could have made better choices, and they need to own that. However, I know they are essentially a decent, kind person with good core values. 

"I know their health, happiness and future is worth fighting for."

BreakThrough is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services as part of Victoria’s Ice Action Plan.

The 100th session will be held in Eltham on December 8.  

Click here for more information and updates on future sessions.

Turning Point also operates the state government's Ice Advice Line. The helpline offers support to users, families and health professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Phone: 1800 ICE ADVICE (1800 423 238)