Natalie Ahmat: The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 'ice' roundtable in Brisbane has brought together mob from all over the state, including those working at the coal face of community efforts to control the drug.
The goal of the meeting has been to develop a state-wide response to growing 'ice' use and its effects on Indigenous families and communities - in line with the National ice Task Force.
Queensland Correspondent Jodan Perry was there.
Jodan Perry: Ice can have devastating effects on all communities and Aunty Gail Wason, who travelled from Mareeba to attend the conference, has seen what its use can do.
CEO of Mulungu Health Service, Aunty Gail Wason (pictured below): I know my nephew and he put his hand through the window and he’s regretting that now but the good thing is his wife has come out and said if you want to remain in this home you get help.
So I do know that he’s undertaken that first step of getting help. That’s the important thing if they go astray and fall off the track: what do we do. I think [as] we are all struggling with that and some people don’t know how to deal with that.
I think we have to give them some information about the strategies that they can use in their own homes with their own families. That’s the important message that we want to be able to give everyone.
Jodan Perry: While there are currently no concrete statistics surrounding the use of ICE, it’s clear the drug is finding its way into homes all over the country.
"I think we have to give them some information about the strategies that they can use in their own homes with their own families. That’s the important message that we want to be able to give everyone."
CEO of Gindaja Treatment and Healing Centre, Yarrabah – Ailsa Lively: Well it’s relatively new to our community. We are pretty aware that there are youth in our community that are using it – were very close to a main city, Cairns, so there’s a lot of access to that city that our youth go into there.
We have seen the effects in our community on our youth. There’s a number of young children, youth that have ended up on the mental health facility through the use.
Jodan Perry: The Northwest Queensland town of Mount Isa has received media coverage this week, with articles suggesting there's an 'ice epidemic' in the mining town.
Community member, Stephanie King, works in the health sector and says that awareness is crucial to identifying if communities are at risk.
Mount Isa community member, Stephanie King: I mean, not only if you live in a community long enough, and you witness and experience all the pain and suffering around you from people that are getting injured, injuring other people, going to jail, and are dying from the use of drugs: that’s enough evidence to tell you that there’s something seriously wrong in the community.
It’s about awareness and education of the drug and what it does to people, having the conversation. And, also having a look at what supports there are in the community where people can go and get help and to get healthy and well. But also, for the families to be supported as well, to support the person that is using.
Jodan Perry: While many positive outcomes will arise from the meeting, there is no one size fits all solution to the problem. What is needed is a framework that can accommodate other potential threats in the future.
Ailsa Lively: We need to reharness what we’ve done in the past with the other drugs but we need to prepare for what’s coming. We need to be confident that we can do this, we need to be connected and supporting each other but most of all we need to be supported by other agencies like the government to deal with this issues that’s coming.
Jodan Perry: General manager of business innovation and service development at the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, Sandy Gillies, reflects those sentiments.
"It’s about awareness and education of the drug and what it does to people, having the conversation."
Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council’s general manager of business innovation and service development – Sandy Gillies: Today it’s ice. What happens in three years? We’re going to have a new threat. We are resilient people, our communities are resilient and we’ve shown that were still here.
We need to give them the tools that enable them to deal with any new threat regardless of what it is.
Jodan Perry: Despite the dangers posed by the illicit drug, it's crucial that we don’t lose focus on other substances affecting our people.
Sandy Gilies: We can’t also not forget about alcohol. Alcohol is still the second biggest killer of our mob, after smoking, so we can’t take our eye off those things that are already in our communities that people are still struggling with just because there’s a new kid on the block and his name happens to be ‘ice’.
Jodan Perry for NITV News