A new awareness campaign aiming to prevent and reduce the use of the drug ice is being led by Mitchell Youth Services and Mitchell Youth Council.
The Ice Breaker campaign, funded by a grant of nearly $9500 from the Victorian Government, will involve promoting local support services, placing awareness stickers on footpaths at key locations including skate parks, the council’s Youth Rooms, sporting clubs, police stations and train stations, as well as stickers on school buses around the shire.
According to the Crime Statistics Agency, total drug offences in Mitchell Shire have risen dramatically each year over the past five years, from 130 offences in 2013 to 363 in 2017 (year ending June 30).
From 2016 to 2017 alone, drug offences — including dealing, trafficking, cultivating, manufacturing, use and possession — climbed by 54.5 per cent.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said educating young people on the effects and dangers of using drugs such as ice was vital.
‘‘Running programs such as the Ice Breaker campaign will add to the great work that’s being done by the Victorian Government and other service providers to help reduce the impacts of this highly-addictive drug on our community,’’ she said.
Mitchell Youth Mayor Audrey Flannery encouraged other young people in the shire to show leadership and discourage drug use among their peers.
‘‘The Mitchell Youth Council is really passionate about this campaign and we’re keen to get out into the community and spread the message about this harmful drug and what support avenues are available to young people in our community who may be affected,’’ she said.
For more information on the Ice Breaker campaign or the information sessions, phone the council’s Community Development team on 57346200.