Mildura project hailed a ‘major success’: Ice crush

A NATIONALLY acclaimed Mildura drug campaign needs urgent government funding to build on its success in crushing the region’s ‘ice’ epidemic.

WINNING THE FIGHT: Project Ice member Jill Gleeson and Northern Mallee Community Partnership executive officer Michelle Withers have been part of the successful drug campaign.

WINNING THE FIGHT: Project Ice member Jill Gleeson and Northern Mallee Community Partnership executive officer Michelle Withers have been part of the successful drug campaign.

An evaluation of Project Ice Mildura, which focuses on ice education, prevention and treatment strategies, has been hailed a major success since it kicked off 12 months ago, and could be rolled out as a template in other regions where the drug has taken hold.

The project was created by Northern Mallee Community Partnership and kicked off 12 months ago in response to a growing concern of the drug ice within the community.

Since then, more than 3000 residents attended community information sessions through the Mildura unique campaign.

The evaluation was based on community feedback, 700 respondents to an online survey and speaking with 14 local key stakeholders.

The committee will use these findings of evidence to lobby the government for funding to take Project Ice to the next level.

Mallee Family Care’s Vinson Centre for Applied Social Research was commissioned by NMPC to evaluate the reach and impact of Project Ice.

Evaluators agreed that one of the most interesting results to come out of it was the community’s “call for action” to fight the ice epidemic across Sunraysia.

“I think that so many people have been touched buy it (ice), either through a family member or know someone, and they know first hand the impact and damage it can do the person and the ripple effect on family and then the community,” evaluator Fiona Harley said. “That’s what made people own it(the project).

“It wasn’t something that was happening somewhere else, it was happening here and happening to people you knew.

“We had these groups coming into town that were doing things and destroying our community – and people said, ‘we’re not going to tolerate that, we’re going to come together and we’re going to beat this’.”

About 168,000 people were reached through the Project Ice Mildura Facebook page, including some from overseas.

“There’s no doubt that the campaign has been very, very successful and reached a significant number of people in the community,” Ms Harley said. “But the important part is the understanding – it’s more than just awareness, it’s understanding.”

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