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Student ice use concern

By ISABEL BIRD | The Examiner | July 17, 2014, midnight

ICE use by students from schools in Northern Tasmania is acknowledged as a concern, to be dealt with by enhanced education about drugs.

A report this week found the drug ice, or crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride, was being used by children as young as 13 at George Town, Fingal and Beaconsfield, with young people on the North-West Coast also reportedly affected.

Launceston school communities are not immune.

Cornerstone Youth Services chief executive Brian Wightman said it had received reports from all community stakeholders, including many schools, about ice use.

Tasmanian Principals Association president David Raw said it would not be a surprise to find students using ice.

He said in his previous experience at schools with students and drugs, for instance with marijuana, the drugs had been obtained from their parents' supplies.

"Children attend school for 11 per cent of the year - 200 days for about six hours a day - and for the remaining 89 per cent they are operating within the community," Mr Raw said.

"If something is in the community it would be very naive to think it won't appear in schools and won't be used by students."

Mr Wightman said he had heard many anecdotal reports of young people and ice.

He said formal collection of data and the use of ice among young people was needed.

"We hear from police, schools, counsellors and stakeholders that we work with saying it is an issue - and I absolutely believe there is an issue - but we really need to get hard evidence of the qualitative and quantitative data about what we are facing," Mr Wightman said.

"We don't have the data to paint a real picture ... this needs to be the starting point for a community response."

Mr Raw said there were many vulnerable children that needed greater education about social issues.

"We police it the best we can with the resources that we have," Mr Raw said.

"The bottom line is that students need to be in a position where they can make informed decisions and be given the skills to mitigate anything that comes from peer pressure."

Courtesy of The Examiner


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