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Community sport takes charge in major push to tackle ‘ice’

Kim Brennan

Australia’s local sporting clubs will lead a major push to tackle ‘ice’ in a new $4.6 million program to reduce the drug’s devastating impact on communities.

The Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, and Olympic gold medalist, Kim Brennan, launched the Good Sports Tackling Illegal Drugs program south-east of Melbourne by announcing 75 community forums over four years to help clubs across the nation safeguard their players and supporters.

Funded by the Australian Government, community sporting clubs will receive tailor-made alcohol and drug harm prevention training as part of the four-year project, an official press release said on March 16.

“Sporting clubs are the beating heart of local communities. They play a vital role in connecting and supporting people who are doing it tough; and who are working to solve the many health and social issues in their communities,” said Good Sports Ambassador, Kim Brennan.

“One in six Australians have taken an illegal drug in the last year, so it’s likely every Australian sports club has at least one person who has been impacted by drugs.

“It’s clear from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s (ADF) Good Sports program that community sports clubs want to respond to drug issues like ‘ice’ in their communities,” said Ms Brennan.

Hockey, rugby league, football and cricket clubs in every state and territory are coming on board in 2017.

The first community forum kicks off tonight at the Hastings Community Hub on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria with Good Sports clubs in the area invited to attend.

At the forum, coaches, league officials and club representatives will be given training on how to prepare and deal with a range of scenarios including:

  • What to do if they find drugs at their club
  • How to respond to a person suspected of using, or being under the influence, of drugs
  • And what to do if someone is found dealing drugs at their club

Later, clubs will be helped to create a policy so everyone  knows how to be respond to ‘ice-related’ issues. Clubs will also be encouraged to appoint a Welfare Officer to drive the policy’s implementation, and to act as the first point of contact for anyone concerned about a drug-related issue, the release said.

Eighty per cent of forums will take place in regional and rural Australia, and an additional five partnerships with Indigenous communities will be established to develop culturally relevant programs.

‘Ice’ and other Illegal drugs impact all areas of the community. With 40per cent of Australians having tried illegal substances, sporting clubs can provide a protective environment to help prevent drug harm in our communities.

Run by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, the Good Sports program already works with more than 7000 clubs nationwide.

 Key Statistics

    • More than 40 per cent of Australians over the age of 14 have ever tried an illegal drug
    • One in 10 people regularly use an illegal drug
    • People aged 20-29 are the most likely to have used drugs in the last 12 months
    • The 1.35 million Australian adults who participate regularly in team sport are less likely than the average Australian to experience depression, anxiety or stress
    • For every $1 spent on funding a community football club, there is at least $4.20 return resulting from improved social connectedness, wellbeing and mental health status.



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