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Our ICE Help service in Mackay in north Queensland has recently begun hosting a family support group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families affected by methamphetamine use.

The service provides counselling and other supports to family members – regardless of whether the person with the ice dependency is accessing our support. Offering support to families has proven to be a powerful early intervention strategy for our ICE Help service.

Family Support Worker, Janice Quadrio, says families accessing ICE Help created an intervention pathway for 65% of her clients since the team was formed in 2017.

“Even when a person continues to use and experience issues, the families who have accessed our services report increased wellbeing,” she said. “They are better equipped to manage situations. Family members understand the drug and how it works. They have strategies in place for harm minimisation and feel empowered where before they felt helpless.

“Also, very importantly, through ICE Help, family members can access a support network that helps to reduce the stigma they feel around having a person with ice dependency in the family.”

Lives Lived Well’s ICE Help service came into effect in April 2017, enabled by funding from the Northern Queensland PHN. From 1 April 2017 to 1 November this year, the service supported 305 clients – made up of a mix of people seeking help for problematic ice use, as well as their families.

Sixty-four per cent of the people seeking help for their own use of methamphetamine were male, while 55 per cent of people seeking help for a family member were female. The most common age range of clients and family members was 18 to 45 years.

Many of the people accessing ICE Help go on to engage with other Lives Lived Well services in Mackay, including psychosocial supports, day withdrawal and outreach. More information about our Mackay services here.