Controversial Drug Treatment Program Ice Breakers Gets Green Light From WA Government

June 2, 2017

A drug rehabilitation program labelled “Mickey Mouse” by its critics has been given the green light by the State Government to run a two-year trial in Albany, Western Australia.

WA Premier Mark McGowan announced $360,000 for a two-year trial of the Ice Breakers program in Albany yesterday.

The program’s point of difference is former drug addicts support current and recovering drug ab

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users, including those addicted to crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as ice.

“Methamphetamine is a menace to communities across Western Australia,” Mr McGowan said.

“We need to deal with programs that actually work.

“If it works well here … we’ll look to roll it out further afield across Western Australia, because we need to come up with mechanisms that actually work to get people off this very, very harmful and addictive drug.”

An ‘effective model run by people who know’

Social worker Margaret Gordon founded the volunteer-run program in March 2015.

Ms Gordon said it had received criticism, despite a 20 per cent success rate.

“We measure that by them having been clean for six months or longer, getting into employment, getting into training or families reunited,” she said.

“We’ve got our detractors out there who don’t like what we’re doing, simply because the people we are attracting are people who have been heavily involved in the system of drugs, including sell and supply,” she said.

Ms Gordon is working with the University of Western Australia to try to get the facilitators’ training accredited.

“The whole idea is when you’re accredited you’re seen as a bona fide, not a Mickey Mouse organisation,” she said.

Ms Gordon said the key to the program’s success was its facilitators’ personal experience overcoming substance abuse.

“They know what an addiction is, they know what a craving and an urge is, they know the battle that goes on within a person who is trying to break free from the addiction, in particular the drug ice,” she said.

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