A SUPPORT service for parents and carers of ice users is at risk of folding.
The group has been in Echuca-Moama for four years but numbers have dwindled since its inception.
Facilitator Rosemary Jones said if more people did not come forward it would cease to exist.
‘‘The ice issue has become worse, not better, so I know there are a lot of people out there in need,’’ she said.
‘‘Numbers are down and I feel bad about closing it because there must be hundreds of people out there who need help.
‘‘But if we don’t get more people, we will have no choice but to close it.’’
Rosemary said the reason numbers were so low was because it was not a government-funded group.
‘‘We don’t have anyone above us, we’re not being promoted by doctors or anyone else like that,’’ she said.
‘‘The focus has become very much on the ice user but they forget about the affected families.
‘‘I know this is harsh but the ice user isn’t affected all that much because they are on ice and feel numb.
‘‘So you can imagine what the parents, sisters and brothers are going through because they don’t have the benefit of ice to numb them.’’
The meetings are informal and those who attend are able to speak openly – if they are able.
Rosemary said the support service has also been able to provide strategies to parents and carers about how to deal with addicts.
‘‘There is no judgement whatsoever,’’ she said.
‘‘I usually get someone else to tell their horrific story first so the newcomers can see, there’s nothing they can’t say.
‘‘One of the main things we find is when their kids break the law; they can talk about it in our group.
‘‘Can you imagine how a mother feels when her child has been to jail when they’re constantly told only bad kids go to jail?
‘‘But in this group they can find there’s more people who have children that are in jail or have gone to jail.
‘‘And they can be very open about their frustration towards their children.’’
Rosemary said most of the time parents just needed an ear to listen.
‘‘Sometimes all I do is listen — that’s all some of these families need,’’ she said.
‘‘These parents have so much to deal with which is why a service like this is so important.
‘‘Nobody has been brought up to deal with addicts.’’
Anyone interested in joining the support service should message Rosemary on 0438 015 833.
‘‘We meet once a fortnight,’’ she said.