The term ‘Canary in the coal mine’ is one used to describe someone who is sensitive to toxic substances. It is a title I have lived with for too many years. A gift or a curse, I was never really sure, but it was a sensitivity that allowed me to know when there were toxic substances in a room long before other people felt the harmful effects. It was this sensitivity that led me to the discovery that my husband, Michael and I were living in a Methamphetamine (ICE) contaminated home in an environment of ICE residue and about to fall through the ICE.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation that seems beyond belief, a situation that becomes more of a nightmare with each passing day, one that you wish you could wake up from but find that it isn’t a dream, it is reality? This was what my husband, Michael, and I found ourselves in over the Christmas-New Year holidays 2020/21. and when my doctor later tested me for methamphetamine in my system we were all horrified when the result came back positive simply from 3rd hand exposure to residue in the property. The ramifications of this alone left me numb with shock. Whilst everyone around us celebrated the holiday season we were grappling with the enormity of the position we found ourselves in. It soon became a steep learning curve as we sought to find the help we needed to deal with the situation.
When it comes to drug use and the dangers of drug use most of us know a little on the topic generally the result of a media story about ICE, the street name given to one of the most addictive forms of Methamphetamine (Meth) on the illicit drug market these days. As recently as the 8th Feb 2021 The Australian ran a story headlined “What to do when the river town of Murray Bridge turns to Ice” which chronicled the fact that Murray Bridge is sometimes referred to as the Ice capital of South Australia. We always think of these issues as being a problem someone else has so is there need for concern here in the community about Meth use? Can the proliferation of Meth use in our communities really affect the average person? The answer as we found out is quite simply YES.
Three years ago we drove into a small rural town in South Australia and fell in love with the town. We turned our lives upside down and moved here hoping to make it our forever home. Now we are faced with losing everything we have, treasured possessions that can’t be replaced and we wonder if we will ever find a safe place to rent again or will we be forced to leave town. As Michael and I seek ways in which we can deal with what has happened and grapple with the situation we are buoyed by the generosity of those in the community who have heard about what has happened to us and are offering their support. Kevin from Australian Meth Inspectors is a wealth of information about the issue and has been such an amazing rock when we have felt like we were drowning. Without them and the warmth of their love and support this little Canary would cease to sing because it is cold when you fall under the ICE.
Yvonne Lacey OAM
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