The ice man loveth
A Mt Druitt man has developed his own small ministry to the community, trying to raise awareness and encourage open conversations about the destructive force of crystal methamphetamine.
The drug, known commonly as ‘ice’, has been highlighted by Government and health services as a growing problem in Australian communities. The most recent National Drug Strategy Household Survey indicated one in 70 Australians has used the drug in the past year, with a reported rise in rates of hospitalisation, psychotic episodes and deaths.
David Vincent, a member of Minchinbury Anglican Church, says he and his wife have seen the drug’s effects in their community and have stories from those whose lives have been affected.
“It started a couple of years ago when I read about a young boy and his grandmother who were murdered by a man who was on ice,” Mr Vincent says. “There was a photo in the paper and it just hit me so hard I felt that I had to do something about it.
“My wife Beverley and I have been doing children’s work since we graduated from Bible college. Being involved with camps and Scripture in schools and the impact on children really struck us – they are often the innocent victims caught in the middle of these things."
"Ice in particular seems to be relatively cheap and its effect is so powerful and destructive for the people who use it, and their families" - David Vincent
Mr Vincent’s idea for his ministry and awareness campaign has been simple: he has donned his own custom T-shirt and worn it going about his everyday life. This small effort, he says, has opened doors to conversations he hopes has helped to keep the issue front and centre for people.
“It’s easily hidden, that’s one of the key things about it,” he says. “It feels like I’ve spoken to hundreds of people over these three years about its impacts. One woman I spoke to in Parramatta, she lost her daughter to an ice addition and I felt so terribly sad hearing that.
“A lot of people have walked past me and said they liked the shirt. Others have a look walking past of sadness, which has made me think perhaps they have a story they either don’t want to share or just haven’t got time to share.”
Mr Vincent’s ministry has been motivated by his faith in Jesus and the love Jesus shows to all people, especially children.
“As a Christian, I think life is priceless,” he says. “God created life and he has given his okay to each and every person to be born.
“Life is not meant to be wrecked by things like alcohol or ice or any drug, and knowing how this affects families… It’s not just about the person using ice. They are not the only ones who suffer. Their spouses suffer, their children suffer and the thought of thousands of children in particular suffering because of this is terrible. Jesus loves them, so we feel like we can’t just go so far and then stop.”