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I Was Bullied My Whole Life


Keiah Smith endured years of bullying through primary school and high school. She became depressed and attempted suicide.

I was bullied my whole life but it got particularly bad when I was ten and revealed I’d been sexually abused. I told a friend and it spread around the school and I was called a ‘slut’. I was also overweight and picked on for that, too.

At high school, I was regularly bashed. Mum and Dad told the school it wasn’t acceptable but it continued. I was bashed walking to class, during lunch and when I retaliated, I was suspended. It was heartbreaking and it’s hard to put into words how I felt. Read more

Principal endorses Parent Guides

In a video interview Heather Norton, former principal of Firbank Girls’ Grammar School, in Melbourne discusses Parent Guides with publisher Eileen Berry.

Heather said the school had been fortunate to get funding from their Parents Association to bring Drugs 101, Social Media 101 and Sex 101 to Firbank. “To be honest, I can’t think of a better use of the Association’s money. It cements the fact that we are raising our children together – parents and the school. We have received nothing but positive feedback from our parents and the benefits for our students are knowing that their parents are learning about issues that matter,” Heather said.

Ice Rips Apart Melbourne Family


ABC Radio Melbourne morning presenter Jon Faine accepted an invitation from a listener to sit down have a cup of tea and talk about what’s happened in his family. “Tony”, as he asked to be called, wanted his story to be heard by a wider audience.

JF: Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us, what happened?

Tony: I guess the best place to start would be, nearly on three years ago now my wife and I received two distressing calls from two of our oldest sons.

JF: You have how many children altogether?

Tony:Four. We’ve lived in our community for over thirty years. Like all parents we’ve always wanted to do the right things and we’re very connected in the community. A loving family, grandparents who adored the grandchildren but on this particular day we received two distressing calls separately. One to me and one to my wife. It was basically screaming coming over the phone. There was the mention of “He’s going to shoot me”. I grabbed my wife, we jumped in the car and we went to this place, which happened to be my parents house, about 10 minutes away. We got there and as we were rounding the corner there was over 30 police cars, there were helicopters. It was like a scene out of some sort of movie. There were the tapes they put across the road. Well, I disregarded the tapes and drove through them and I could see my younger of my two older boys lying on the ground.

JF: He’s how old?

Tony: At the time he was approximately 25. As with anything like that of course what you’re hoping for is to see some kind of movement. He was just lying there so we had no idea whether he was dead, alive or whatever.

JF: Were there police nearby?

Tony: There were over two-dozen police …

JF: No, no. Nearby him specifically? On the ground.

Read more

Heath Ledger’s Dad: Mixing Prescription Drugs Killed My Son


Kim Ledger’s actor son, Heath, was killed by an accidental overdose of prescription medication.

Kim Ledger’s actor son, Heath, was killed by an accidental overdose of prescription medication.Very few people have any idea of the extent of prescription pill addiction in Australia. It is a terrifying problem. We are losing more people through prescription medication misuse than through ice. The non-medical use of prescription drugs is 21 times more common than heroin, and one in 10 people on prescription medication will develop some kind of dependency.

When my son, Heath, was caught he was only using medication to try and treat a bad chest infection. He was part-way through filming Doctor Parnassus and was travelling a lot between Vancouver, London and New York. He needed to sleep better and had an Ambien or two to help achieve it – that mix of prescription medication caused Heath to sleep permanently. Read more

We’re in this together

Firbank Panel Night

Parent Guides Panel Night at Firbank for Drugs 101

Our aim at Firbank is to help students develop the confidence, courage and skills they need to make their mark in their own world and in the world they will enter.

Firbank is a school where students not only aspire, but they ‘do’. It is the place where students, particularly adolescents, form the beliefs and values that will set them up for their life journey. Our school values of courage, respect, compassion, curiosity and integrity are key. But we have to live those values. And many of those values are pertinent to the issue tackled in Drugs 101. Read more

Can ice’s grip on Geelong be broken?

Superintendent Daryl Clifton.

Superintendent Daryl Clifton. Photo: Reg Ryan

Superintendent Daryl Clifton, division commander of Barwon South-Western Region and 40-year veteran of Victoria Police is helping mobilise the local community and break the grip of ice in the Geelong and Barwon regions.

I have been in the police force for 40 years, and during that time I’ve seen different drugs come and go. But in my 40 years I’ve never seen anything like ice. In Australia, the drug is so pure and so it affects people’s behaviour and judgment and their thinking. If you took a shot of heroin it would more than likely put you to sleep in the corner – but not ice. Ice is an upper, a methamphetamine in the same family as ecstasy and speed. When people go on an ice binge they become violent and irrational. Read more

It’s so easy to use when you’re with mates

Young Adult lighting a marijuana Joint in the dark

Used for illustrative purposes only, the person depicted in this image is a model.

I was about 12 when I began smoking a little bit of pot. I began drinking too and occasionally I tried speed. I never fitted into school and I found a pair of mates who were the same and we’d use with each other. It’s hard to explain why I started but I suppose I relied on these things to make me feel better. When I got too many thoughts in my head – happy or sad – I’d try and wash them out with drugs.

I started smoking pot more often in the week and doing crazy things on the weekend. By the time I was 13 or 14 I was using pot every day and drinking and popping pills and I was in and out of different schools.

In early 2012 I got a job working with my family. I’d only smoke pot during the week but would go really crazy at the weekends – coke, amphetamines, methamphetamines … I got prescribed benzos as well. Whatever I could get, really. Read more

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