Over 800 year 9 students from across the local region have taken part in the country’s first dedicated drug, alcohol and wellbeing event for teenagers this week in an effort by the Tamworth Ice Action Group to help young people make good life choices.


Chair of the Ice Action Group Kevin Anderson MP said initial feedback from the event has been very positive and discussions are now being had to make “Raising the Awareness” an annual event.


“So far the feedback we are receiving is telling us that there was some great information for the kids and they took in a lot from our presenters.


“The structure of the sessions was done in a way to try and cover more than just Ice and other drugs; we really wanted to have an overarching theme of health and wellbeing with a view to choices and consequences.”


The highlight of the event for many students was the talk by guest speaker Luke Kennedy whose story of a troubled past involving street gangs, drugs, alcohol and tragedy provided a shocking insight into the importance of self-worth and good choices.


“It was clear from the feeling in the room that Luke’s story really resonated with everybody in the room,” Mr Anderson said.


“There was a great message about not letting labels define who you are and I think that’s really important for younger people to learn. In today’s world there’s a lot of pressure on young people to be people that they’re not and so I hope they got a lot out of Luke’s talk.”


The event was supported by many organisations including Tamworth Regional Council, Centacare, Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Service, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance, headspace, NSW Department of Education, Qantaslink, Virgin Airlines and Officeworks.


“Without the support of individuals like Tracey Filicietti and businesses in our community the event would not be possible, so I am extremely grateful for everyone’s support.”


Mr Anderson said the group will continue to collate feedback form the event to identify ways that it can be enhanced for the future.

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