Conversation key to drug awareness

Daryna ZadvirnaNarrogin Observer
Chris Waterman, David Hobbs and Rod Bridge.
Camera IconChris Waterman, David Hobbs and Rod Bridge.

Driven by the loss of his teenage son to a synthetic drug, Rod Bridge has embarked on a crusade against drugs in WA’s South West.

Last Tuesday, Narrogin’s John Higgins Centre hosted a presentation by Sideffect, a not-for-profit group started by Mr Bridge to promote drug education.

Mr Bridge was joined by Sideffect director and friend David Hobbs, who said the goal was to start conversations between parents and their children and raise awareness in WA’s remote towns.

“We can’t just say ‘don’t do drugs’ because that won’t work, but what we can do is show the danger and Russian-roulette risk that comes with it,” Mr Hobbs said.

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He said although their aim was to visit schools, the Narrogin visit ended up becoming a community event as opposed to a school event. “We did try to do it at the schools. but they decided against it at this stage, until they knew more about the program,” he said.

“But we had a great turnout, I think we got to a lot of parents, the police were there, as were the hockey association, and a few teachers and kids too.”

Narrogin Senior High School teacher Alistair Potts said the presentation was thought provoking.

“We have health programs at the school which cover this sort of thing and definitely support these kind of discussions with students,” he said.

In 2013, 16-year-old Preston Bridge jumped from a balcony at a Scarborough hotel, after taking synthetic LSD given to him by a classmate.

In an attempt to get to the bottom of where the drug came from, Mr Bridge infiltrated a drug-supplying group in China, which led to imprisonment of thousands of drug dealers.

“If I had to go to China again, I’d absolutely do it,” he said.

“It won’t bring Preston back but if it could save lives and educate people — that’s what it’s all about.”

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