Gunnedah resident Judith Law says she is “overwhelmed” and “amazed” to see the community come together to make a stand against drugs.
The community event, “Say No to Drugs”, became a reality after she took the idea to Gunnedah Shire Council, which partnered with Gunnedah Crime Prevention Working Group and Gunnedah Community Drug Action Team.
Mrs Law wanted to replicate a similar event from Gunnedah’s past and commemorate the 40th anniversary of the murder of long-time drug campaigner Donald Mackay in Griffith in 1977.
More than 100 community members turned out to walk Wolseley Oval on Friday to show a united front and form the word ‘no’. A number of organisations were represented, including NSW Police, HealthWise, Gunnedah Family Support Home Base, Mackellar Care Services and Gunida Gunyah.
“I wanted this so badly,” Mrs Law said.
“I wanted to reignite Donald Mackay’s life’s work. His death touched my heart, and the injustice that the family had to suffer.”
She said it was important for Gunnedah to find its voice and raise awareness of the negative impact of illicit drug use in the community.
“We owe it to our children, and children are our future,” she said.
“Otherwise, we leave it to them to solve.”
Mrs Law said she was thankful to everyone for their support.
“I don’t feel it’s mine,” she said.
“It’s the people who come; they are the people who make it happen.”
The Gunnedah resident said she would like to see drug-affected families come together to form a support group.
Oxley Inspector, Michael Wurth, attended the gathering and said the impact of drugs was wide-spread.
“Drugs have no boundaries, either geographically or financially. It destroys families,” he said.
“I’ve lost two cousins to drug use, or the results of, so it’s even affected my family.”
Inspector Wurth said drugs were “ever-present” in Gunnedah and it was vital that the community acted as “eyes and ears” for Oxley LAC.
“We rely on you to give us information, so please continue that,” he said.
The council’s social planner, Debra Hilton, said she was pleased with the outcome of the event.