By Eliza Wynn, Avon Valley Advocate – March 2019
As part of his work as the face of the Crime Stoppers WA Dob in a Dealer campaign, West Coast Eagles veteran Daniel Kerr visited students at Northam Senior High School last week to warn of the impacts of drugs.
The previously troubled star spoke on stage with Crime Stoppers WA chief executive Dr Vince Hughes about his road to recovery and his passion to make a difference in the lives of young people.
When asked how we went from looking out over Trigg Beach to being behind bars in 2014, Kerr said the simple answer was he tried meth.
“I was having a good time when I played football,” he said.
“It was a very enjoyable life; I was living in Trigg with two kids and a BMW in the driveway.
“I went out one day and came back two years later to no house, an ex-wife and lost it all.”
Kerr said his passion is to change the perception of meth to being worse than a drug, saying that society has become desensitised to the word.
“I don’t want any kid to try any drugs at all,” he said.
“You can’t think of it as a drug.
“For some reason in society people think drugs are a part of growing up.
“It isn’t a part of growing up, it isn’t a part of Australian culture.
“We’ve got to think of meth as a different beast.
“We’ve got to link meth directly to death and to pain and suffering to our families.”
The ex-footballer said although he thought his life was fine while he was taking the drug, he soon came to realise that was not the case.
“You go from doing well and then your perception of reality changes and you don’t realise that,” Kerr said.
“You’re living in a bubble that only leads you to three places; jail, rehab or death.
“I went to a seminar where they said only five per cent of meth users are able to get out of it.
“I was lucky to be part of that five per cent.
“The reality is if you try it, very few come out of it living a happy life.”
Kerr, alongside sister Sam, is a board member for Together We Can – an organisation focusing on the health, social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous children.
“We want to inspire kids by giving them activities that they are interested in,” he said.
“If we can help kids find one positive thing they like doing, if we can inspire them and feed their passion, hopefully when they are older they will make better choices.
“My little passion on the side is being able to grow the foundation to be a talent identification system for Indigenous players.”
Wheatbelt district police superintendent Martin Cope said criminal drug-related activity is not only costing millions of dollars in healthcare and law enforcement, it is costing human lives.
“We know these types of local campaigns can help police get drug dealers off our streets,” he said.
“We’re not asking people to ‘dob’ in their mates through the ‘Dob in a Dealer’ campaign.
“We’re actually asking you to be a mate and look after the welfare of your friends, your family and your colleagues by safely reporting to Crime Stoppers anything you have seen or heard that could relate to the import, manufacture or supply of illicit drugs.
“You don’t have to have the complete story.
“Your small piece of information could be the missing piece of the puzzle.”