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The Ice Epidemic is it the New Zombie Apocalypse?

5 min read
The Ice Epidemic is it the New Zombie Apocalypse?

Ice, Cristy, Glass, Quartz, Blade, Crystal. These are the street names given to what is quickly becoming our nation’s scariest and most dangerous drug epidemic in modern history, Crystal Meth.

The drug has risen to prominence in recent years, so much so our Prime Minister has created a special Task Force to combat the issue, we have seen a rise in the number of seizures, and all drug-related reports released this year steer towards the same conclusion, that yes, more people are using Crystal Meth than ever before.

But here is my issue:

With all these taskforces, police drug raids and increases in border security, there seems to be a lack in what users of crystal meth need most; help. Free help.

Ok, so let’s break it down.

According to reports, there has been an increase in people seeking treatment at drug and alcohol clinics. The proportion of treatment “episodes” where methamphetamine was the principal drug of concern doubled from 7% in 2009-10, to 14% in 2012-13.
There has been an 88% increase in ambulance call-outs in metropolitan Victoria and a 198% increase in call outs for methamphetamine-related incidents in some regional areas.

Crystal Meth
Crystal Meth

People in regional areas are twice as likely to use methamphetamine as those in major cities (and are more likely to drink at risky levels and smoke cigarettes).
Hospital presentations for methamphetamine-related problems are the second-highest among the four major illicit drug types, with 182 “separations” per million people in 2010-11.
Finally, arrests for methamphetamine-related crimes have increased by 30% between 2010-11 and 2011-12. And a review of more than 80,000 Queensland roadside drug-tests between 2007 and 2012 found methamphetamine to be present in 41% of positive results.

Phew, that’s a lot of stats. Ok, so who is the blame for this ‘epidemic’?

We can perhaps blame the rise in “ice-users” to the huge success of US Television series Breaking Bad, which features the travails of Walter White, a chemistry teacher who resorts to “cooking” and selling crystal meth in an effort to raise money for his family after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Or perhaps it’s because the drug has become more readily available, an easy-to-get-hold-of substance if choice … or that simply our drug law enforcement is not working for all illicit drugs.
An illicit drug report released earlier this year has revealed less ice is being seized across Australia but the number of seizures has skyrocketed. According to the report, more than 27 tonnes of illegal drugs were seized in Australia last year with cannabis being the most common, but police say ice still presents the biggest challenge.
About 42% of Australians say they have used illicit drugs at some time in their life, and almost 15% say they had used illicit drugs in the past year.

And Police say they are now seeing demand for ice in areas not seen before including in disadvantaged communities where it is having a destructive impact.
The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) released a report titled the Australian Methamphetamine Market. It states that since 2010, border seizures of imported ice “” along with other forms of methamphetamine “” are on the rise.
A previous ACC release, the Illicit Drug Data Report, outlined that in 2012-2013 border seizures, arrests and seizure weights of amphetamines, including ice, were at an all time high. It also reported that amount of clandestine laboratories raided nationally was the second highest on record.

So, yeah it’s a problem. And, the solution?

Crystal Meth
More than 27 tonnes of illegal drugs were seized in Australia last year

Right now, it doesn’t look like there is one. Well, a solid one anyway.

It seems that education only plays a modest role our Nation’s drug policy, and the same goes for rehabilitation programs. It seems that there is a huge need for programs for people who use amphetamines, yet there’s absolutely nothing for people who use amphetamines in a problematic way.

While investment in policing and prevention is important, what we need to do is ensure that treatment is a significant part of the solution. There is a need for programs for people who use amphetamines, in the way that methadone programs are available for heroin users. Maybe then, we can start to see a change. Maybe.

FACTS

  • Ice is known to be highly addictive and cause erratic and violent behaviour, which has lead to an increase in hospital admissions.
  • Methamphetamine usually comes in the form of a crystalline white powder that is odorless, bitter-tasting and dissolves easily in water or alcohol.
  • Other colors of powder have been observed, including brown, yellow-gray, orange and even pink. It can also be compressed into pill form.
  • It can be snorted, smoked or injected.
  • An Australian Crime Commission report says the average street price per gram of methamphetamine in China is $80, whereas in Australia it is $500.

 

 

meth use
The aging effects of Meth over the years.

 

Two Months of Meth Use
Two Months of Meth Use

meth use 2

 

meth use 3

Before and After - 18 Months of Meth Use
Before and After – 18 Months of Meth Use

About Author

Kate Davies

Senior Journalist & Features Editor. As the modern-day media hunter-gatherer, Journalist Kate Davies is harnessing 10 years in the media to write...Read More engaging and empowering articles for Stay At Home Mum. Her years of experience working in the media both locally and nationally have given her a unique viewpoint and understanding of this dynamic industry. Hailing from a small town in Tasmania and spending many years travelling the world, Kate now calls the Sunshine Coast home alongside her husband and one-year-old son. Read Less

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