Fighting against the meth monsters

Posted: 11th July 2012 by Doc in Uncategorized
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ON the front line at St Vincent’s Hospital, the doctors and nurses in the emergency department are regularly faced with six to 10 of them a week: the meth monsters.

Off their heads on as little as $50 worth of crystal methamphetamine, they have lost all ability to control themselves but are incredibly strong, violent and thrash and buck like animals.

meth smoking

A small amount of “ice” can lead to a rampage, which police have not ruled out being behind the fatal attack on Thomas Kelly.


Police and paramedics bring the addicts in, mainly from the streets of Kings Cross. St Vincent’s head of emergency services Gordian Fulde said that all the nurses and doctors could do was hold the patients down, with the help of security guards, and get tranquillisers into them.

“It’s horrible to watch,” Professor Fulde said.

Police investigating the savage, unprovoked and fatal bashing of country teenager Thomas Kelly on a crowded Kings Cross street on Saturday night have not ruled out that his attacker was on crystal meth or other drugs, drunk or mentally ill.

 Prof Fulde said crystal meth users were usually aged 25 to 35. Just months of using the drug caused serious mental health problems that showed up on brain scans as clear deterioration of the brain. It was no party drug, he said.

“It’s one of the most addictive drugs on the street at the moment,” he said.

It was on the streets of the Cross where a lot of this drug-taking happened, he said.

“These people who take crystal meth become dissociated from society,” he said. “They become homeless. They drift towards the Cross where the drugs are and where the drug support organisations are.”

Figures show amphetamine use is growing.

Local business chamber the Potts Point Partnership chairman Adrian Bartels said he suspected crystal meth was behind the perceived worsening violence in the Kings Cross area. “You can see when you are looking at what happens early in the morning that people are clearly not just on alcohol — they’re not drowsy,” Mr Bartels said.

“You can’t tell what people are on unless you actually go up to them and ask, but the really outlandish injuries and violence that you do see more and more of in Kings Cross are consistent with crystal meth usage.”

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures show the possession and use of amphetamines, including crystal meth, in the Sydney local government area — which covers the Cross — jumped 21.5 per cent in the 12 months to March this year.

The number of incidents of possessing or using amphetamines rose from 637 between April 2010 and March last year to 774 to March this year.

Prof Fulde said crystal meth use had peaked as a problem about five years ago but the number of users being brought into the hospital had never gone down. It has remained steady at six to 10 a week, most at weekends.

“It’s a powerful and very toxic and very nasty drug,” he said. “A small amount gives a big rush and it can last for many hours.

“We have had people going absolutely berserk and psychotic. They just totally lose all human functions of control of their behaviour and they are just animals brought in by the police because they have gone totally crazy and violent, even to themselves.

“They will bash themselves against a wall to hurt themselves. They scratch themselves because they see animals beneath their skin.”

Unlike drugs like heroin, there is no way to bring users down from a psychotic episode, which is why the only thing that works is tranquillisers.

Drug and alcohol treatment centre Odyssey House chief executive James Pitts said that the number of people entering the program who nominated amphetamines as their drug of choice had surged over the past year.

Last financial year the number of people being treated for amphetamine abuse leapt from less than 20 per cent of admissions to 30 per cent, outstripping the number of people treated for alcohol addiction for the first time, Mr Pitts said.

“I was a little surprised at the jump,” Mr Pitts said.



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