THE tide of amphetamine addicts seeking help from The Salvation Army is swelling, with an alarming increase in the number of addicts accessing their services during the past 12 months.

The latest statistics from the organization reveal the proportion of Brisbane cases had increased by 40 per cent in the past year.

The number of users the charity was supporting at its Brisbane recovery services centres has grown from 14 per cent of their workload in 2010 to 24 per cent in 2014.

More amphetamine users are now seeking help from The Salvation Army than cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and gambling addicts combined.

The Salvation Army Recovery Services clinical director Gerard Byrne said there had been a plain shift towards highly dangerous and addictive drugs.



Former amphetamine addict, Simon Cahill, 34, from Queensland, entered the Salvation Army’s Dooralong Transformation Centre on the NSW Central Coast in August last year. He has since graduated and is on the road to recovery.     


“In the case of amphetamine type substances, this can be a major harm to the community as it is associated with violent behavior and mental health problems,” Mr Byrne said.

While alcohol continued to present the highest number of cases at the facilities, it dropped from 54 per cent of people in 2010 to 47 per cent in 2014.

Simon Cahill, who has been clean for 19 months, said the epidemic of crystal methamphetamine – or “ice” – has exacerbated in the past two years.

The 34-year-old was introduced to the drug at parties. But following a relationship break-up in 2011, he began using methamphetamines.

A corporate worker who had run businesses, Mr Cahill’s life plunged into addiction, relentlessly chasing his next hit.

He became hopelessly hooked on ice and willed himself to stop – but feared what would happen if he did.

He lost 25kg, wouldn’t answer calls from his parents, and turned to peddling drugs to feed his habit.

“I thought the drugs were keeping my life manageable – but (in reality) my life was unmanageable,” he said.

“It took over – slowly but it definitely took over my life. With drugs, I didn’t have to think about my emotions. You go to any lengths to get on.” He said the day that he was dragged away in handcuffs after a police raid on his home, he felt a sense of relief.

“I literally thank god it’s all over, and it can only get better from here,” he said.

Mr Cahill credits The Salvation Army’s Bridge Program with rebuilding his life.

“It has given me a whole new perspective on life and dealt with my issues,” he said.







  1. KC says:

    So positive. Thanks for sharing! It’s great that Australia has a resource for people who are looking to get clean. Is there something like this in the U.S.?