Comments Off on Fears of a deepening crystal Methamphetamine crisis in the Hunter

A union official representing Hunter ambulance officers has given an insight into the so called ‘ice’ epidemic, describing violent, deranged users caught in the throes of addiction.

The Bureau of Crime Statistics says last year ice or crystal methamphetamine related crimes increased 18 per cent, prompting fears of a deepening crisis.5896028-3x2-340x227

Regional areas, such as Cessnock, were named as the worst affected.

The President of the Health Services Union in the Hunter Peter Rumball said he is alarmed at ice usage levels and the affects the drug has on users.

“The members have attended people, such as young adults, pulling out their own teeth because it makes them feel happy,” he said.

“Of people wandering the streets with a spoon and digging into abscesses where they believe things like spiders are in under their skin.”

Mr Rumball likens what he calls an ice crisis to the fight against crack cocaine in the United States in the 1980s.

He said many local officers have reported ice related horror stories.

“It is well and truly a crisis at this stage,” he said.

“What we’re experiencing now is very similar to what happened in the US with the introduction of crack cocaine.

“Now, if we continue to let it get to that extent, we are going to have major problems in Australia in relation to mental health issues, issues of crime, and issues with emergency services, such as ambulance and police.”

The Director of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Don Weatherburn, said ice has a disastrous impact.

“Oh it’s a pitiless drug,” he said.

“I mean, I guess there is nothing to be said for heroin, but one thing about it is that at least while people are under the influence of heroin they’re not inclined to be aggressive.

“Whereas, regular methamphetamine use or amphetamine users are on a steady road to irritation, paranoia, aggressive.

“These sorts of things we can do without.”

Mr Weatherburn says combating ice will not be easy.

“The big problem with amphetamine, compared with other drugs, is that it can be manufactured here, whereas drugs like cocaine or heroin usually are imported and so it is a lot harder to control than heroin used to be or cocaine is.”





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