Comments Off on Methamphetamine ‘Ice’ problem top priority for federal drug panel

Rising alarm about abuse of the drug crystal methamphetamine or “ice” has prompted the Abbott government to order its chief drug advisers to make the problem their top priority.

Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash announced on Sunday that the government’s newly rebranded Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs had been tasked with tackling ice as its number one order of business.1418533346164

“Tackling the growing ice problem is a major priority for the government, and as a first step I will be asking our advisory council to look at this issue as their first work priority,” Senator Nash said.

The move follows growing public concerns about ice.

Usually smoked or snorted, it is metabolized more quickly by the body than other forms of the drug, and is generally regarded as more addictive. The drug produces feelings of euphoria but can subsequently induce psychosis and violent and erratic behavior.

Data released in October by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre found that while the incidence of methamphetamine use was generally stable, use of the crystal form had jumped from 22 per cent of the overall share in 2010 to 50 per cent in 2013.

“This is of significant concern,” Senator Nash said. “We are responding to community concerns and evidence on the ground that ice is causing widespread devastation and destruction, particularly affecting young people.

“It’s destroying families, children and communities across Australia. We want this to stop.”

The new council – which takes over from the former Australian National Council on Drugs – will be chaired by former Nationals MP Kay Hull and will include for the first time a dedicated specialist on indigenous drug and alcohol abuse, Professor Ted Wilkes.

Senator Nash said one focus would be developing an education campaign to tell Australians how addictive and damaging ice was.








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