Comments Off on Australia’s deadly ICE age: New research reveals Methamphetamine use has tripled in just five years
  • More than half of the estimated 268,000 users of ‘ice’ are drug dependent
  • 25-35 year olds have the highest rates of methamphetamine use
  • Regular users had the drug at least once a month in the last year
  • The rate of dependent use had continued to increase since 2009-2010

Australia’s disastrous methamphetamine epidemic seems to be worsening after research revealed the drug’s user statistics tripled in the last five years.

More than half of the estimated 268,000 regular users of ice are dependent on the drug, says the first research quantifying the problem in Australia.

The estimates suggest the numbers have substantially risen during the past five years, while recent increases were most marked among those aged 15-34.

Overall the highest rates of methamphetamine use have consistently been among 25 to 35-year-olds.

‘There is a need for both more health services and better engagement with and retention of clients in treatment services,’ say the authors of the research published online by the Medical Journal of Australia.

Using sources including drug treatment and hospitalization data, they estimated the number of regular and dependent ice users for each year from 2002 to 2014 and the numbers by age group.

Regular users had the drug at least once a month in the last year, while those with ‘impaired control’ of their use and who continued despite health and other adverse consequences were deemed to be dependent.

They estimated that in 2013-14 there were 268,000 regular users, aged between 15 and 54, with 160,000 of them being dependent.

‘This equates to population rates of 2.09 per cent for regular and 1.24 per cent for dependent use,’ said lead researcher Professor Louisa Degenhardt from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.

The rate of dependent use had continued to increase since 2009-10, when the rate was estimated to be .74 per cent, and was higher than the previous peak of 1.22 per cent in 2006-07.



  • Ice is a stimulant, a methamphetamine that speeds up the messages between the brain and the body.
  • It usually looks like small chunky clear crystals, hence the name ice. It can also come as white or brownish powder.
  • It is usually smoked or injected, with effects felt in seconds. The effects are slower when swallowed or snorted and can last about 6 hours.
  • Ice causes dopamine levels in the brain to shoot from 100 to around 1,250 units, about 12 times as much of a release of dopamine as you get from food and sex
  • When the drug wears off, users experience a debilitating depression and urge to get more of the drug.
  • Persistent use can change brain chemistry, destroying the brain’s pleasure centers
  • Long term use can cause severe impairment in memory, judgment and motor coordination
  • Changes in brain chemistry can lead to violent behaviour, anxiety and wakefulness
  • it also causes psychotic behaviour, such as paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. Many users report feeling insects crawling beneath their skin.



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