SYDNEY, March 10 (Xinhua) — Up to 150,000 emergency visits to Australian hospitals in the last year were attributed to users of the dangerous drug methamphetamine, a study has found.
As the abuse of the drug, commonly known as ice, in the state of Victoria continues to spiral out of control, research has revealed telling figures of the pressure placed on hospitals and medical facilities by ice users.
The ice has had devastating impacts on many individuals and communities across the country, particularly in the state of Victoria where local governments have implemented many campaigns, Geelong’s “Our Town’s ICE Fight” among the most notable.
A study by the Monash University in Victoria has found the growing crisis is placing large pressure on staff and services at emergency and psychiatric hospitals, increasing costs in the process.
“Methamphetamine use adds between 29,700 and 151,800 additional emergency department visits in one year,” the report says.
Due to the drug users’ reckless approach to their health care, researchers believe the growth in these visits has coincided with fewer visits to GPs and counselors due to the immediate and psychedelic impacts the drug can have.
The study, in conjunction with the University of New South Wales, Curtin University in Western Australia and the University of Newcastle, highlights the need to consider how services are provided and spread to deal with future incidents.
With many cases of violent and aggressive patients attacking hospital staff, and a struggle to prevent countless users re-lapsing, researches have advised continuous rehab and larger out-patient support systems are necessary to avoid further costly acute emergency medical events.