Ice usage on the rise

Crystal meth usage is on the rise. 	Photo: FDC
Crystal meth usage is on the rise. Photo: FDC

THE Ice Age has hit the Highlands.

The rise of ice, or crystal meth, as a problem drug has extended beyond crime rates.

For the first time ice is the main reason cited for people going to Triple Care Farm at Robertson for treatment.

Previously, cannabis had been the most common substance for which young people sought treatment.

Triple Care Farm is a residential program for young people experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness and acute behavioural problems, which has operated in the Southern Highlands since 1989.

Program manager of Mission Australia, Triple Care Farm, Gabriella Holmes said while methamphetamine use had remained stable, what had changed was the way it was used.

"It's gone from the powder form to ice, which is the most dangerous and potent form of methamphetamine," she said.

"The impact is more dangerous and violent.

"One of the frightening things is that those young people who are using ice are 80 per cent more likely to commit suicide."

Ms Holmes said there had been a dramatic increase in psychotic illnesses, which was thought to be a result of using ice.

"This is a very, very dangerous substance to use," she said.

"The scary thing is that it's cheap and available."

In 2014, 24 per cent of young people who went to Triple Care Farm reported daily or almost daily use of some form of methamphetamine and 24 per cent reported weekly or fortnightly use.

Current research released by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) reported that NSW, Victoria and the ACT have the largest numbers of ice users.

This story Ice usage on the rise first appeared on Southern Highland News.