Australia’s ice epidemic: increasing rates of teenage usage


Ice fragments ready to be crushed down for use. Source: Wikipedia
Ice fragments ready to be crushed down for use. Source: Wikipedia

Methylamphetamine, more commonly known as ‘ice’ has become a growing concern within communities around Australia after a spike in teenagers seeking treatment for ice addiction.

The National Drug Household Survey has determined seven per cent of Australians over 14 have tried ice at least once in their life.

The survey has also shown an increase of ice usage, with the amount of ice users almost doubling between 2010 and 2013 with an expecting increase this year as well.

Teen Challenge QLD Executive Director, Joanne Hobbs said ice is becoming the preferred drug among young people.

“We have seen a rise in ice use among young people as ice is one of the cheaper drugs available compared to other drugs and is more readily available for purchase,” she said.

“There are a number of factors involved in why young people turn to ice, such as a traumatic experience, bullying, a combination of mental health conditions or a dysfunctional family, which can contribute to their decision to try it.

“Sometimes, it can just be due to some silly decision and you just need to take it once in a peer pressure situation to be addicted.”

ice users can commit random acts of violence. Source: Wikimedia
Ice users can commit random acts of violence. Source: Wikimedia

According to The National Drugs Campaign, some ice users can feel as if bugs are crawling under their skin and dig into their arms until they are pitted with sores.

Young ice users are also at risk of extreme weight loss, depression, heart problems, mental health issues, dental problems, restless sleep and a dependence on ice.

Dunlea Alcohol and Other Drug Youth Service at Youth Off The Streets Program Manager, Nadine Mills said ice can dramatically alter the lives of young people.

“Ice changes the way the young person physically looks and their motivation to make positive changes in their lives,” she said.

“We have seen a lot of young people who are using ice commit crimes in order to fund their drug habit, which has led to long prison sentences.

“Ice is proven to be one of the most addictive drugs, and you can really see the pain in the young people wanting to better their lives but they feel so trapped.”

This increased usage of ice is set to harm Queensland communities through increased crime and economic loss through expenditure on resources.

If you yourself have an issue with drug or alcohol abuse, please contact Family Drug Support on 1300 368 186.

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