‘Ice’ addiction increases by 20 per cent in Australia

Meet the elders fighting the ice scourge in Western SydneyIs there an ice ‘epidemic’ in Aboriginal communities?

A new report shows more drug users are switching to ice, driving a 20 per cent rise in amphetamine addiction.


The figures, released by leading Sydney drug rehabilitation centre Odyssey House, show 40 per cent of its clients are being treated for amphetamine addiction.

Odyssey House CEO James Pitts says a spike in ice usage is driving the trend.

“It has very positive reinforcing effects, so when people use it, it’s kind of like ‘hey this is what I’ve been looking for’,” he said.

The findings are consistent with national statistics.

According to the latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey, more users are switching from powder to ice.

Between 2010 and 2013, the use of powder dropped from 51 per cent to 29 per cent.

In the same period, the use of ice more than doubled from 22 per cent to 50 per cent.

Chart: AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013

Daniel, a 44-year-old former ice user, said it is easy to become addicted.

“There’s a euphoric sensation, but also you just feel more confident,” he said.

“You seem to be on top of your life a bit better, things are going good.

“But then it just gets so ingrained that you don’t notice that things are slipping…and it starts to go downhill from there.”

Daniel’s addiction saw him lose his job.

He was forced to suddenly stop using ice, and after three weeks he fell into psychosis.

He remembers thinking taxis were following his every move.

“I couldn’t really distinguish from being awake and asleep,” he said.

“I got really scared, especially at night time when the sun goes down.

“It’s like I was forever running, trying to find somewhere safe.”

Eight months into his rehabilitation at Odyssey House, the father-of-two feels like a new person.

“I never thought I’d live a day being straight or wanting to be straight,” he said.

“But I wake up in the morning going ‘this is really good’.

“It’s a really good feeling.”