Ice (Crystal Methamphetamine)

About this Item
SubjectsDrug Abuse; Drugs: Illegal; Youth
SpeakersCansdell Mr Steve
BusinessPrivate Members Statements

Page: 78

    Mr STEVE CANSDELL (Clarence) [6.42 p.m.]: This afternoon I bring to the attention of the House a major problem facing youth in New South Wales, and probably throughout Australia. I refer to the methamphetamine or ice menace. Last week a lady came to see me about her daughter, who went missing for a weekend. When she was found, it was discovered that she and a friend had consumed ice with friends at a party and that the friend had been admitted to hospital. Over two weeks this woman's daughter experienced extreme psychotic behaviour, including screaming and laughing at her mother and lying on the ground in a foetal position and sobbing uncontrollably. A doctor who was consulted said that he was concerned that she was not the only young person he had seen in that condition in the past few months. Other young people in the area tell me that it is almost as easy for minors to get ice as it is to get alcohol. I have done some research about ice and I found an article that states:

    Methamphetamine, a.k.a. speed, crank or meth, is the fastest growing drug threat to America.

    The same is true in Australia. The article continues:

    It is inexpensive, easily made from readily obtainable chemicals and has a longer lasting effect than cocaine.

    Another article I read pointed out that the hit from cocaine lasts from six to 20 minutes. The ice hit lasts between two to 12 hours. It has serious effects and can cause psychotic behaviour and permanent brain damage. The article continues:

    Methamphetamine is highly addictive and can cause violent and psychotic behaviour … Side effects include convulsions, dangerously high body temperature, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke.

    Another article states:

    Methamphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant that can be injected, snorted, smoked, or ingested orally.

    Heroin may be a highly addictive drug, but users must inject it before they can get any effect. Ice can be simply drunk, taken in tablet form or snorted. The real danger is that kids can buy a lick of ice, which is a piece of aluminium foil with a smear of ice, for $5 and have a high for up to four hours. A former ice addict was interviewed for the local newspaper. The article states:

    I went two weeks, I went on it for 14 days without sleep, without stopping, without eating, without sleeping. Imagine what it does to your body.

    "You have no restraints. Whatever you think you could do, you do. If you think you could fly, you would most likely get to the top of a building and then jump."

    Getting off Ice was hard ... but staying off seems harder ...

    He suffers from anxiety attacks as a result and has been diagnosed as having schizophrenia.

    He takes prescription drugs like Valium and Xanax to calm his panic disorders and warned, an increasing number of methamphetamine addicts were being attracted to their calming effects.

    The person referred to in the article said that he is not hooked, but he feels a lot better when he is taking those drugs so he keeps taking them. He has simply transferred his addiction, but at least he is using legal drugs. A senior police detective told me a few days ago that the police need better search powers and easier access to warrants. At present the police must approach a magistrate to get a warrant. If the magistrate concerned takes a civil libertarian approach, the police cannot get a search warrant quickly without producing a great deal of evidence. He said that a senior detective should have the power to carry out a search. One that I have learnt from my research over the past couple of weeks is that we must educate young people that this is not a game, that they are playing with their lives and that taking ice could have a major impact on their future. That education program should be available in schools. We must also deal with the people who supply these drugs. We should treat them the same way we treat paedophiles: lock them up and put them on a dangerous persons list.