Crystal meth is short for crystal methamphetamine. As crystal meth’s effect is highly concentrated, it is considered addictive from the first time of use. Consequently, it is reported as being one of the hardest drug addictions to treat and the fatality rate is high. Crystal meth is commonly known as ice or sometimes glass.
Over recent years, ice has periodically drawn strong media attention and public concern. The following re-caps and summarises views and concerns raised with PeakCare by Member agencies who were represented at Roundtable meetings held in various locations across the State in 2015 and 2016. The full range of observations, experiences and opinions told to us were reported in PeakCare’s Roundtables Report UPDATED 2015 and Roundtables Report 2016. Here’s a snapshot of what was said during our Roundtables:
Anecdotal evidence was given about increased access to and use of ice by children, young people, young parents, and parents generally and the “devastating impact on families and community functioning”.
Roundtable participants reported that the impact appears to vary for different cohorts and is “more prevalent in some geographic areas than others”.
Both family support and out-of-home care providers reported pressure being placed on their services to develop “new knowledge and skills” and/or obtain access to “specialist services” that are better equipped to work with children, young people and/or families where the use of ice is an issue of concern. The concern was expressed that these specialist services do not exist in many areas of the State or, where they do, are over-stretched and difficult to access in a timely manner.
An Eight Miles Plains roundtable participant whose organisation delivers services in north Queensland noted her observation that “unwritten rules about not using children to deal” in the sale of illegal substances are not being observed in relation to the distribution of ice and this is causing additional problems in some communities.
In 2016, some participants stated that their concerns about ice use noted in 2015 had not altered and they reported on their experience of extensive use of ice in particular geographic areas and/or by particular cohorts such as young parents during pregnancy.
Others stated anticipated increases in their services’ contact with people using ice had not occurred. “There is not a rise in people taking ice but there is a rise in people blaming ice”. Some participants thought that government attention to the issue had seen the “discussion die off”. Some described localised responses that had been initiated such as Police Officers conducting community education sessions for workers who, for example, felt unsafe going into homes.
Many participants expressed a view that there was often local area differences and fluctuations in the use of substances and the preferred use of some substances over others based on variations over time in the ease of access to, and the cost of, certain substances. Irrespective of the contrasting perceptions held about changes in the number of people using ice, most agreed that when ice is being used, there are significant challenges posed in providing an effective service response, including:
Some Roundtable participants stated that a significant increase in chroming in some areas of the State was of greater concern to them. They noted that, in addition to the health problems this created, chroming often led young people into a cycle of “offending, detention, release, and re-offending”. Some described local initiatives that had been undertaken with shop-keepers who agreed to remove substances from display stands and shelves which successfully reduced the number of children who were opportunistically shop-lifting and regularly ‘sniffing’ substances.
PeakCare is interested in adding to the conversations from 2015 and 2016 and hearing what you have to say in 2017 about ice and the impact this drug may be having on your families, communities and workplaces.
As reported on elsewhere within this week’s edition of eNews, PeakCare is setting up our ‘Ice Bank’ to collect, collate, disseminate and share knowledge already held about ice and promising service responses benefitting young people, parents and families whose lives have been impacted by this substance. I look forward to receiving your deposits into our Ice Bank and assisting you to draw on the interest that’s generated. Your deposits of case studies, descriptions of local initiatives, links to published articles and resource materials can be emailed to email@example.com. Our Ice Bank is open for business from Monday 20th February until cob Friday 10th March 2017.