USING ice has been likened to a hurricane — it arrives with terrifying speed and leaves a trail of misery.
A community forum attended by about 13 people on Monday night heard the illicit drug destroys a user’s physical and mental health — some digging into their skin with their fingernails.
Western Region Drug and Alcohol (WRAD) centre director Geoff Soma said a gram of ice could cost $500 and a user could get 10 “hits” from a gram.
“I don’t know why, after everything I’ve been through in this field, but this is one of those really sad drugs,” Mr Soma said.
“It’s like a hurricane: it comes on people really quickly and leaves all this destruction.” He said it can be swallowed, injected, snorted or smoked through a pipe.
The speed of its effects varied on the way it was administered.
“If it is injected the effects happen immediately,” he said.
“With other ways it’s taken it can take up to 30 minutes to feel the effects.
“It’s highly addictive. It can take much longer to become addicted to heroin.
“Some people report using for only a month before it’s difficult to stop using. Some are using a gram a day.”
The community forum followed a warning by Warrnambool police that ice use was on the rise and could get a grip on the south-west if the community did not become more aware and proactive.
Mr Soma said users varied from addicts to occasional or the so-called “party users”.
“Party users is a term which I hate,” he said.
“These people are able to continue to function without a lot of people knowing.
“The concerns are it’s dangerous. You don’t know what you’re getting.”
Mr Soma said people who used ice — as with speed — did not eat or sleep for long periods of time. The main danger to metal health is psychosis.
“Their mental state is very vulnerable,” he said.
“There is a propensity to violence. The issue for police is if someone is uncontrollable.
“Males who are quite aggressive is an issue for police to restrain. People often feel bullet-proof. They’ll engage in burglaries to get more substances.
“Those using generally have poor health, they’re not sleeping or eating. It destroys teeth.
“It’s awful to see the digging, people actually digging into their body.”
Mr Soma said methamphetamine came as a white powder and in the form of shards.
It is often manufactured in very dirty laboratories and the chemicals used varied widely.
He said like all addictions it is difficult to treat, but users needed to be brought back to better physical health before treatment could begin.
“Always give them hope,” he said.
n WRAD can be contacted on 1300 009 723