Ice is one of the most destructive drugs in the world. Also known as crystal meth, speed, and glass, ice is a crystalline form of methamphetamine—a powerful stimulant drug.
Abusing this drug has powerful effects on physical, mental, and behavioral attributes, quickly turning from recreational use into a dangerous addiction that is incredibly difficult to overcome. Meth is often manufactured in one of three forms: ice, base, and speed. Ice is the most pure form of meth, making it the most dangerous. Although in crystalline form it may appear unadulterated, ice can still be cut with other substances and chemicals, making the side effects potentially more dangerous.
Ice can be consumed in a variety of ways, but it is most commonly smoked, which also happens to be its most addictive form of use. The high purity of ice can make the side effects of use worse than if an individual used base or speed. This generally leads to an increased risk of addiction. While many may use the drug for its perceived positive effects, the negative impact of ice abuse can cause an individual’s life to quickly spiral out of control.
Effects of Ice Use
Ice appears to have “positive” side effects from the outside. Increased confidence, elevated mood, and increased energy are all desirable effects; however, when ice is used, the brain produces an adrenaline-like effect, making the heart beat faster and causing the pupils to dilate. It usually takes one to two days before Ice completely leaves the body. Over time, as an individual continues to use ice, receptors in the brain are destroyed, causing an individual to no longer feel “normal” without the drug in their system. Withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant, leading many to continue using ice just to avoid those symptoms.
Symptoms of meth use include:
- Dry mouth
- Panic Attacks
- Jaw clenching
Ice abuse is also associated with violence. Those who use ice are notoriously more likely to respond aggressively in situations where they feel they are threatened. This makes ice abuse as dangerous to those around the user as it is to the person under the influence.
When an individual is coming down from a meth high, they may experience exhaustion, anxiety, depression, irritability, decreased appetite, and an increased need for sleep. Use of meth also increases an individual’s risk for a variety of health problems in addition to damaging relationships and overall quality of life. Some of these issues include:
- Lung problems
- Kidney problems
- Heart problems
- Dental problems, including cracked teeth, cavities, and gum disease
- Bacterial infections, abscesses, and vein problems in cases of injection
- Increased likelihood of unprotected sex, leading to sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancy
- Financial issues
- Loss of meaningful relationships with friends and family
- Loss of employment
- Increased risk for trouble with the law
The Problem with Ice in Australia
Across the globe, meth use has skyrocketed from 22 percent to 50 percent between the 2010 and 2013. In Australia alone, users of meth have shifted their preference to ice over other types of methamphetamine. Between the years 2007 and 2010, ice use has nearly doubled and the percentage of people using meth weekly has grown from 9.3 to 15.5.
Meth abuse has become an epidemic in rural Australia. With a booming underground methamphetamine industry, small, close-knit communities are being ravaged by the effects of ice abuse. Local law enforcement is rendered almost powerless against it as it continues to spread like wildfire throughout the area. Children as young as 14 years old struggle with meth addiction, and without adequate resources, many remain untreated. With the assistance of meth-addicted youth, the drug industry is able to smuggle meth out of highly-populated cities into rural areas.
With this increase has come a growing necessity for meth treatment. One treatment facility alone has seen admittance for meth-related treatment grow to nearly 80 percent, but resource scarcity is still a problem for many. This is especially true in rural areas where users find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse with little access to treatment.
It is critical for ice users to seek medical treatment when trying to overcome addiction. Ice addiction takes control of a person’s mental and physical health, and a recovery program has resources available to help an individual regain control of their life. One of the most critical steps in treatment of ice addiction is the process of detox and withdrawal. With the assistance of a treatment program, an individual can safely and comfortably withdraw from ice and develop a clear mind to focus on recovery.
The road to recovery from meth addiction can be long and difficult at times, but with individualized care and proper treatment, it is possible to live a happy sober life free from the effects of meth.