Is there an ice epidemic in Australia

Usher, Kim, Clough, Alan, Woods, Cindy, and Robertson, Jan (2015) Is there an ice epidemic in Australia. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 24 (4). pp. 283-285.

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Abstract

[Extract] Since the mid-2000s 'ice' (crystal methamphetamine) has received significant attention by the Australian media who appear responsible for naming the 'ice' problem as an epidemic (Fife-Yeomans et al. 2006). Media reports related to 'ice' continue to occur regularly on television and in the press with emphasis on issues such as ease of access to the drug, reduced costs (Lee 2015), the impact on emergency services (Fulde & Forster 2015), and police services, particularly homicides, motor vehicle accidents and aggressive and violent crimes (Buttler 2014; Conifer & Greene 2015). Sensational headlines such as: 'crystal meth menace'; 'tide of evil'; 'deadly ice scourge' and 'the icy grip of creeping death', have contributed to alarming perceptions of the size of the problem. Earlier this year the Premier of the state of Victoria stated, based on the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, that there were 80 000 ice users in his jurisdiction. However, based on the same information, the total number of crystal methamphetamine users is said to be more likely closer to 40 000 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2015). The Prime Minister of Australia recently announced the formation of a task force to coordinate a national response to the 'drug epidemic way beyond anything we have seen before' (Conifer & Greene 2015). Given the potential seriousness of this problem (Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee 2014), to question whether the media and politicians, including our 'leader', are using the terms 'ice' and 'epidemic' in a precise manner would seem pedantic. However, the question needs to be addressed, beginning with the recognition that crystalline methamphetamine represents a much purer form of methamphetamine, with more severe consequences for both users and service providers (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014). The rapid spread of the use of the terms 'ice' warrants investigation.

Item ID: 40089
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
ISSN: 1447-0349
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2015 00:17
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 34%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111711 Health Information Systems (incl Surveillance) @ 33%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health @ 33%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920414 Substance Abuse @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 50%
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