By April Murphy
Crystal methamphetamine addicts can now receive further help thanks to boosted efforts from Queensland Health. The “Ice Help Campaign” website is a resource that can be used by methamphetamine (also known as ice) addicts, their families and friends.
The website features a comprehensive list of support services available, treatment and recovery information, along with the addition of video testimonials featuring people who are on their recovery journey as well as the loved ones who support them.
Ice use has been increasing the burden in Queensland, including on emergency services, community services, the health system, and its staff.
Executive Director of the Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch at Queensland Health, Associate Professor John Allan, said it happens despite considerable and ongoing efforts by Government agencies, services, families, communities and individuals themselves.
“We know ice can be a difficult drug to stop. And we know there are many families who want to support their loved ones to make a positive change,” said Professor Allan.
The director stated that it’s why Queensland Health launched the Ice Help Campaign. It doesn’t matter who you are; if you’re someone who wants information, support or treatment or if you’re a family member or friend, they are here to tell you recovery from ice is possible.
In Queensland, the rate of hospital admissions for methamphetamine use has increased by 35%, from 4,425 in 2017-2018 to 6,813 in 2019-2020. However, positively, the rate of community treatment for methamphetamine use has increased by 19%, from 5,754 in 2017-2018 to 6,825 in 2019-2020.
Director at Queensland Health’s ADIS, 24/7 Alcohol and Drug Information Service, Dr Hollie Wilson, said it was helpful for people to know how to support a loved one experiencing methamphetamine use and the treatment services on offer for those seeking help with their recovery.
“We don’t just receive calls from people using methamphetamine. We get calls from parents worried about their children, partners worried about their significant other. It can affect more than just the individual,” says Dr Hollie.
Dr Hollie informed the media that fear, shame, and stigma are what stop people from seeking help in many cases.
37-year-old Lawry Rogers said he thought he was in control of his life while using ice, but twelve months into his recovery, he started to get back what ice took from him.
“Ice can affect anyone. I had a great childhood and have an extremely loving family. I was never raised around drugs or violence, but I started using ice after a few traumatic experiences at the age of twenty-five,” says Dave.
“I had a good career, a loving family with two children and ice ruined my life. It stripped me of who I was. I’m now starting to get those relationships back to where they used to be. And I couldn’t be happier.”
Lea-Anne Williams said she had no idea her husband experienced problems with ice for almost five years until he opened up to her.
“I think people are afraid their loved ones will leave them if they found out. I think there’s a lot of shame and stigma, but they’re just normal.”