The Ice Epidemic

Recently, the fight against drugs and in particular the epidemic of ‘ice’ or ‘crystal meth’ has been highlighted throughout Australia. It has captured headlines and opinion article inches.

Anyone who wasn’t already aware of the sickening effects of this drug has now seen the ugliness of a product that is manufactured with the sole intention of destroying lives to make money.

Once upon a time and even until recently, people felt the epidemic was something isolated to capital cities. But make no mistake: we are now in a battle to protect our nation.

No town or community is immune from the devastation that comes with the arrival of this toxic drug. A modern day plague is sweeping across our country and stealing the lives of anyone who falls in its path.

For sometime now through social media we have seen photographic documentation of the lives of people using this drug. How it destroys the internal health of a person’s body and how that degradation is just as obvious on their exterior.

It is not just low socio-economic areas under attack. This is a no prejudice drug. If you cross its path, ice is destined to ruin your and your family’s lives.

Produced in garages and houses in neighborhoods across the country. The recipe is a low cost mix of pseudoephedrine and what ever the ‘cook’ can find; window cleaner, fly spray and battery fluid to name a few. Ingredients no sane person would want in their body.

Yet when presented in a small bag and purchased from someone pedaling profits into the hands of criminal organisations that have no care for human life, people are will to chase the illusion of euphoria. They will either inject this horrible substance into their bloodstream or smoke it through some sort of pipe.

Once this addiction grabs hold it is relentless in the destruction it causes. It’s like swallowing a cyclone. Users lose their ability to feel empathy and fall into a steep spiral towards the pits of hell. Anyone close to an addict will be left helpless, hopeless as the life is sucked from him or her.

Why do I find myself caring about this so much?

I have seen the lives of friends and family stolen by addiction to ice. I have seen the devastation on children’s faces as they see mum or dad institutionalised by drug induced psychosis.  I have seen the violence paired with a no remorse attitude.

I have buried my own family members.  

The spiraling decline of losing the faux euphoric state of high leads to experiencing the lowest of lows, which most rational people can see a way out of. But to an addict, using the drug again and again or taking their own life are the only options they think they have.

Sisters, cousins and friends. I’ve had to watch on and love them from a distance as ice sucked away their soul.

This devastating drug – much like those that produce it – preys on vulnerability. It thrives on desperation and hopelessness.

In some communities the evidence of the epidemic is in your face, while in other places it seems able to hide from the light of day. It can lurk in the shadows, allowing people to deny its existence.

This denial opens the door for predators dealing this deadly human poison to enter further into each community.

Aboriginal communities are still fighting to break away from the poverty and disparity that the White Australia Policy left us with.

Ice is stealing lives, it is killing our people, it is driving depression and mental health issues and it is leaving babies permanently damaged before they even exit the womb. It is an absolute crisis.

It removes an ability to make sound judgment, jeopardising the lives of our children. It is tearing our families apart; something our culture relies on.

I believe this drug could be responsible for complete cultural annihilation.

As a nation, as people, we must rally against this plague of poison and do whatever possible to protect those who are most vulnerable.

While it is not just remote Indigenous people who have been entrapped by welfare, these families are some of our most vulnerable.

Creating Parity recommends all vulnerable welfare recipients be placed on a Healthy Welfare Card, which can be spent at any EFTPOS outlet but cannot be used as cash. This would ensure welfare payments are put towards families and children and not into lining the pockets of drug dealers.

An ice high will take your life and cripple everything in its path. Those fortunate enough not to have experienced the epidemic of ice first hand should join the chorus of voices banding together to remove it. Everyone should be creating waves within their communities.

This is a human creation, its architecture and purpose is profit and death. It can and must be defeated.

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