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Almost one in 10 Australians has tried meth

Discussion in 'Methamphetamine' started by Thirdedge, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. Thirdedge

    Thirdedge Gold Member

    Reputation Points:
    Oct 25, 2005
    from earth
    Exposed: the new illicit drug scourge

    Annabel Stafford, Canberra
    January 30, 2007

    Almost one in 10 Australians has tried methamphetamines at least once, according to a scorching report to the Federal Government that recommends a host of policies to combat the scourge.

    In what could be seen as confirmation of fears that Australia faces a methamphetamines crisis, a report by the Australian National Council on Drugs, advisers to the Government on illicit drugs, says there has been a "significant upsurge" in problems related to use of methamphetamine drugs since the late 1990s.

    It singles out crystal methamphetamine, or "ice", as a particular worry.

    Methamphetamines, such as speed and ice, are psycho-stimulants which, according to the Australian Drug Foundation, speed up the heart and breathing while giving users more energy and a feeling of alertness.

    An increasing number of media reports have focused on crime and violent behaviour by people high on "ice".

    The report cites estimates that about 73,000 Australians are dependent on methamphetamines — almost double the number of those dependent on heroin. About half a million Australians have used methamphetamines in the past year.

    "It is difficult to anticipate the impact of methamphetamine use on Australia, although key concerns include elevated levels of psychosis, increases in homicide and other serious violent crimes, and the risk of HIV transmission," the paper says.

    It calls for specific measures to deal with the unique problems associated with methamphetamine use, such as psychosis and an increase likelihood of risk-taking in sexual behaviour. The proposals include:

    ■ Treatment for long-term users.

    ■ Guidelines on how to deal with those experiencing psychosis.

    ■ Measures to try to limit supply through working with regional authorities to crack down on supply of precursors.

    ■ Education campaigns to stop people using, and to limit risk-taking behaviour that could lead to secondary problems such as HIV or chlamydia.

    The report says about half of users say they are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour while they are high on methamphetamines.

    And the report says there is a particular concern about the higher levels of sexual risk-taking among those who inject methamphetamine "and this provides an avenue for secondary HIV transmission".

    The report recommends:

    ■ Specific HIV prevention strategies for injecting methamphetamine users to target both risky drug taking behaviour and risky sexual behaviour.

    ■ More guidelines setting out how to treat methamphetamine-related psychosis and which should consider "pharmacological and behavioural strategies to reduce the incidence and severity of psychotic symptoms".

    ■ Using existing police and court diversion programs, as well as driver drug testing, to target users and direct them into treatment programs.

    ■ More research into whether and in what ways methamphetamine use increases violent crime.

    ■ School-based prevention programs that are not fear campaigns, but rather concentrate on teaching young people resilience and other social skills they need to refuse drugs.

    ■ Guidelines for how to prescribe medication to people with methamphetamine-related psychiatric conditions.

    Source: http://www.theage.com.au/news/natio...it-drug-scourge/2007/01/29/1169919278504.html