The real scourge to society is in your cupboard 37



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In a recent email to Liberal Party subscribers, Tony Abbott said, “Ice is the worst drug scourge Australia has faced. It is far more potent, far more dangerous, and far more addictive than any other illegal drug.”

The Prime Minister went on to announce funding for the Australian Crime Commission to tackle ice, presumably based on his belief it is the “worst drug scourge” of all time. But is this really the case?

Nicole Lee, Associate Professor at the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, at Flinders University set out to examine this “fact” and published her findings on The Conversation.

She explains that ice is the crystal form of methamphetamine – other forms are speed (a powder) and “base”, a paste. Ice is typically four times stronger than speed.

The first thing Professor Lee points out is that ice is not the most widely used illicit drug in Australia. While 2.1 per cent of the population reported using ice in the last year, 10 per cent have used cannabis, around 5 per cent have used pharmaceuticals recreationally, and half that have used ecstasy. Cocaine use is on par with ice.

Another fact to note is that methamphetamine use has not increased over the past decade.

“However, harms have increased substantially among people already using,” says Professor Lee.

This could have something to do with the fact that more methamphetamine users are currently choosing ice over speed, and with more frequency.

In terms of harm, heroin and other opioids still accounts for more deaths and hospital visits than ice, although fewer people use them. Professor Lee says, “Methamphetamine, including “ice”, has the second-highest death rate among illegal drugs.”

She explains that much of the harm caused by illicit drugs comes from the fact they are illegal. “Methamphetamine is manufactured using different methods and ingredients and vary widely in purity and potency depending how it is made and who makes it.”

Although the prime minister’s claim is based on illegal drugs, Professor Lee is compelled to draw parallels with the one drug that does more harm than any other in Australia: alcohol.

“Alcohol is still the major drug-related reason for ambulance call-outs and still results in the most deaths and illnesses every year compared to other drugs, “ she writes.

“While we certainly need to address the harms associated with methamphetamine use, we should keep in mind that our most widely used drug – alcohol – still results in more harms to individuals and the community, and other illicit drugs are also associated with more harms,” says Professor Lee.

Do you agree with Tony Abbott that ice is the “worst drug scourge” Australia has faced, or do you think he is missing the bigger issue?


Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. It used to be said that an alcoholic is someone who drinks more than their doctor.
    No doubt ice has worse effects on those who use it – but the use of alcohol is more widespread and socially acceptable therefore has the potential to do more harm.
    But what is the answer?

  2. Yes no one wants to discuss alcohol it ruins lives and families but that’s okay it’s legal

    3 REPLY
    • I think you will find that most people going to jail now is because of the concoction of things that that they take not just alcohol stealing and robing isn’t to get a drink it’s to get drugs don’t know to many young people under 40 these days that haven’t had a bad time with drugs a lot got off them but way to many willing to give it a go and get stuck on it it turning the young peoples lived into a huge mess stop bringing alcohol into it every time someone wants to try address the drug problem which hits every family at least once if you haven’t had one in your family then think yourself very lucky people the world is rife with people willing to make their millions from illegal drugs

    • I disagree I know plenty of young people who don’t take drugs I also know first hand what alcohol can do to family’s because it’s legal it’s overlooked

  3. Alcohol is an absolute scourge on society, no doubt about it when you see the news bulletins of violence on our streets every night and killings becoming so rife through uncontrolled anger or revenge for a so-called slight.
    I was a court reporter for many years and saw the terrible effects of this every day over and over.
    But when it comes to Ice, I am astounded at the amount of people who are still trying this when they clearly know the dangers involved and which are immediate. It’s all over the news with shocking photos of what inevitably happens and yet they still want to try it – and then become immediately addicted.
    With the amount of entertainment out there so readily available in every form imaginable, you’d think they wouldn’t need anything more to give them a ‘high’, and yet they still do.
    As much as I hate to sound like a broken record, when we were younger, your job, responsibilities to our spouse and kids, along with plain hard work keeping our homes and gardens clean and tidy, occupied our time to make us sleep better at night, as well as not having the extra money to waste on all this rubbish. Too much time, too lazy to do things themselves but willing to paying cleaners and child carers to do their work, makes for boredom and experimentation for so many.
    The state of our world is starting to make me want to go back to the old days…

    3 REPLY
    • We must emphasise the necessity to make our children realise that RESPECT is more than saying please and thank you. It means do unto others as you would be done by. Until they are taught to respect others there is no chance!!!!!!

    • The world is a worse place these days …. Glad I’m a Baby Boomer respect was expected & still is part of my life …

    • The old days? In the late sixties when I went to work in London I had to run the gauntlet of all the druggies at Piccadilly Circus underground, where they used the station to sleep in….waiting their next dose. Drug users were all over the city. Not sure about in Australia, of course.
      As for alcohol, I believe it’s far more prevalent, as it seems to be accepted.. There is still the core of people who stop off for a drink on the way home from work.

  4. Alcohol is a regulated industry, so you know what you are getting. The responsibility in on you & how much you have. With ice, each time is a time bomb!! Both cause havok but with alcohol at least we have the measurements right. Very scary stuff ICE!!!!

    1 REPLY
  5. Yes, I do agree with Tony Abbott on this one. I watched a show on the ABC on methamphetamine users and what it is doing to people, including young users. I have seen how violent they get, how they pick at their skin until it bleeds, how their teeth are rotting because of their use of meth and it is getting out of control and becoming an epidemic. I was a juror on a case involving meth and heard a lot about it, enough to turn me off.

    2 REPLY
    • He really sucked you in! Do you also believe that we are over run by covert terror groups?! People who are already using needles to get their hit are the one’s taking up Ice. It’s use is increasing in them. Because it is cheaper than Heroin.

    • Robina, perhaps it would do you good to sit in on a court case. I don’t see heroin addicts scratching their skin until it bleeds. No, I don’t believe we are over-run with terrorist groups because we have very good surveillance keeping a watchful eye.

  6. I believe long gaol terms would be a deterent to the people who make these drugs & distribute them. Our laws are too lenient & a slap on the wrist does nothing. A bad childhood is no excuise. Make them pay for the heartbreak they cause.

  7. I like a glass of wine now and then, my hubby would go through a single case of beer in a year, we dont NEED to drink…however the NEED to drink or take drugs is in everyone and stronger in those who dont know what to do with their spare time, and way too many people have way too much spare time…I agree with Jeni Robinson and Amy Cocks responses.

  8. Ice is a scourge on society and more needs to be done to stop this from escalating. Alcohol is very much a problem also

  9. I believe people who are on Centrelink benefits should be drug tested just like they do in the mining industry, before they can get any benefits. That way they will be unable to buy amphetamines. I know you will say they will only do break and enters, but they do that already, and that it is an invasion of their privacy, but at least it will make it a bit harder for them.

    1 REPLY
    • Funny how it ain’t just the UNEMPLOYED or MINE WORKERS ARE DOING IT TODAY, THOU ! It affects all kinds & age groups, and those who are wanting something different to try….house wives & bosses are doing it too… I’ve many mates who are what I think are stupid who have more money than brains or interest in those around them, who care !

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