Drug cocktails multiply dangers of crystal meth

(AAP) Source: AAP

Drug dealers are mixing drugs into crystal methylamphetamine, or ice, to increase users' addictions while others are willingly ingesting several substances at once, the Australian Crime Commission says.

The numbers of Australians using crystal methylamphetamine or "ice" is increasing, as more Australians use several drugs at once, the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has revealed in a report released today.

Organised crime groups have moved into dealing several drugs as poly drug use (using more than one drug at a time) had increased among users, according to the report.

It also found that drug dealers are mixing other illicit drugs, like cocaine and heroin, with ice to make it more addictive.

Australian Drug Foundation national policy manager Geoff Munro said most people who overdosed used more than one drug, including prescription, alcohol and illicit drugs.

“Drug effects are always unpredictable because they’re the result of a person’s mood, the person’s health and what they expect the drug to do,” Mr Munro said.

"Taking a cocktail of drugs adds to the unpredictability."

He said even experienced drug users overdosed sometimes, due to the unpredictable nature of taking illicit drugs, which users do not know doses of.

“[Each] drug's effect is often multiplied, rather than added together,” he said.

"People on ice who binge drink can overdose from alcohol or mistakenly believe they are sober enough to drive."

“The [crystal] methylamphetamine maintains a person’s arousal, so they can feel very alert and awake, and the impact of the alcohol, which is a depressant, might be hidden from them,” Mr Munro said.

“They may feel like it is OK to drive a motor car. They may not realise they are well over the limit.”

He suggested a reason why cocaine might be mixed with ice, which was highlighted in the ACC's report, was the drugs were similar in their effects.

“They’re often used interchangeably,” he said.

Ice is growing in usage

The most recent National Drug Household Strategy Survey said ice use was becoming more popular among Australians.

The rate of Australians using methamphetamine (including ice, speed and other amphetamines not for medical purposes) had remained flat between the 2010 and 2013 surveys, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare said.

Among those users, fewer people were using powder substances like speed while ice use had doubled since the 2010 survey.

Methods of use among methamphetamine users

Year20102013
Power 51%29%
Crystal (ice)22%50%

Source: AIHW, National Drug Household Strategy Survey

 

The ACC report said the destructive effects of ice, which is highly addictive and easily available, had become more significant, including in rural and remote communities.

"The availability and addictive nature of methylamphetamine has created new demand in urban, rural and disadvantaged communities where its destructive impact is growing at a significant rate," the report said.

Source SBS

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch