How ice began to ruin my life: former addict


Radio 8HA & SunFM
“When you first have a decent amount, you can feel your blood rushing, your heart races, you can feel your pulse, like a big adrenaline hit.
“You can do anything – if you want to build something you can go and do it because you feel energised, but then you start to die down from that. And that’s when people have more. And that goes on and on and on.”
This is how a recovering Alice Springs addict describes her introduction to the drug.
It was an addiction that led the 19 year old to quit two jobs and start dealing. But it’s a lifestyle that comes with many costs, she says.
“I’ve lost two houses … one of them got smashed apart by one of my exes, the other one got burnt to the ground. I’ve been in horrendous states, being up for nine days and trying to drive at the same time. It’s not good. You’re not coherent with anything. Guns, knives, I’ve seen it all.”
The young woman has lost contact with much of her family, but by finding the strength to move away she has a good chance at starting over again. However, with no substitute like methadone to help stabilise a withdrawl, it’s not been an easy road, she says.
“Your bones ache, you’ve got shivers, your sleeping patterns are out the window, your face feels numb because you’ve got headaches, sore eyes. Smoking Ice will pretty much ruin your whole nervous system. You can twitch. I still twitch to this day and I’ve been clean nearly 6 months.”
While we wait for the outcome of the Government’s inquiry, Alice Springs Detective Peter Malley is on the front line trying to deal with the situation day to day: “It’s not getting better at this stage, but we’re only a small community and I’m sure we can have a big impact in a short amount of time.”
Crystal Meth is on the rise, and authorities are waking up to the need to take action.
The Australian Crime Commission has taken a look at the issue. A report released this week found more than 60% of Australia’s highest risk is serious and organised crime is involved in the methylamphetamine market.
The Territory Government has also announced it will establish a parliamentary committee to investigate the prevalence and impacts of ice use here. It is expected to report back to Parliament by September.
In Alice Springs incidents resulting from Ice are becoming more visible. With three drugs busts in almost as many months, it’s clear that there’s little need for a supply chain from Adelaide or Darwin when you can cook up a drug in a home laboratory.
Det Malley says all sorts of police incidents stem from the use of ice: “We’ve seen home invasions, one in particular where somebody had a fractured skull, where the offenders were under the influence of ice and the offences were committed in relation to ice, there was a drug debt. So that was one locally that caught our eye.”
He was hesitant to suggest that the scene was rapidly on the rise in Alice Springs, but he did confirm ice is very much a focus for the police: “Asking the question are we seizing more ice, the answer’s yes because we’re doing a lot more work in that space. But the quantities have increased and we’re picking up intelligence that there are a lot more users around, and supply and demand will dictate that the drug dealers will jump onto that.”
You can listen to Andrea Johnston’s radio report on the rise of ice which was broadcast on 8HA by visiting the website at


  1. Massive resources are tied up in the drug “industry”, both legal and illegal.
    Policing, courts and prisons plus medical services. We must look around the world to see what works best if we want to prevent a downward spiral.
    I believe Portugal and Holland have been most successful so we would be wise to learn from their experience.


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