Australia is facing its biggest drug epidemic since the heroin era of the 1990s. In fact, the ice epidemic is far, far worse because it is not just a problem that is contained within specific gang-filled suburbs but rather it is being infiltrated nation wide. Users of the drug are as young as eights years old, from a wide range of professions – both blue and while collar and can be found in both urban and rural areas.
What is triggering this epidemic? People are being lured into trying methampethamines by being offered free samples and the promise of a ‘superpower hero experience’. One town that knows all too well of the disastrous ramifications of ice hitting the streets is Moree where addicts are able to by a hit for as little as $15. Syringes are found in front yards despite the 11 disposable injection bins installed by the local council. More and more country kids are taking on the free sample offers to deal with boredom. Once they get their first taste of ‘euphoria’, they are often hooked.
Jay Bacik, the man behind the Heathy Harold program, said
“In a regional town in north western NSW, two children were seen by welfare officers. They were eight and ten and they were on ice — they got it from their brothers and sisters.” Evidence suggests that kids are deliberately being targets in rural areas and being told they will feel like Superman Three mums from Moree, who have all seen family members impacted by the drug, run an open-door support group for people affected by drugs and started a petition calling for a Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) program for Moree. It would allow defendants with drug problems to work towards rehabilitation as part of the bail process. Ms Cassells said the ice epidemic was a major issue for the 10,000 people in Moree: “You see very young children walking around Moree at night — children probably only four or five years old. “They are out at night walking around because mum and dad are on ice.’’
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the federal government would establish a taskforce to co-ordinate a national response to the ice epidemic amid concerns almost 200,000 people were using the drug every year.