Crystal Methamphetamine Addiction – Assessment and Management

Posted on August 13, 2018
Time to read: 7 minutes

Amphetamines come in many forms and have been used for decades recreationally and therapeutically. Methamphetamines are also available in a number of different forms, tablets (‘pills’), an oily paste (‘base’), powder and a crystalline form of methamphetamine hydrochloride salt (‘ice’, ‘shard’, ‘crystal’).

Serial surveys from the Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey show fairly steady recreational use methamphetamines, since 2004.

Thus, around 2% of the population (14 years and over) report the use of methamphetamines over the previous 12 months. In fact, the 2016 data suggest a slight decrease, to 1.4%, but here has been some conjecture about this more recent figure, with suggestions that stigma about ice use has led to decreased reporting.

Irrespective, such high-level data belie a number of complexities and worrying trends in terms of the type of methamphetamine being used. The most concerning has been the massive increase in the component of the overall methamphetamine use attributable to ice.

In the Australian National Drug Strategy Household, the proportion increased from 22% in 2010 to 50% in 2013. Fuelling this trend is more ready availability of highly pure crystal methamphetamine relatively cheaply.

It is also the case that ice available on the street is becoming purer: from around 10-20% purity to 60-70% in recent police seizures.

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