Peter Khalil: I recently met with representatives from the Australian Anti Ice Campaign to discuss the scourge of the drug ice and its impact on the lives of so many people—not just on those who use it but on relatives and people who work in health and emergency services. We discussed AAIC’s plan to help tackle this issue. We do have a unique problem in Australia. The Final report of the National Ice Taskforce found that Australians use more methamphetamine than almost any other country: there are some 200,000 Australians, and the numbers are growing. It’s getting worse, as Australian teenagers are growing up in an environment where the drug is easily accessible. It impacts our police and ambulance services, hospitals, detox and rehab facilities and mental health services.
The drug has a devastating and lasting impact on young people. Recent findings by the University of South Australia found that brainwave patterns in adolescents who had used the drug five or six times were similar to those who had early onset of Parkinson’s disease. This drug is stealing, killing and destroying our youth. That’s why the AAIC wants to launch a national ice strategy designed to complement existing drug and mental health initiatives and programs across Australia. The organisation plans to establish teams of paid employees and education workshop presenters in each state and territory to implement these initiatives. With this knowledge, our children, when asked if they want to try ice, can say, ‘No, not even once.’