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Salvos Struggling To Keep Up With Australia's Ice Epidemic

Addicts seeking help triples in 5 years

Salvos Struggling To Keep Up With Australia's Ice Epidemic Getty

The latest data from The Salvation Army shows an alarming increase in the number of people seeking treatment at their recovery centres for ice addictions.

Over the past 5 years, the percentage of users seeking help from the charity's rehab centres in Queensland, NSW, and the ACT has jumped from 16 per cent to a whopping 57 per cent, statistics show. Seeking help for ice addiction also overtook alcohol abuse, cannabis and heroin.

They're actually struggling to keep up with demand, some users having to wait between two and six weeks before they get the assistance they need.

“More and more people are reporting ice as their primary drug of use,” says Operations Manager of The Salvation Army’s Drug and Alcohol Services, Gerard Byrne.

“Many of our clients also have significant mental and physical health problems as a result of ice use. We estimate that the number of clients now reporting a mental health condition is anywhere between 50-70%. Ice is a powerful drug that has devastating consequences."

Mr Byrne says the problem will only get worse without further investment from state and federal governments to increase availability of treatment options.

“Ice is now readily available in towns and cities across Australia, which has caused an increase in usage. Its relatively cheap cost in comparison to other illicit substances has also fuelled demands."

“Governments need to place more resources into existing drug and alcohol services, which are bearing the burden of increased pressure on already stretched resources. This has created a situation that is tearing communities apart.”