Ice use on the rise, more people seeking treatment

THE use, treatment and availability of ice have increased, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report, Trends in methylamphetamine availability, use and treatment 2003-04 to 2013-14, shows the number of users opting for ice over other forms of amphetamine has jumped from 26% in 2007, to 43% in 2013.

Ice is the crystal form of methylamphetamine, and is most commonly smoked, but can also be injected, snorted or swallowed.

Despite the rise, the number of people seeking treatment for smoking amphetamines has increased markedly, from 3.4% in 2003-04 to 41% in 2013-14.

Over the same period, the proportion of clients who inject amphetamines has decreased from 79% to 44%.

Both users and clients receiving treatment are more likely to be male, and the largest age group overall was between 20 and 29.

Higher proportions of Indigenous Australians are now using meth/amphetamines than other Australians, 3.1% compared with 2%.

AIHW spokesman Geoff Neideck said law enforcement data for amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) showed a rapid increase in production and supply over recent years.

"For example, the identification of ATS at the Australian border increased by 86% between 2011-12 and 2012-13, and a further 18% in 2013-14," Mr Neideck said.

"In 2013, around 1.3 million people, 7% of Australian, had used meth/amphetamine in their lifetime, and 2.1% had used them recently.

"This is compared to in 2004, when recent users comprised 3.2% of Australians."

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