Ice use is on the rise especially among young people and more than half of users are dependent, experts claim.
Reports claim that almost 270,000 Australians aged between 15 and 54 years are regular users of
methamphetamine, and more than half are dependent on the drug, according to research that comprises the first quantification of the size of this population published online by the Medical Journal of Australia.
“The increased number of problem methamphetamine users indicates a need to expand services to redress the health problems associated with regular methamphetamine use.”
It is estimated there are regular and dependent users from 2002-03 to 2013-14 by age group (15–24, 25–34, 35–44 and 45–54 years, say researchers from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center, University of NSW.
Researchers led by Professor Louisa Degenhardt found that in 2013–14 there were 268 000 regular methamphetamine users and 160 000 dependent users aged 15–54 years in Australia.
“This equates to population rates of 2.09% for regular and 1.24% for dependent use,” Professor Degenhardt and colleagues write.
“The rate of dependent use had increased since 2009–10 (when the rate was estimated to be 0.74%), and was higher than the previous peak (1.22% in 2006–07).
“The highest rates of use were consistently among those aged 25–34 years. In 2012–13, the
estimated rate of methamphetamine dependence in this age group was 1.50%.
“It is also important to note the recent increase in estimated dependent use among those aged 15–24 years: in 2012–13, the rate was estimated to be 1.14%.”