THE ICE AGE: Drug's use rising in Bathurst

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TINA, crystal meth, krank or tweak whatever you call it, illicit drug ice is beginning to have an effect on Bathurst.

A few times every week, local paramedics get called out to people who have overdosed and are running high on this illegal and highly addictive drug.

"People think they can run, jump, fly ... their perception is so different to reality," Ambulance Service of NSW Inspector Rhys Dive said.

“They have super-human strength and are difficult to restrain. We’re getting more than ever, at least a couple of times a week.”

Ice – or crystal methamphetamine – is often seen as a “city problem” and while it is not as prevalent in Bathurst, Inspector Dive said it was still a concern.

“We’ve had incidents where we’ve had to call police to restrain a person [they are trying to treat],” he said.

“If someone overdoses on heroin, we have a reversal drug. If someone is in the full effects of ice there is no reversal.”

Negative effects from ice can be as wide-ranging as aches, cravings and disturbed sleep through to injuries from risky behaviour, paranoia, seizures, aggression, psychosis and a loss of consciousness.

Chifley local area command crime manager detective inspector Luke Rankin said ice was “certainly an issue within our community”.

“They can display variances in behaviour. They can be placid or very violent or aggressive in a sort space of time,” he said.

“The potential to become addicted is great. Unfortunately ice is particularly harmful, I’d put it up there with heroin.

“We are seeing an increasing rate of detections of ice and more intelligence coming in of distribution here.”

However, Western NSW Local Area Health’s Melissa Romeo believes there is no increase in the number of ice users across western NSW but, rather, an increase in the drug’s potency.

The drug and alcohol consultation liaison clinical nurse consultant said emergency department’s across the region have seen an increase in ice use over the last 12 months as the “primary drug of concern”.

ICE FEARS: Western NSW Local Health District's Melissa Romeo says emergency departments across the region have seen an increase in ice use over the last 12 months. Photo: VANESSA DELANEY 102114romeo1

ICE FEARS: Western NSW Local Health District's Melissa Romeo says emergency departments across the region have seen an increase in ice use over the last 12 months. Photo: VANESSA DELANEY 102114romeo1

“It doesn’t mean that there’s more people using drugs but there has been an increase in potency ... the ice has increased in purity,” she said. “We’re seeing the associated harms when people are coming in suicidal or aggressive, or with family breakdowns or psychosis.”

Ms Romeo said health staff were witnessing more dependence on the drug and said that rather than using once a fortnight, addicts were buying quantities to use every few days.

* Call the Drug and Alcohol service Helpline 1300 887 000 for help.

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