The number of people in New South Wales dependent on methamphetamine, such as speed far exceeds dependent heroin users.
The reason for this is that the number of dependent speed users has increased.
This increase in speed dependency has placed pressure on drug and health services as well as emergency workers.
A recent study by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre has found that the use of speed in Australia is at an all time high with one in ten people having reported as having taken the drug.
Most of the users inject speed so the transmission of blood borne disease such as Hepatitis C and HIV is a strong risk.
Prolonged use of speed causes psychosis and violence so that emergency and health workers are most at risk.
Another form of methamphetamine called ice is also increasing in use in Australia with increasing incidents of psychosis and violence.
The research found that in New South Wales alone there were 19000 regular heroin users and 36900 regular methamphetamine users.
The 2004 National Drug Strategy household survey found that 3.2 per cent of people had used methamphetamine in the last year compared to 1.4 per cent who had used heroin.
(Source: Sydney Morning Herald 28 July 2005 Page 3)
Speed and Ice use in Australia is increasing because there are not enough efforts to reduce the number of users.
Also worrying is the increasing violence our health and emergency workers are facing as they deal with this increased use.