A recent study in the USA has found that the illicit drug ICE (methamphetamine) is highly costly to the community.
The study identified addiction costs, premature deaths, shortened lives, rehabilitation, crime, criminal justice, lost productivity, toxic chemical fires, child protection and loss of quality of life as costing the community with ICE use.
Hospital admissions for ICE use were as high as 59 per cent of some hospital emergency departments.
(Source: News-Medical.Net 6 February 2009).
ICE use in Australia is high like that of the U.S.A. so we can expect that the costs to our community would be likewise high.
No comparable study on the true costs of ICE use has been undertaken in Australia.
ICE is highly addictive and can be taken orally, injected, snorted or smoked.
ICE causes aggressive violence, paranoia, delusions and brain damage.
Australia needs an early intervention detoxification and rehabilitation system to stem the cost of ICE use.
Australia also needs an early intervention prevention program that deters the use of ICE before the costs are incurred.
Australian courts should be empowered to divert ICE users into supervised detoxification and rehabilitation to get them free of ICE use as a cost effective method of reducing the costs and freeing users of the harm.