Mark is a Criminal Lawyer practicing in the Northern Rivers of NSW. The area takes in Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Grafton and Maclean.
Recent research indicates that it runs second to marijuana as Australia’s most preferred drug. www.abc.net.au/news/story-streams/ice-epidemic/
Ice is an illicit substance. It is against the law to use, possess, manufacture or sell ice. If you are caught with a very small amount of ice for personal use and you had no previous convictions you would probably not go to jail. You might be looking at a short term of good behaviour. The court would probably recommend that you access some supports to make sure you stop using ice. This is a very good idea. https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/ice/
Ice is a stimulant drug. It makes you feel alert. It also does a lot more. Many people ask, “why would you take ice when you know it is so bad for you?” let me try to answer that question. I have been dealing with ice addicts for many years and I have had the opportunity to speak with many professionals involved in ice rehab and ice research. What I have discovered is very concerning for our community. As with most things we become addicted to there is usually an up side and a corresponding down side. Let’s take something that most of us do like getting out in the sun. The up side might include feeling warm, getting vitamin D, getting a healthy color and being out in nature. There could also be a corresponding downside like getting sunburnt and feeling pain or developing skin cancer. The same goes with drugs and ice is no exception so let’s have a look at the upside. https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/…/the-stages-of-the-meth-experience.html
Ice effects your brain. It causes a massive release of serotonin and dopamine into your brain. These are what are often referred to as the feel-good chemicals. We are naturally designed to produce and release these chemicals at the right time and in the right amounts. For example, we might be playing a game with our children in the warm sun and we feel good. We might be laughing and moving around enjoying ourselves. At these times our brain releases small amounts of feel good chemicals which our nerve endings detect and that makes us feel good. Now imagine multiplying that by a factor of 10,000 and you might be close to how ice makes you feel. By comparison, cocaine might be a multiple of 200. Taking ice can make you feel really good. There are often feelings of warmth, empathy, happiness, lack of inhibition, confidence, massive sex drive and the lack of any worry. Even so, we have all seen the damaging effects of ice so why would we be so stupid as to take it? Well the answer often lies not in stupidity but vulnerability.
Marginalized groups in our community can find themselves in very vulnerable situations when it comes to drugs. The area including Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Grafton and Maclean are not immune to such vulnerability. People who are unemployed for extended periods can often suffer side effects such as depression and despair. When presented with an opportunity to escape the depression and despair some people will gratefully accept. Unfortunately, when this comes in the for of ice it can be a devastating short-term fix, but who can blame a person who thinks they have very little to live for. Once started the course usually leads to contact with the Criminal Justice system and further despair. The huge downside.
As ice causes the massive release of feel good chemicals in the brain, the brain is unable to keep up the supply so becomes depleted. After only a few uses of ice the feel-good component disappears and is replaced by sleeplessness, mood swings, delirium and psychotic symptoms. Ice also destroys the nerve endings that detect the feel-good chemicals, so the user will be left in a state of depression while the brain heals. This takes between 12 and 18 months. Users will often complete a detox process of a week or two then go to rehab for a few months. Usually 6-9 months. There are rehabs in Coffs Harbour and the Grafton, Maclean and Woolgoolga areas. Unfortunately, individuals often experience continued depression when they get out of rehab and they usually relapse into ice use.
The most successful treatment for ice addiction is long term focused and well supported rehab. 12 to 18 months in a rehab facility to save the rest of your beautiful life is little to pay. Stay away from the ice and crime.