Everything you need to know about Ice addiction in 2020. Ice: it’s been one of the most infamous and talked about drugs in Australia. The Australian Public and the media seem to have a special relationship with Crystal Methamphetamine.

This isn’t something that we have pulled out of the hat, research and facts back it up. Illicit Drug Reporting System 2019 shows that perceived availability was the highest for Crystal Methamphetamine from the findings. 95% of IDRS and 94% of EDRS users rated it ‘easy or very easy’ to obtain.

As a result, of all this attention, Ice and Crystal Methamphetamine addiction often gets misrepresented and misunderstood.

Because of this, we wanted to put together an “Everything You Need To Know About Ice Addiction” article. We will give you some stats, facts and an under-the-cover look at the Ice using culture. People that have been there and used Ice addictively.

What is Ice?

Ice or Crystal Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant that is part of the amphetamine drug family. Ice is a variant of methamphetamine and is one of the most potent varieties. The drug is usually colourless and odourless. When smoked a lot of users often say it smells like “cat piss”.

The Varieties 

According to Cracks In The Ice, Australia’s leading evidence-based online resource on Crystal Methamphetamine, there are three main variants of methamphetamine.

  • Ice: has translucent crystals. Crystal meth, meth and glass are known as shards sometimes. Ice has the highest potency out of the 3 main forms
  • Base: has a dampish, ‘gluggy’ substance. Colour varies from white to brown and is known as pure, point, wax, meth. Meth a high to medium potency out of the 3 main forms
  • Speed: is a white or off-white powder that is also known as goey, meth or wiz fizz. Speed has a low to medium potency out of the 3 main forms

The Culture (the anecdotal evidence from one user’s perspective) 

Ice Is recognised by most users. It is one of the two most addictive substances on the market (the other being heroin). Ice is portrayed in the media. Ice starts as a whole lot of fun due to the drugs powerful euphoric effects. For the majority of users, despite Ice being highly addictive. Many people can function quite manageably for a long period. Which often causes people to slip further into addictive patterns unknowingly. Most users won’t put much thought into how the drugs are manufactured and what is actually in each batch of the drug, with users only really caring if the effect of the batch is good or not.

We will talk about it in more detail later in the blog posts. however Ice can be taken orally, snorted, smoked or injected by users with the most common method of use amongst users being smoking. Depending on which part of Australia you are located in, Ice will most commonly be called shard, crack, shabs or koota. Crystal meth is used by a wide range of people in all kinds of different socio-economic status segments. So the next time you’re talking people about Ice or overhear someone banging on about their weekend in the lunchroom. You know they go on the down-low.

Random Fact (so you can look cool in front of your mates) 

According to an interesting Time, article and many other reported sources, methamphetamine came into prominence during the Second World War with Hitler declaring “we want only the strong!” Weak people took drugs such as opium to escape; strong people took methamphetamine to feel even stronger.

The Third Reich was obsessed with mental and physical superiority and the instant effects of methamphetamine suggested this would help soldiers on the battlefield.

I know I wouldn’t want to face a Nazi soldier that was peaking (a term used by users when someone is high on Ice) after being on the glass BBQ (a term used by users to describe the glass pipe Ice is smoked out of) for a couple of days straight.

Ice Addiction? How Does It Happen?

One of the most addictive drugs is Ice on the market today, but why? And is that true?

The Facts And Stats

  • The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reported that: Methamphetamine and other stimulants are readily available in Australia. Findings from the 2019 Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) showed that the majority of people who inject drugs and use methamphetamine or cocaine report that it is ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain (Peacock et al. 2019).
  • In 2017–18, there were 2,451 amphetamine-type stimulants (excluding MDMA) detections at the Australian border, weighing 2,952.4 kilograms. The 31,204 national amphetamines seizures in 2017–18 weighed 5,064.9 kilograms and accounted for 84.1% of the number and 45.2% of the weight of national ATS seizures this reporting period (ACIC, 2019) – (this may suggest that there is a large number of drugs being trafficked into Australia. Research shows that Australians pay high sums of money for drugs compared to other nations around the world).
  • Amphetamines were a principal drug of concern for a client’s own drug use in 28% of closed treatment episodes. The second most common principal drug of concern behind alcohol (36%). Two-thirds (66%) were for methamphetamines – (this means that there is a significant amount of people in the treatment system presenting with Ice as the main drug of concern. This stat does not include private treatment centres).
  • More than half of police detainees and prison entrants recently used methamphetamine – (imagine if we helped people with services for use and not just put them in prison).
  • People with a mental health condition were more than 2 times as likely to report recent meth/amphetamine use than people who had not been diagnosed or treated for a mental health condition – (this may suggest that there is more to addiction than just the drug).

All these stats have been pulled from The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)

The Culture (the anecdotal evidence from one user’s perspective) 

One of the major questions I asked myself, as someone who became addicted to Ice. I know that many others ask themselves the same question…

Why did I become addicted, yet my mates that used in a similar way to me were able to pull up after a big weekend and not have any issues long term?

In my own addiction experience and in my experience of helping countless others through their Ice addictions, the differing factor that throws people down the path of addiction is about underlying negative belief systems, emotional patterns and biochemical issues.

These underlying issues either build up through someone’s addiction or are present before someone starts using. A good way to think about these underlying issues is like fuel and fire:

Imagine the drug Ice as a bonfire, yes that bonfire burning on its own can be dangerous if you behave irresponsibly, however, largely it will be ok and a fun focal point at a party.  Now if you were to take petrol can or a couple of petrol cans and throw them on the fire it would explode, growing fire, hurting people and potentially burning down houses in the neighbourhood.

Yes, this may be oversimplifying the process of Ice addiction and there is 100% a physical addiction that forms. This isn’t at the core of the problem. If fixing the physical addiction was all there was to solving someone’s addiction. Then we wouldn’t have any issues with Ice.

Think about it: everyone knows someone that has been a way to rehab for 30 – 90 days, completely cleaned up only to come out and use again two weeks later – why? Because the underlying issues haven’t addressed and changed.

If you want to know how Ice addiction really occurs, look at the underlying issues and patterns.

Another Random Fact 

Growing rates of Ice use in Australia haven’t just affected individuals, families and the healthcare system. It has had a massive impact on the housing rental markets and the landlords that own those properties.

There is a growing number of winning legal cases in the last 5 plus years. People sue landlords for becoming sick due to contamination of the property from it previously used as a meth lab.

According to propertyupdate.com.au this is a serious issue for landlords as they have a legal obligation to provide a safe rental property.

Ask yourself, could your home be an old Meth Lab? Maybe there is a payout coming your way 🙂

Effects and Risks Of Using Ice

As Biggie Smalls Said “You don’t know, what you don’t know” so here it is.

The Facts And Stats

Ice affects everyone differently, but effects may include:

  • feelings of pleasure and confidence
  • increased alertness and energy
  • repeating simple things like itching and scratching
  • enlarged pupils and dry mouth
  • teeth grinding and excessive sweating
  • fast heart rate and breathing
  • reduced appetite
  • increased sex drive

If injecting drugs there is an increased risk of:

  • tetanus
  • infection
  • vein damage

If sharing needles there is an increased risk of:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV and AIDS

Snorting ice can damage the nasal passage and cause nose bleeds.


If you take a large amount or have a strong batch, you could overdose. Call an ambulance straight away by dialling triple zero (000). If you have any of these symptoms (ambulance officers don’t need to involve the police):

  • racing heartbeat and chest pain
  • breathing problems
  • fits or uncontrolled jerking
  • extreme agitation, confusion, clumsiness
  • sudden, severe headache
  • unconsciousness
  • stroke, heart attack or death

All these factual stats have been pulled from the Alcohol & Drug Foundation (ADF), Australia’s leading information source on alcohol and drugs. This resource can be retrieved from https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/ice/.

The Culture

As detailed above there are many different effects and risks associated with Ice use and addiction.

Initially, the effects for most people are positive! The first time I intravenously used Ice I am honest it was amazing. Still to this day, it is one of the best feelings I have ever had. This is the exact reason why people use not only once but over and over again!

In my drug-using time, these were good experiences. However, for me and many others, the good times didn’t really last and things turned on their heels quickly.

Some of the biggest negative effects that I experienced were the mental health effects and when I now weight up these effects against the positive experiences; I had the negative effects far outweigh the positives.

And experienced psychosis, which I think was bought about by sleep deprivation along with continued Ice use.

I would experience severe bouts of depression usually on the comedown resulting in me trying to take my own life at different stages (it’s still kind of strange to say that out loud. One thing I have found with Ice is what goes up must come down).

I also became incredibly skinny. I found for me, Ice suppressed my appetite, however, my eating did improve as I built my tolerance. This, combined with me spending all my money on drugs and not eating properly, resulted in me to drop weight fast (side note this distorted weight loss actually can become a part of peoples underlying issues when it comes to Ice).

For me all of these factors listed above plus a multitude of other crap that goes on when you are using pushed me to want something different. There is a load more we could add however I think that would make a completely new blog post!

Another Random Fact

Meth dries out the salivary glands, which makes it easier for mouth acids to erode tooth enamel and the gums, allowing cavities to gain a foothold. Addicts’ habit of teeth-grinding, combined with a hankering for sweet foods during meth highs, only worsen the problem. That leaves many users with rotted teeth and the characteristic “meth mouth” shown in many anti-drug campaigns (you may look ok with a skinny meth body but watch out the face may need some work).

Ice Addiction Treatment

When you or a loved one gets to this point it can get tricky! There are so many different options, it’s hard to know what’s what and what the correct path to embark on is.

We offer Treatment services.  Like the rest of this blog, we will lay this section out with facts and then our opinion.

The main thing we recommend is that you just go ahead and do your research. Go the extra mile to ask questions and read different things before you make your decision.

I would recommend that you have a read of our FREE report; “Horrifying Dodgy Practices You Must Know Before You Check Into Rehab”. To download the FREE report head over to https://connectionbasedliving.com.au/addiction-recovery-resources-products/ and follow the prompts to the report.

The Facts And Stats

As leading addiction treatment professional and researcher Nicole Lee states in her article in the conversation “What is ‘success’ in drug rehab? Programs need more than just anecdotes to prove they work”, “When treatment is said to be “evidence-based”, this means it has been subjected to rigorous scientific trials that show it works, not just for a small number of people, but for the majority of those with a particular problem.” We need to think about what success is when it comes to addiction treatment.

From Nicole Lee’s article “ You don’t have to go off the grid to get treatment for drug dependence” article, the following treatment interventions prove to be the most effective for Ice addiction treatment:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

The Culture

This is such a massive area to explain with a lot of nuances, however, I want to talk about the things I have found to make the most sense for the majority of people with Ice addictions.

The old view of overcoming Ice addiction or addiction in general, is just, go to rehab, stay away for 90 days.

But when you think about it, does it really work?

The thing that we have found for people using Ice is they can’t be stuck in one spot.

Usually, when someone comes off Ice they may be asleep for anywhere between 3-5 days to start with. After that, you wake up and feel incredibly restless, irritable and more often than not you have to do something.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to run out the door and use drugs. It does mean that you have a lot of pent up energy and a pretty poor concentration span.

In this situation locked up in rehab sucks! And when you really think about it, it can be counterproductive.   In this situation locked up in rehab sucks!

For people suffering from Ice addiction I usually recommend an initial detox for a week or so with trained medical professionals, depending on the severity of course, then transitioning into a treatment program like our Growth Healing Program. 

These are the basics of what you need to know when it comes to Ice addiction, but of course, it changes case to case and you should always consult with your medical professional.

If you want to know anything more about Ice addiction and how we may be able to help you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or shoot us an email.