When a child falls victim to the drug ice

“Life is hell, not only for the addict, but their family as well." File picture.
“Life is hell, not only for the addict, but their family as well." File picture.

A South Coast mother has spoken of living with the “monster that is ice” and how the drug, widely available in the local area, has affected her family.

The woman, who doesn’t want to be named, has told of the horror of her child becoming addicted to crystal methamphetamine or ice.

Her child was 15, top of their class, involved in Air Cadets and set for a career in the air force.

“I have had no child in my life for four years – I’ve had ice in my life.”

“Then they got involved with the wrong crowd, I thought they were a leader but they became a follower. Life went downhill from there,” she said.

“I believe my child started with marijuana but soon progressed to harder stuff like heroin, methamphetamine or ice, crack and even steroids.

“The change was incredible – from a loving, caring child to being aggressive towards themselves and the people who loved them.

“Life is hell, not only for the addict, but their family as well.

“I’ve had furniture thrown at me. I’ve been beaten by ice, not my child, sworn at, called names. There were fights with their father.

“My child is no angel. I know they have done wrong but ice has been the perpetrator for most of it.

“People say and I used to, I admit it, ‘They are just drug addicts’ but you have to live with it to know what it is like.”

She said the family tried to get help when the child was 15 but nothing was available.

“The child has to firstly admit to being addicted whether it is to alcohol or drugs,” she said.

“It was dramatic, painful, horrible for both my child and for me to see drugs destroy their dreams.

“We tried everything. No one seemed to give a s… because it was drugs.

“I have had no child in my life for four years – I’ve had ice in my life.”

She spoke of a life where the child would party for days on end and then sleep for days to recover.

During that time they would often be coming down off the drug but would then go off to another party and the cycle would start all over again.

“I used to say they were sleeping their life away but they were actually killing themselves,” she said.

“Drugs are readily available in Nowra – everywhere. If addicts can’t get their drug of choice they will use whatever they can get their hands on.”

She admitted her child had “blown” thousands of dollars on their addiction.

“The child stole from us. Took money we had set aside, thousands of dollars just to feed the addiction,” she said.

“Sentimental items were stolen and sold just to get money to get drugs. Addicts also sell whatever they own.”

Luckily the woman’s child, now 21, has been able to kick the habit but she knows addiction could again be just the next temptation. The next hit. 

“My child is back, loving again. Holds me, cuddles me, loves me,” she said.

“Going through it is like being addicted yourself.

“You see them try to fight ice. You will want to walk away. It pulls them apart. They hurt themselves.

“To all parents – never give up on your children – it is the ice not the child. Just try and get them help.

“We need to do something about the people who are peddling it.

“Instead of investing money on boat people we need to put more into the drug problem. Stop the drugs coming in.

“It’s not really the dealers, they’re usually addicted as well, we need to get the big guys – the guys who make the drugs or who are importing the stuff.” 

No longer a big city epidemic

Oolong House chief executive officer Ivern Ardler says one in three men applying for treatment is addicted to ice.

Oolong House chief executive officer Ivern Ardler says one in three men applying for treatment is addicted to ice.

The prevalence and use of crystal methamphetamine or ice has increased dramatically in the Shoalhaven, according to the chief executive officer of a drug and alcohol treatment centre in Nowra.

Oolong House’s Ivern Ardler said one in three men applying for treatment was addicted to ice.

“It’s frightening, the increase in this drug. It is just so prevalent in the local area, especially in Nowra,” he said.

“At one stage it was more of a Sydney or Wollongong thing but, sadly, the issue is now widespread on the South Coast.”

He said the drug was readily available, even on the streets of Nowra.

“When we take our clients shopping, unfortunately we have to accompany them for their own safety and protection. There are people trying to give them the same stuff they are trying to beat,” he said.

“This is the reality.”

Mr Ardler says between 140 and 150 men apply to be taken into Oolong House for treatment each year.

“We still treat people with alcohol addiction and it is a major problem but drugs have overtaken it. Many have dual addictions,” he said.

“Our clients are aged 18 to 35. For the younger ones it is often extremely difficult to give up drugs.

“There are around 30 other local services offering help and while I can’t speak for them all, I have no doubt they have seen an increase in drug use, especially ice.”

He said with ice being a “relatively new drug”, there was not a lot of research on the damage from long term use.

“The changes to their facial appearance is incredible but what other damage does it cause to the body we don’t know,” he said.

“Our clients have already gone through detox and we offer a four-month program to provide education to help stay clean.

“It is an extremely stressful time, not only for the clients but our staff as well.

“They have to dissociate themselves from people they were involved with during their drug dependency. That means making new friends who are not on drugs and that can be hard. 

“But there are organisations like Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous who offer support and mentors.

“As a community we have to say, ‘Enough is enough’ and we need to work closer with local police to try to get these drugs and the people dealing drugs off our streets.”



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