IT’S the killer that shows no mercy and doesn’t discriminate, with the most innocent often amongst its many casualties.
Experts say Sunshine Coast residents are facing an ice “pandemic” with children as young as 13, the elderly and high-profile professionals using the addictive drug.
The Health Retreat founder Francis McLachlan said it was a problem that used to be only in tourist hot spots, but has now reached every small town in the area.
His concerns come after the State Government announced a $5.4 million pledge to help regional families combat ice addiction, which Mr McLachlan scoffed at.
He said it was a “drop in the ocean” and that $200 million was needed to fix the “multi-faceted” problem.
“If you asked around, around 60-70 per cent of people would know someone who uses. It is so prevalent out there,” Mr McLachlan said.
“Ice addiction is like poker machines on steroids. And the use of meth here has gone through the roof.
“You used to only be able to find it in Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, now it’s in every single suburb.”
He says the problem starts with children at an early age, usually lured in by other substances.
Almost one in three children who go into state care have a parent with a current or previous meth problem.
“We are getting a lot of mums and dads through at the moment,” he said. “But it is so much further than that. We see kids younger than 13 hooked.
“It is everywhere if you know where to look. You just have to walk around the shopping centres or fast food outlets.
“Addiction can start from mental health problems, painkiller addiction, car accidents, marijuana.”
Minister for Health Steven Miles argued the government was committed to addressing the ongoing issue of drug abuse in Queensland.
“We’ve invested $350 million in mental health and drug services as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s Connecting Care to Recovery 2016-2021 plan.”