The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has today released a report that highlights how illicit drug use, particularly methamphetamine or ice, is costing Australia an estimated $4.4 billion every year in health care, crime and economic losses.

The Australian methamphetamine user outcomes report examines the employment, education and health demographics of methamphetamine users from data collected by the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program, the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services data collection and the National Prisoner Health Data Collection.

The report confirmed that crystal methamphetamine, or ice, is fast becoming the preferred choice of illegal drug, with a 23 percentage point increase in its use among users from 2007 to 2013.

The total number of methamphetamine users has also continued to rise − up 11 percentage points for police detainees in the period 2011 to 2014, and 13 percentage points for prison entrants from 2012 to 2015.

The report also revealed that methamphetamine users, and in particular crystal-methamphetamine users:

  • Reported more frequent and extensive stays in prison than other illicit drug users and non-users;
  • Methamphetamine users were more likely to be male, single and childless, and come from low socio-economic areas than non-users;
  • More likely to be young – 56 per cent of methamphetamine users, and 63 per cent of crystal-methamphetamine users were aged 14-29;
  • Less educated and less likely to be employed than non-users;
  • Report poorer mental and physical health; and
  • Reported greater levels of psychological distress than other drug users in the general community.

Importantly, this report complements the findings of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report, which revealed that of the drugs tested, methamphetamine is the highest consumed illicit drug across all regions of Australia. The Coalition Government is taking action to tackle this national problem by bringing law enforcement together with education and health, and utilising more data to increase our understanding of drug use in Australia, and pinpoint where we need to focus additional efforts.

We are also investing almost $300 million to support actions resulting from the National Ice Action Strategy to improve treatment, after care, education, prevention and community engagement.

This is in addition to tackling the supply of ice through increased international cooperation, enhanced intelligence sharing, better controls of precursor chemicals and greater efforts to prevent ice reaching our regional and remote communities.

The Coalition will continue to use every resource available to protect the safety of our communities, our families and frontline service workers who have been affected by this insidious drug.

Source official: Minister for Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism The Hon Michael Keenan MP Copyright Attorney-General’s Department 2017