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Australia 'High-functioning' ice user reveals how addiction impacts everyday Australians

23:20  06 october  2019
23:20  06 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Are high - functioning users the new face of the ice epidemic? During her addiction , Ms Adams held down full-time senior finance jobs, completed a business degree and had a stable home and partner. But the continued spread of the ice epidemic has Australians worried.

On an average day , Mr Bateman would spend his time high on ice and isolated from friends and family. Around 1.3 million Australians over the age of 14 have touched methamphetamine at least once in their lives with methamphetamine continuing to be the most-used illicit stimulant in Australia .

a close up of a woman wearing a black shirt: Tahlia Adams held down a high-paying job while using ice three times a day. (ABC News: Allyson Horn)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Tahlia Adams held down a high-paying job while using ice three times a day. (ABC News: Allyson Horn)

"Nobody in my daily life would have ever thought that I was using ice. Nobody," recalls Tahlia Adams.

The 29-year-old was a self-described high-functioning addict, despite depending on the drug every single day.

"I was using for about ten years. And I used a lot. I would spend about $1,000 a week on ice," she said.

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' High - functioning ' ice user reveals how addiction impacts everyday Australians - ABC News ( Australian Broadcasting Corporation). The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

Addiction impacts a family’s finances, and physical and mental health. Because harmful substances have devastating effects on the user , many may not take into consideration other people How Addiction Impacts Young Children. According to Psychology Today, 1 in 5 children grow up in a

But you wouldn't have known it.

During her addiction, Ms Adams held down full-time senior finance jobs, completed a business degree and had a stable home and partner.

When the pull of ice increased, Ms Adams took a hit in the morning before work, in the bathroom at lunch, and when she got home in the evening.

"People think that an ice user is somebody who's crazy, like the crazy homeless person. Or the people who are stealing cars, or robbing old people," she said.

"But it's not like that. I wasn't what people think a drug addict looked like.

"I presented the same as I do today."

One hit cost less than $50

Methamphetamine is .

It's estimated nearly 10,000 kilograms of the drug was consumed, smoked or injected last year — more than double the consumption of cocaine.

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An ice epidemic is sweeping Australia and destroying regional towns as children as young as 11 become hooked on the deadly drug from their first Men pulling their own teeth out with pliers, children as young as 11 injecting, and teen ice 'cooks' vomiting blood: How meth addiction is destroying the

In 2015, the Australian government launched the media campaign Ice Destroys Lives targeting crystal methamphetamine use. This study investigated perceptions and harms of Ice Destroys Lives among adults with a history of injecting drugs and young people.

The massive growth of ice use has been fuelled by its relative availability and cheapness, with one hit generally costing less than $50.

But the continued spread of the ice epidemic has Australians worried.

Ninety per cent of respondents to the ABC's rated drug and alcohol abuse as a problem for Australia, alongside household debt and cost of living.

Ms Adams said she's proof ice addiction doesn't discriminate and can affect anyone, without those around them even knowing.

Eventually, the grip of ice became so consuming it sent Ms Adam's life spiralling out of control — all the way to prison.

"You can only maintain that lifestyle for so long," she said.

"I lost my house, and I lost my job and I lost my long-term boyfriend.

"And then I didn't know what to do, what options did I have?

"I tried to go to rehab and there were no places.

"I was homeless, I needed money, I was living in my car. And I was still hooked on ice.

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Jacqui Lambie reveals 21-year-old son's ice addiction during welfare debate. “Almost half of the respondents had tried ice , so their perceptions of how many people are using are very “The survey respondents were also quite young, so younger people generally have a higher approval rating of

Yet the cycle of addiction can still take over, making everyday life a constant struggle. People may seek out more and more opportunities to engage in the Even when not specifically labeled as an addiction , the behaviors can lead to real problems in an individual's life, functioning , and relationships.

"So I decided selling drugs was the way I was going to support myself, and get myself out of this bad situation I was in.

"And it just was the worst mistake of my life, because now, my life's changed forever," she said.

'Treatment would have been the best option'

Ms Adams was arrested in 2017.

In Queensland, police aren't able to divert ice users to other facilities, including rehabilitation or education programs — a practice known as depenalisation.

Queensland and New South Wales are the only Australian jurisdictions where depenalisation practices aren't in place, for illegal stimulants including ice.

Associate Professor in Criminology and Drug Policy at Flinders University, Dr Caitlin Hughes, said there was clear evidence diversionary tactics reduced re-offending and improved social outcomes for users.

"The provision of the criminal conviction, for someone who is using or possessing drugs alone, will often lead to far more damaging consequences," she said.

"But we've got this very big difference in state and territory responses at the present and when you speak to police as well as health practitioners across Australia there is a strong desire to expand the provisions of alternative to arrest."

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Methamphetamine (or ' ice ') comes with many short and long term effects. Find out what to do in the case of addiction or withdrawal and places to get help. au.reachout.com ReachOut is an Australian online youth mental health service with a mobile-friendly site and forums where you can access help

User menu. Sea ice spreads over vast areas and has major impacts on the rest of the climate system, reflecting solar radiation and restricting ocean/atmosphere exchanges. The satellite record reveals that a gradual, decades-long overall increase in Antarctic sea ice extents reversed in 2014

Senior to curbing the spread of ice, after depenalisation studies showed it reduced re-offending and use, and cut court costs.

While accepting her role in the arrest, Ms Adams said she would have benefited from rehabilitation instead of prison.

"When I was first charged, I just thought, 'oh well, my life's over'. So I kicked it up a notch I guess you could say," she said.

"I turned really destructive. I got so many more charges after that first interaction with police.

"If someone had stopped me at that first point of contact, I wouldn't have nearly as many charges. I wouldn't have gone to prison. My life wouldn't be the way that it is now, for sure.

"If I had been given a different option when I was first arrested, like for treatment or go through the courts, treatment would have been the best option," she said.

Ms Adams got out of prison about three months ago and has been in recovery ever since.

But she said the stigma and challenges of having a conviction made it harder for her to reintegrate into society.

"I'm in recovery now, and it's great, I love it," she said.

"But I wish I had made a better decision back then because it affects every part of my life.

"Now I can't get a job. I can't get car insurance.

"My life is changed forever. And I just wish that I hadn't made those mistakes."

Drugs and alcohol abuse was rated as a top concern in the Australia Talks National Survey. Use our interactive tool to see what Australians thought about a range of issues and see how your views compare.

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