Warning: This post features thoughts of suicide and details drug use.
At the peak of her addiction to ice, ex-model and former professional race car driver Kate Amoroso was suicidal and spending $2000 on drugs a week.
In a feature story on news.com.au this weekend, the 44-year-old, who aspires to run for South Australia’s state parliament under independent Nick Xenophon’s SA Best party, said being detained by police and promptly admitted to a psychiatric facility in Mount Gambier three years ago ultimately saved her life.
“At one point I got knives from the kitchen and tried to put them through my back because I couldn’t see any way out and wanted it to end it all,” Amoroso, who suffered drug dependency as a result of childhood trauma, said of the eight-day bender that culminated in a police siege.
“When the police finally convinced me to open the door and put my hands behind my back, I handed them a small square battery and told them to destroy it because it was a bug… I thought my house had been tapped.”
While she’s now clean, the mum-of-three said there’s a lot more Australia can do to help those addicted to narcotics make a full recovery – particularly those who are suicidal.
“… We need more rehabilitation centres, and mandatory rehab and detainment under the Mental Health Act,” Amoroso told journalist Candace Sutton.
“There’s only a small window when an ice addict will want help and if they didn’t get it because there’s no rehab centres that window closes.
“Here in South Australia there is one place for a rapid seven to ten-day detox,” she continued. “Where do you go after that?”
But the problem isn’t exclusive to South Australians – far from it.
“Across Australia, desperate parents are re-mortgaging homes, taking out loans, or pulling out their superannuation to rescue their children from ice addiction,” the ABC’s Ben Knight, Clay Hichens, and Elise Worthington wrote in September 2016.
“Most of the people I see who have come through private rehabs have had their superannuation emptied. It’s sort of a soft target,” Garry Rothman, a financial counsellor at non-profit rehab facility Odyssey House, told the publication at the time.
Williams had become driven by his need to immerse himself in the world of ice in order to write about it, moving in with a drug dealer. However, he soon became addicted and lost in a psychotic fantasy, threatening to kill his parents, and experiencing a short period of homelessness.
His face was covered in scabs and lumps and his teeth were black. He told Mamamia that at one point he became confused that a girl who would come to the house was somehow involved in a plot to sleep with his ex-girlfriend and felt homicidal.
“The reason I became homicidal was because… I had a younger ex who I’d broken up with. And I was convinced when I was off my face at the time that the guy I was living with had had something to do with that.”
Williams feared that things could have ended horrifically for him and the woman if circumstances were different. Thankfully, he eventually got clean.
But for 268,000 regular and dependent ice users in Australia – a number that had tripled in the past five years – the pull of the drug remains too much.
The Australian Crime Commission has warned that we are in danger of an ice ‘pandemic’ that is costing Australia over $1 billion every year. Ice use increases the risk of violence and psychosis, and it’s dangerously easy to get addicted. It tears families apart and all too often leads to homelessness, and tragically, death.
Kate Amoroso has escaped death, but said there was “no telling” the damage she had already done to her body. And that’s why, while she’s still here, she’s fighting to leave a legacy of mandatory rehabilitation and detainment for users facing rock bottom.