By JONATHAN GUL
Children in Canberra as young as 13-years-old are among the growing number of young people abusing the drug known as ice, according to a drug treatment service.
The Ted Noffs Foundation has warned ice is becoming more prevalent amongst young people, particularly those from a disadvantaged background.
Ronan O’Connor from the foundation said the organisation had treated young people aged between 13 and 18 for substance abuse.
“Two years ago, the presentation of ice doubled for young people, and last year it doubled again,” he said.
It comes as a report reveals the percentage of people presenting to the Salvation Army Recovery Services in Canberra with amphetamine addictions has more than doubled since 2010.
Mr O’Connor said more young people had sought treatment for ice addiction than for alcohol or cannabis abuse.
“That means that last year the primary presentation for young people coming into this program was ice, at 50 per cent,” he said.
“As a substance, the process of addiction is quick, the rate of use becomes extreme very quickly, [and] the detox period tends to be longer.”Mr O’Connor said the take up rate of ice in the community had presented huge challenges for health authorities.
“One of the things that comes with ice is injecting, and we know that with injecting, within 12 months you’ve got a 50 per cent chance of getting Hep C,” he said.
‘A week without sleeping, you go crazy’
The ABC spoke to two young people who have undergone treatment at Noffs for their addiction.
Sally first tried ice when she was 15, and within months she was addicted.
“There wasn’t anyone going around telling us it was bad, and it just got out of control really quickly,” she said.
“I was spending $500 a week, which was my whole pay, every week.”
She suffered severe psychological and physical problems as a result of her drug use.
“You’re going days, sometimes weeks without sleeping. I mean, a week without sleeping, you go crazy, you really do,” she said.
Alex, 16, has been at Noffs for the past few weeks, receiving treatment for ice addiction.
“Now I’ve got permanent effects. I hear things all the time, see people who aren’t there, I just started to lose my mind,” he said.
“It comes to the point where every night I was either breaking into houses or robbing people just so I could get my own hit.”
Despite their addictions, both Alex and Sally were confident of bright futures in the workforce.