Social costs of methamphetamine use in rural and remote Australia
This paper addresses the short and long-term impacts methamphetamine (“ice”) use has on Aboriginal communities residing in the rural and remote areas of NT and SA and on care providers and agencies exposed to users and their families.
Although ice use is marginal compared to AOD and affects a very small segment of the Aboriginal Australian population, its effects are multidimensional and far reaching; disrupting, and often destroying, the lives of users and individual family members. Because, even in the best circumstances, Aboriginal people living in remote areas are routinely confronted with a myriad of constraints limiting their ability to thrive and prosper in mainstream society, the consequences of ice use on daily life is especially disruptive, resulting in lack of sleep, shelter and safe places for children and young adults, missed days at school and work, and increased financial and emotional stress to parents who have taken in the children of family members addicted to ice. This in turn has repercussions for a number of institutions beyond emergency departments and the police to include specialised hospital services, schools, community organisations, churches, retail outlets and legal aid.
The presentation closes with the ways these institutions have been impacted by ice use and identifies the type of interventions that are being used (and also required) to manage methamphetamine-related issues.