1. GOVERNMENT WEBSITE TO HELP YOU TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT DRUGS
After reading the 1st page, click on the ‘Top 10 tips’ link and ‘Why teens use’ link. All three pages are helpful. These pages are also easy to print if you wish to have several copies for discussions with your son/daughter.
Of course, read other relevant entries from our base home-page for this ICE campaign. The more you know, the more you can answer your children’s questions with authority. Spend lots and lots of time with them – that builds their self-esteem and their trust in your judgment on this critical issue.
Listen at length; advise gently, clearly, and with reference to authorities on the topic. Keep advice precise and brief… Kids have short concentration spans when it is a sensitive topic that they may be reluctant to address!
Talk with other parents from the children’s school(s) and think together, plan together the conversation strategies that will work.
Shouting does not work, because it is a form of violence aimed at bullying and it builds resentment, anger and mistrust. Stay calm – have a cuppa!
2. ARTICLE: PEOPLE TRYING TO GET ‘OFF’ ICE
“The other faces of meth”
Sydney Morning Herald by BENJAMIN LAW November 23, 2013
[This is an edited version from a longer article – see link at end.]
METH ADDICTS IN 12-STEP SUPPORT GROUP
….Mcallister* now operates Australia’s first 12-step support group for people with crystal meth addiction. About a dozen men and women stream in quietly as the sun goes down. By the end of the meeting, numbers swell to near 30.
METH ADDICTS MAY LOOK OK, BUT
Most of them look all right. Sitting opposite me is a sleekly dressed 20-something woman who could be a professional dancer. There’s also a cheery man in his 30s with the word “DREAM” splashed colourfully across his shirt. Even so, there are a couple of people who look noticeably messed up. One long-haired, bespectacled woman in her 50s wears a haunted expression the entire time, as if she’s stumbled upon her own funeral.
METH AND PSYCHOSIS
A 20-something, athletic-looking ocker bloke in Nike trainers speaks first. He started using crystal meth at 17, spiralling quickly into psychosis. He’s had some periods of being clean, but has been in and out of courts and lock-ups since 2006 and is now estranged from his family. “And I came from a good family,” he adds. “But crystal meth is a drug that doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care where you come from.”
METH CASH DEMAND
The man in the DREAM shirt says that at the peak of his addiction, he spent over $50,000 on crystal meth over two months, “sticking a needle up my arm and just getting more and insane”. He says he smelled revolting during this period, breaking out in meth sweats. “I’d just stink of this toxic fume.”
METH PHYSICAL AND MENTAL CONDITIONS
Another man tell us how his addiction left him with a swollen colon (“Really healthy”, he says drily), while the young woman next to me got to the point where she had to smoke meth before getting groceries. One bright young woman, who worked as an electrician, remembers the times she handled wiring that could have electrocuted her “totally off my head”. She says, “I was working on electricity in people’s houses – and on my own. I now look back and see how ridiculous it is, but I thought I was in a really good frame of mind.” Only in her early 20s, she had been using crystal meth every day for four years.
METH – THE ‘COMING OFF’ STRUGGLE
One quiet woman has a neat fringe and sunny face. She could be your local dental receptionist. She looks like someone’s mum. She tells the group that since coming off crystal meth, her mood swings have been so staggeringly painful, so emotionally bruising, that she spontaneously bursts into tears at both work and home. “I’m really struggling and yearning at the moment,” she says. “I don’t even know what I’m looking for. Someone to say, ‘You’re going the right way’. Reassurances. Maybe that’s what I’ve been missing from my life.”
FIRST-TIMER AT THE MEETING
When the group is asked whether this is anyone’s first meeting, a young girl in her early 20s raises her hand. She’s pretty, resembling a young Britney Spears – but is a living portrait of human misery. Barely able to speak, she cradles her head in her hands as though it might fall off her neck at any moment. She lives in regional Victoria and has driven nearly 200 kilometres to Melbourne to get clean. Today is her fourth day meth-free, she says. We applaud but that just makes her cry. The girl next to her pats her on the back softly.
EVERYONE IN HER HOME-TOWN ON METH!
“Every single person I know is on it heavily there,” she says of her home town. “Huge, copious amounts. It’s scary. I thought it would get hold of other people, but not me.” The tears come again. “I don’t like who I am when I’m on it. And I don’t want to live like this. Watching people I love …cook and stuff. I left on Saturday night … with a pipe and two points for the drive.”
She shakes her head, appalled at herself. Everyone laughs kindly. “But I can’t stop,” she says. “I’m dreaming about it. I don’t know if I can stop. I want to, but … I just don’t know.”
“IT’S KILLING OUR COMMUNITY” – HEARD EVERYWHERE
“Crystal meth is always presented as a big-city problem,” says John Ryan, chief executive of Anex, a leading drug harm-reduction organisation. “Bullshit. Methamphetamine use is right across the city and country. The line I’ve heard so many times is, ‘It’s killing our community.’ I’ve heard that line in [suburban] Northcote, but also in Sunraysia and Warrnambool.”
METH LONG-TERM EFFECTS
The long-term effects of crystal meth use are far from uniform. For many, the brain’s ability to produce or use dopamine might become stunted. Or the saliva glands will dry out, allowing acids to eat away at tooth enamel, causing dental problems. Or tissue and blood vessels might decay, meaning the body’s ability to repair itself is compromised. That’s the type of thing you see on the Faces of Meth site. That won’t happen to all users and addicts, though.
“You almost need a generation [of users] to get a sense of what effect this is having on people,” says Turning Point’s Matthew Frei. “The assumption has been: ‘You abstain, you get better.’ But we don’t know. Is there some threshold you cross where there is irreversible damage to your neurochemistry? It’s a hard thing to measure.” He shrugs. “But that message – that we don’t know the long-term effects of methamphetamine yet – that’s scary enough.”
*Names have been changed.
Read more in the original Sydney Morning Herald article
REACTION TO THIS ARTICLE – A PARENT SPEAKS
FATHER OF A 19 YR-OLD ADDICT:
Shouldn’t we be shifting the focus to the problem? I don’t care if it’s Neerim or Rosebud or Forbes or Toowoomba. Get real please people, the real problem is our kids are getting addicted to ice, it doesn’t matter where they live and yes I too live in a rural town.
These kids, Our kids and yes My kid needs HELP. Six months ago my 19 yo Daughter came to live with us, after finally leaving the thug who not only introduced her to ice, but ‘controlled’ her every thinking and contact with others for the year she was with him in Qld. He wasn’t content with that, he took to tying her to the bed for days at a time and beating her senseless on numerous occasions. Yes he was charged and yes he evaded conviction.
So my Daughter is with us now and she’s now employed and trying hard some times and deceiving us on other times. She has an addiction to cannabis and ice and the devastating effect to her is cruel.
The effects to my wife and myself are also devastating. So what’s available to help break the cycle, the habit, and the destruction that this World brings? A Lot if you need a Counsellor to talk to, other than that there is NOTHING and NO ONE.
Please I implore you to debate the topic, but the topic should be our kids and how to prevent them from wanting to use these drugs or helping them stop using these drugs. For nothing else is more important.
5. 11 Steps to overcome a Meth addiction
6. Drug Rehab NSW – helplines
7. How to beat addiction – 16 steps [Long and detailed article]