The real facts about Ice

There is help and support available for people using ice, and their families. You are not alone in your concerns about ice, so please don’t hesitate to ask and engage the services available.

What data or evidence is there?

Plastic zip-lock bag containing the drug ice.Judging by some of the current media surrounding ice use in Australia, you could be forgiven for thinking we are in the grips of an ice epidemic. Ice use is on the rise, and is of concern, but it is important to stay level headed and focused on the evidence. The statistics show that 2.1% of Australians aged 14 years and over have used meth/amphetamines in the previous 12 months. Of these people, 50.4% report crystal or ice as main form of the drug used.1

So the use of methamphetamines in general has not increased, but within the group using methamphetamines there has been a change in the main form used. Use of powdered methamphetamine (speed) decreased significantly (50.6% in 2010 to 28.5% in 2013) while use of ice more than doubled (21.7% 2010 to 50.4% in 2013).2 Ice has higher strength and purity to speed, so any effects (positive or negative) are heightened.

Among the people who use ice, more frequent use was reported. People who used at least once a week or more increased from 12.4% in 2010 to 25.3% in 2013. This statistic is significant because it reveals that more people within the group of people who are using methamphetamines are becoming dependent on ice. This combined with the relative strength of ice compared to speed is why we are seeing a huge increase in the harms associated with ice.


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2014). National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013. Canberra: AIHW.

  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2014). National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013. Canberra: AIHW.

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