The Salvation Army is feeling the impact of Australia’s debilitating ice problem with a 122 per cent spike in Sydney users of the drug seeking its help.
The charity organisation says cases of speed and ice usage have now surpassed the usage of cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and gambling dependance combined.
By the time users call on the Salvos recovery services, they are grappling with mental health issues, emaciation, skin rashes and poor nutrition.
“The mental health problems, they are probably the most severe,” Salvation Army recovery services clinical director Gerard Byrne told AAP.
“Unfortunately for some they will remain.”
Across NSW, the number of amphetamine-type substance – speed and ice – users who called on the Salvation Army’s recovery services jumped by 48 per cent in just the past year.
In Brisbane the number has increased by 40 per cent and in Canberra by 28 per cent.
It’s adults that seek the charity’s help but some report using ice from as young as 14.
Mr Byrne said users had massive mood swings and unpredictable behaviour.
People with mental health issues now make up 71 per cent of people who front the the Salvation Army’s bridge program.
Over the past four years at Salvation Army recovery services in Sydney, users of drugs – including ice – who seek the Salvos help has skyrocketed by 122 per cent.
NSW Police acting Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy said police were also seeing the devastating impact of drugs.
“In particular, we are seeing the shocking effects ice and amphetamine-type substances are having on communities right across NSW.”
The Salvation Army will mark the 50th anniversary of its bridge program on Monday.
USERS CALLING ON SALVOS REHAB SERVICES
– 40 per cent increase in ice users at Brisbane Salvation Army recovery services over past year
– 122 per cent increase in ice and speed users at Sydney services since 2010
– Ice users make up 20 per cent of people in Sydney program
– 23 per cent decrease in people with alcohol problems since 2010