The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, or AIHW, has released a new report showing the increasing use, treatment and availability of “ice” drug, the crystal form of methylamphetamine. The number of indigenous Australians was found to have increased use of the drug than other locals.

Patients commonly smoke “ice” drugs, while some inject, snort or swallow the substance. There has been significant growth in the number of new meth or amphetamine users choosing ice for treatments. The number grew from 26 percent in 2007 to 43 percent in 2013, said AIHW spokesperson Geoff Neideck in a press release.

The report also shows that the people who smoke amphetamines, including methylamphetamines, tend to have more episodes of treatments. The proportion vastly increased within a decade, from 3.4 percent in 2003 to 2004 to 41 percent in 2013 to 2014.

The increase in the number of people receiving treatment for ice drugs affected the number of those injecting amphetamines, which decreased from 79 percent of episodes of treatment to 44 percent over the same period. AIHW reported that those who inject amphetamines say that the drug is still “easy to obtain” unlike ice drugs.

However, recent meth or amphetamine users were found to take the drugs more frequently because of the availability of its ice form, the report indicated. “In 2013, 25 percent of recent users whose main form was ice reported using at least weekly, which was twice as many as 2010,” Neideck said.

Beyond the increasing demand for ice drugs, the AIHW also found that the number of indigenous people using the treatments has increased by 3.1 percent from 2 percent.

The majority of Australians receiving the drugs were found more likely to be male, with the largest age group between 20 and 29 years old. However, with the increasing use of ice treatments, the use of meth or amphetamine has decreased in the recent years.

“In 2013, around 1.3 million people - or 7 percent of Australians - had used meth/amphetamine in their lifetime, and 2.1 percent had used them recently,” Neideck said. The data was compared with the 2004 record when users represented 3.2 percent of Australians.

Despite the decline in meth or amphetamine use, law enforcement data for amphetamine-type stimulants, or ATS, shows that the production and supply of the drugs have rapidly increased by 86 percent between 2011 and 2012 and 2012 and 2013 and about 18 percent in 2013 to 2014.

Contact the writer at or tell us what you think below.