Ice withdrawal makes rehab more difficult

REHABILITATION facilities might need to rethink how they deal with ice withdrawals and treatment, Anex trainer Nicola Cowling says.

Ms Cowling was in Bendigo yesterday to host Anex’s Crystal Methamphetamine Training and spoke about the complex issues associated with the drug.

It was suggested the traditional six or seven-day detox programs were not sufficient for ice users because of the three or four-day come-down period where users are sleeping off the drug.

“That means after they wake up you’ve then only got a few days to work with them and get to the core of their issues,” Ms Cowling said.

While ice can provide an powerful high, it is highly addictive and has a range of psychological and behavioural side-effects including fear, paranoia, restlessness, aggressiveness and, in some cases, psychosis.

Ms Cowling said ice withdrawal could take a long time, in some cases up to four months. The effects of withdrawal can include sweating, cravings, insomnia, depression and paranoia.

“It’s not going to be for everyone but certainly people I’ve spoken to and people I’ve worked with, the withdrawal periods of methamphetamine’s physiological symptoms seems to be quite extensive,” she said.

“Nothing can compare to the extraordinary highs that one experiences under the influence of this drug and I think that’s something we need to be honest with clients about as well, it’s going to be very different when you stop using it.

“It’s going to take you a while to start enjoying things to the same extent that you did previously.

“And you’re never going to get that same rush that you did under the influence of the drug because that is not a normal sensation.”

Ms Cowling said vulnerable young people were being recruited as dealers.

“They get the drugs on tick, they’re getting the drugs for free, they start to get a taste for it and then they’re doing a little bit of part-time dealing for somebody else.

“This is another thing that is causing maybe more widespread distribution than we might have seen previously.”

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