BENDIGO paramedics say the rising number of ice users they are treating is "getting out of hand". Eaglehawk station paramedic Richard Marchingo said ambulance call-outs to people affected by the drug ice was a concern.
"It's got out of hand really quickly," he said.
"I've been here 27 years and I've never seen this really rapid rise that we've had with ice. For years we had heroin overdoses. We could treat that. But you don't know what's in ice."
Mr Marchingo said it was difficult to restrain people who were under the influence of ice.
"It's a dangerous drug and it makes people do dangerous things," he said.
"There's a lot of cases where people have become extremely aggressive."
Bendigo paramedic Brett Adie said the biggest concern was the danger paramedics were placed in.
"The volatility is the worrying part," he said.
"It’s dangerous for us. We have to be aware that patients can fire up with very little warning. You just don't know what could happen. There's some instances where people have pretended to be unconscious and all of a sudden jump up and grab hold of you."
Mr Adie said paramedics have been physically threatened and assaulted in the past. He said it was unpredictable how an ice user would respond.
"I think all paramedics in Bendigo have come across aggressive ice users. They think they are invincible. They’re physically hard to control."
Mr Marchingo said most ice users were also difficult to treat because they were unresponsive and did not act rationally.
"There's a drug you can jab them with," he said. "But the trouble with ice is you don't know what's in it. A lot of them get really hot, up to 40 degrees. You can only treat the symptoms."
Mr Marchingo said the drug was increasingly prominent among young users.
"The trouble with ice is they can just make it up here, with backyard labs," he said.