THE drug ice is taking hold among Bendigo's middle class, a state parliamentary inquiry has heard.
Bendigo paramedic Richard Marchingo said the drug was not just associated with addicts and people on the fringes of society.
He said a growing number of ambulance calls relating to ice were for people who were employed, and with families.
"They're common cases," he said. "It's the middle class. It's not necessarily the lowlifes of the community."
The inquiry into the use and supply of methamphetamines in Victoria heard there was a growing link between ice and organised crime groups, including motorcycle gangs.
Police, Bendigo Health, the council and a number of different community groups gave evidence to the sitting on Friday.
Mr Marchingo said the average week in Bendigo saw about two to three ambulance call-outs for ice users.
He said most ice-affected patients were extremely agitated and aggressive.
"They are totally irrational," he said. "At one we went to a man climbed on the roof when we got there and started throwing tiles at us. They're difficult jobs."
The inquiry is looking at finding the best responses to tackling the supply and distribution of ice, and its associated crimes.
Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre's Peter Noble said there has been a rise in flow-on crimes linked to ice.
He said the Bendigo-based group had seen a huge number of cases where ice was the triggering factor in areas of family violence, breaches of intervention orders, stalking, and housing evictions.
Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee Chair Simon Ramsay said there were a range of measures needed to deal with the "scourge" of ice.
He said it was the first time the committee had made a coordinated focus on one particular drug. The inquiry in Bendigo was the first of seven sittings in regional Victoria.