Methamphetamine crisis: young women courting trouble with drug use

THE number of young women facing court for serious offences as the result of taking methamphetamine is a cause for concern, according to Orange solicitor Michael Madden.

“I work in courts in Orange, Bathurst and Cowra and methamphetamine use is a big problem,” he said.

Lyndon Withdrawal Unit deputy chief executive officer Dr Juliane Allen says she and her co-workers are seeing increased amphetamine-use in young adults up to age 30.

“Not so much here at Lyndon, but definitely in the programs we are running in the community in Orange there’s more of it,” she said.

Dr Allen said the potency of a current batch of methamphtamine being sold to both recreational and regular users was taking a stronger physical and mental toll on clients, including young women.

Mr Madden said many cases involving young women also involved violence and he had seen the rapid physical and mental deterioration of some of his clients firsthand.

“The drug is one of the biggest contributing factors to the violence,” he said.

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Dr Allen says the drug, which is usually smoked or snorted, gives the user an enhanced sense of confidence, which can lead to confrontational and risk-taking behaviour.

She said while Mr Madden was right to be concerned about the growing incidence of methamphetamine use, particularly in young women, Orange was just a snapshot of what was happening across the nation.

Dr Allen says people who take methamphetamine and other amphetamines at weekends on a recreational basis can turn up at work on Monday morning fully functioning.

“It only takes hours to get out of the system and the following day a user will feel tired, irritable, dehydrated and very flat,” she said.

However, Dr Allen said the long term effects were devastating to a user’s health.

“It seems to me to affect their mental health much quicker than, say, cannabis. They go downhill quickly,” Mr Madden said.

“My perspective these days is that use of the drug in Orange and other place is one of the biggest contributing factors to people being in court.”

If you need help with a drug or alcohol problem call the Western NSW Local Health District hotline on 1300 887 000.

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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