Heroin, opioids and ice: Changing face of regional city drug use

DRUGS: Ice is still a major problem in Orange though other drugs are becoming wider used in the city.

DRUGS: Ice is still a major problem in Orange though other drugs are becoming wider used in the city.

Opioids and heroin have replaced ice as the most-used drugs in Orange, according to an organisation which  treats users.

Lives Lived Well research manager Dr Julaine Allan said there had been a shift in drug use in the past 12 months.

“We are seeing a decrease in the number of people presenting for meth-amphetamines,” she said.

“It has been gradual [the decline], but it’s not going away.”

She said more people were presenting for treatment after taking opioids and heroin.

“Definitely availability is driving use because a lot of people that have drug problems will use other drugs,” she said.

Dr Allan said many people seeking to buy a certain drug from a dealer were willing to try another if there first choice was unavailable.

She said ice was prominent because of the aggressive and erratic behaviour it caused in users and the affects it had on other people but the other drugs were as harmful.

“Opioid drugs are very, very addictive,” she said.

“People build up a tolerance to them very quickly.”

Dr Allan said Lives Lived Well’s Lyndon treatment programs in Orange were at full capacity so it was difficult to determine if the overall drug use problem was increasing.

“It’s a bit hard to tell from [our perspective] in the treatment of users,” she said.

“We’re seeing a different proportion of drugs.”

Two weeks ago a key police officer said Orange’s problem with ice was at least as big as in any other regional Australian city.

Central West Police District crime manager Detective Inspector Bruce Grassick said use of the drug was causing serious problems.

“You’d be turning a blind eye if you didn’t think it was prevalent,” he said.

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