In this eBook we cover all the important aspects of ICE and addiction to ICE. Click on the links to view each chapter (as they become available) or if you want to download the full PDF version, click the button above.
ICE is a very powerful stimulant and is one of the most addictive and destructive drugs available on the illicit market. As the name suggests, its appearance is similar to that of pieces of ice or crystals. The user usually smokes this highly purified form of methamphetamine and the effects are immediate and profound.
What is ICE?
Growing in popularity
Crystal Meth is becoming increasingly popular in the United States and Australia, with more and more becoming addicted. As a man made synthetic drug, it is widely available. Its effects on the user are devastating, both to their mental and physical wellbeing. An individual who has become addicted to meth will find great difficulty in stopping the drug alone without professional help and proper ICE addiction treatment. Often drug rehab is required in order to help the individual to stop and undergo a full rehabilitation programme. Without the correct ICE addiction treatment there is little hope of an ICE addict making a full recovery.
An individual that as addicted to methamphetamine will rapidly deteriorate in their physical and mental well-being. Their life style become chaotic and often family, friends and children are neglected as a result. Meth doesn’t just affect the user, but heavily impacts on all those that are close to them. They quickly lose a grip a reality due to the effects of the drug and the drug becomes their life. They use to live and live to use, and nothing else matters. Their personality changes drastically and can turn the most caring and loving individual into a cold and wreckless person. Often intervention is required in order to persuade the individual to accept help for their addiction. It is our belief that the most effect treatment is inpatient drug rehab, away from dealers and their dysfunctional lifestyle. This way they have a chance to detox in a safe haven, away from temptation and tackle the root causes of their addiction through an intensive personalised rehabilitation programme. Addiction treatment will show them how to rebuild their lives and their relationships and how to get back in touch with their emotions and their true authentic self. Without the correct professional support and help, there is little chance of a full recovery; this is why we whole heartily believe that admission to our treatment centre is the most positive step forward an meth addict can take, both for themselves and for their family.
Call us now for immediate advice, help and a free over the phone assessment of your treatment requirements.
History of prescribed stimulants
The first prescribed stimulants were used in the 1930’s for the treatment of nasal congestion. Little was known about the side effects at the time and stimulants were further prescribed for the treatment of other conditions, including depression, obesity and hyperactivity. The pleasurable effects of stimulants were quickly recognized, providing the user with feelings of alertness, euphoria, excitement and increased concentration. Due to its pleasurable effects it wasn’t long before stimulants started to be abused. Amphetamines were first synthesized in 1887, and were also infamously used during war to keep soldiers alert and awake for lengthy periods of time.
The miracle cure all drug
During the initial years of prescribing amphetamines, the media touted the drug as a miracle cure all. Advertisements spread the message far and wide that amphetamines were the answer to many ailments and illnesses; that they could cure all kinds of problems from alcoholism to obesity. By the late 1950’s amphetamines could only be obtained through prescription from a qualified doctor, but by this time amphetamines were already being used in many over the counter medications, such as cold medicines and decongestant inhalers. Being able to obtain amphetamines through purchasing over the counter medicines, lead to further abuse of the drug and addiction for many.
Students also became susceptible to its beneficial properties, and used it to help with concentration and staying up late for studying. It also attracted recreational use, as meant individuals leading a party lifestyle could stay up for long periods of time with increased energy. Taken in large doses, users were able to gain a huge euphoric effect; hence why it grew in popularity throughout the party scene.
Negative effects of amphetamines
By the early 1960s, it had become apparent that amphetamine abuse amongst young people in particular had become a major concern. Young and healthy individuals were suffering heart attacks and strokes from over use and over dose. This led to tighter restrictions being placed on their prescription. At this point, drug stores were also selling stimulants and the police began to penalise those that were found to be selling them illegally. The negative effects became alarmingly evident, with individuals not only suffering heart problems, but also emotional breakdowns, sleep deprivation, malnutrition and psychosis.
Underground meth labs
During the 1970s, amphetamines became harder to obtain due to medical and police awareness. The demand for supply led to the drug being produced and peddled through illegal laboratories throughout the west coast. With no regulations in place for its manufacture, and inexperienced and untrained chemists mass producing, soon hundreds of individuals were arriving at hospitals sick or dying from taking the illicit drugs.
In the 1970s, methamphetamines were considered drugs with little medical use, but a high potential for abuse. Illegal amphetamine laboratories sprang up on the West Coast with many serious consequences. Although federal law controlled prescription stimulants, there were no such controls for the illegal labs. Many of them were dirty and did not use trained chemists. Soon hundreds of young people were arriving at hospitals sick or dying from drugs that had been home manufactured.
Experimentation led to individuals mixing stimulants with heroin for a powerful and practically unrivalled high, this is known as speed balling. During the 1960’s crystal meth (ICE) was manufactured; it produced such an intense high and craving for more that users soon became a slave to the drug. There was still very little known about how to provide treatment for this particular addiction or its long-term effects on the user.
Drug of choice?
ICE or crystal meth, is still very popular today and there are many across the world that are addicted with no treatment available to help them. In some countries the use of methamphetamine has reach epidemic proportions.
We believe that those that are addicted have no choice in whether they take the drug or not; every fibre in their being will drive them to take the drug and they will go to greater extremes, and take bigger risks in order to do so.
We believe the answer is to remove the individual from the toxic methamphetamine culture and place them in a safe environment to detox and rehabilitate. Recovery from amphetamine addiction is entirely possible; at Bali Beginnings, we have witnessed many miracles of recovery.
History of recreational amphetamine use
The German Chemist L Edeleano originally synthesized amphetamines in 1887. At the time of its introduction, amphetamine was originally known under the name of Phenylisopropylamine.
For many years it could be obtained on prescription and in over the counter medicines. It was hailed as a cure all medicine, treating a range of illnesses including the common cold, depression, narcolepsy and ADHD. It was also used during war, to keep soldiers alert and awake for long periods of time.
The recreational benefits of amphetamines were soon realised through its euphoric effects and in the 1970’s recreational amphetamine use his its all time peak. Its popularity soared in the US through three main subcultures within the party scene… Northern Soul, Hippy and Punk culture.
The US responded to the widespread epidemic of amphetamine abuse by making them illegal to obtain without prescription under the Drug Abuse Regulation and Control act of 1970. This drove amphetamines underground, and soon illegal home laboratories started to, and continue to, manufacturer it.
By the late 1980s Crystal Methamphetamine was increasing in population in the US and other large countries. Its negative effects were very apparent by this time, as more and more recreational users became addicted and mortality rates were rising from its use.
In 2004 the underground production of amphetamine in its varying forms hit a peak in Hawaii, Eastern Europe, the USA and Australia. Methamphetamine use and production continue at high levels in Hawaii, Eastern Europe, Australia and the USA. Levels of its recreational use also started to rise in the UK around this time. Cocaine and Ecstasy were the preferred clubbers choice, but more expensive and harder to obtain. Amphetamine was cheap, came in varying strengths and forms and readily available to buy. For clubbers, it provided intense feelings of euphoria and increased energy levels, making it the ideal all night party drug.
In 2007 the UK reclassified Methamphetamine to a Class A drug; this was due to a notable increase in its use in the UK, which was released in an official report, independently backed by police intelligence.
Amphetamines have been around for less than 150 years, but its recreational use has even influenced celebrities and a range of influential personalities, including Elvis Presley, Adolf Hitler and president John F. Kennedy.
Today the recreational use and abuse of methamphetamine is still widespread around the world, but is particularly problematic still in the USA, Philippines and Australia. Even recreational use can kill; you don’t have to be an addict to die from using amphetamine. Powdered forms are often cut with other substances and using large or even small quantities in any form can lead to heart attack, dehydration, brain damage and respiratory arrest.
If you or a loved one have a problem with amphetamines, it is important to seek the correct treatment without delay. Amphetamine is massively psychologically addictive and without treating the hidden psychological part of the addiction, there is little hope of the user stopping by will power alone.
Why is ICE such a problem in Australia?
A new study recently published in the Medical journal of Australia shows that there are 268,000 regular and addicted methamphetamine users currently in the country. The number of Australians using methamphetamine, including crystal meth or ICE, has tripled over the past 5 years according to stats released from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. In reality the figure could indeed be much higher than estimated.
Dr Larney, who conducted and published the study, said the results were based on the number of people seeking treatment in Australia. Furthermore, she raised awareness around the alarming fact that a large number seeking treatment, were between the ages of 15 and 24, with an estimated 59,000 users falling within this age bracket.
Dr Larney, amongst other accredited professional’s feels that the treatment services are failing to address the ver-increasing problem. They feel that the best approach to treatment is residential rehab or day rehab treatment, where intensive therapeutic intervention can be delivered.
Australia is more than aware of the impact it is having on its society today; it has also become evident that despite some towns being branded “The Ice Capital” of Australia, no single place deserves the title. Methamphetamine is everywhere and very widespread across the whole of the country; it has gained a new level of social acceptance amongst users in recent years. The drastic increase in methamphetamine use over the past 5 years has caught Australia off guard and is putting immense pressure on the police and health services.
A recent and very alarming interim report recently revealed that Australians consume more ICE than any other country. The methamphetamine epidemic is so rampant in Wellington, it has earned the nicknamed the “South Pole”.
Australia feels that the epidemic is tearing their country apart and they simply do not have the resources to cope with the magnitude of the problem. Putting treatment resources and deterrents in place takes time and money. Anwering how to beat the ICE addiction, an early education and intervention become the key to educate youngsters at school age of the risks of taking the ICE. The best they can hope for, presently, is a decrease through the future generations.
Methamphetamine is hugely psychologically addictive; it makes the individual feel invincible and super human. When taking meth, they are far more likely to take bigger risks and commit crime as they lose all sense of fear and judgement.
Other names ICE is known by
ICE is known by many different names in many different countries. It is a purified from of the man made drug Methamphetamine and most commonly referred to as Crystal Meth. Knowing the terminology relevant to your location can be helpful in identifying exactly what it is you are buying and using. It is important that you know the facts of methamphetamine and the potentially deadly side effects before making that decision to try or use it.
Street names for ICE
ICE use is an increasing problem for many countries around the world. It is cheaper than the purer drugs and the high is more intense as it is mixed with other substances. Here is a list of some of the common names ICE is known by in countries where its use is particularly problematic:
- French Fries
- Poor mans Cocaine
- Chicken Feed
- Dirty White Bitch
- Rocket Fuel
- Scooby Snax
A growing problem
Interestingly enough, in the Philippines it is THE most commonly used illicit drug. It is also particularly problematic is Australia and the United States. Users of methamphetamine quickly build a tolerance to the drug and will need to use larger and larger quantities in order to gain the desired effect. In the end they end up using just to stave off the very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Over the past decade, the Philippines along with China and Burma accounted for most of the world’s production and export. In the Philippines statistics suggest that as many as seven million people use methamphetamine, that’s equivalent to 10 percent of the population! Most countries no longer require the drug to be imported as they have learned how to mass manufacture. Australia currently has an methamphetamine epidemic on its hands, with the number of methamphetamine users tripling over the past 5 years.
How to recognise ICE abuse
If you are concerned that a loved one, family member or friend has a drug addiction, without them admitting what it is they are taking, it can be difficult to recognise the symptoms of whether it is ICE or another drug. We hope that this article will help you to decide for yourself if it is ICE that they are addicted to and the steps you can take in order to help them.
What ICE looks like
If you find an unfamiliar substance in your home or around the user, the following will help you to identify if the substance is ICE. ICE is not the most commonly used drug in many countries, but it is the most destructive and is particularly problematic in the USA, Australia and the Philippines. It can however, be manufactured anywhere and its use around the world is on the increase.
Methamphetamine is most often a white to light brown crystalline powder. It also can come in the form of clear chunky crystals that resemble broken ice or shards of glass (ICE)
Recognising ICE paraphernalia
There are many ways of ingesting crystal meth, it can be crushed and snorted, liquefied and injected, heated and smoked or swallowed. The most intense highs are achieved through injecting, followed by smoking, then snorting, then swallowing. Look for the following drug paraphernalia that could indicate crystal meth abuse. Smoking methamphetamine is the preferred method of ingesting the drug for most meth addicts
- Small bags of white crystals or powder
- Hollowed out pens with a crystalline or smoke residue (used for smoking and snorting)
- Syringes (injecting)
- Rolled up bank notes and straws (snorting)
- Adapted drink cans, used to heat up the ICE and inhale
- Pipes (smoking)
- Light bulbs (adapted and used for smoking and inhaling)
- Small pieces of aluminium foil (smoking)
The appearance of an ICE abuser
Someone who is addicted to ICE or abusing it is likely to change drastically in their appearance over time. It does not take long for the drug to ravish the body; ICE addiction symptoms can be visible through following changes in their appearance
- Weight loss and drawn appearance to face
- Dental issues
- Sores on face and around the mouth
- Scratch marks from obsessive picking and scratching
- Loss of interest in personal hygiene
- Staying awake for long periods of time, sometimes even days when they are on a binge
- Secretive behavior
- Outburst of anger and violence
- Disinterest in family and friends
- Lying, manipulating and stealing
The Risks of Methamphetamine
Using methamphetamine carries many health and psychological risks, some of which can cause long tem irreversible damage. As one of the most, if not THE most, destructive drugs on the illicit market methamphetamine carries both short term and long term health risks to the user.
If you are using, or even considering using meth, it is important to arm yourself with the facts around the drug you are putting into your body.
There is a long list of specific harms that are frequently and directly associated with meth abuse, including:
- Damage to the kidney and lungs that can be permanent and life threatening
- Permanent brain damage
- Erratic, chaotic and damaging lifestyle
- Permanent psychological problems and mental health illnesses
- Excessive weight loss
- Loss of friends, jobs, children, homes
- Compromised immune system making the individual more susceptive to illness
- Liver disease
- Heart problems and heart failure
- Psychosis, Paranoia and Hallucinations
- Severe behavioural changes, mood swings and extreme violence
- Promiscuity and paraphernalia sharing, leading to contracting STD’s, Hepatitis and HIV
- Resorting to criminal behaviour
- Staph infections resulting from itching and picking of sores
- Violence towards children and loved ones
- Severe neglect of children’s health and emotional needs
This is just some of the harms that can result from using meth.
ICE is the purest form of methamphetamine available and as a potent stimulant it speeds the body and brain up to unnatural and dangerous levels. The users behaviour will change considerably whilst under the influence of methamphetamine, so much so that they behave in a way that they never imagined possible.
Using meth in a household, especially where there are children present is especially dangerous not only to the user but also to the child. Meth users have been known to attack their own children. They become deluded whilst intoxicated and may believe that the child is an enemy. The severe mood swings caused by meth highs and comedowns, stimulate psychosis; even when there is no previous history of mental health illness in the individuals history prior to using the drug, this is a very real risk.
Regular methamphetamine users can develop psychotic, delusional, suicidal, homicidal or hallucinatory behaviours and traits. The outcome can be devastating to those that are close to the user. One study has shown that over half of all meth users develop hostile, aggressive and violent behaviour. As a result, others have been harmed, children are especially susceptible to neglect and sexual and violent abuse.
The truth about meth is that it transforms the individual’s personality into someone that their family and loved ones no longer recognise. Yet despite horrific consequences, the pull of the drug is so intense that they carry on using.
Short term effects of ICE on the body and mind
As one of the most powerful stimulants available on the illicit market, ICE delivers a potent high that lasts far longer than that of Speed, Cocaine or Crack. ICE is the most purified form of methamphetamine available and can be smoked, snorted, ingested or injected. Any individual using meth is likely to experience extreme euphoria, as the bodies system is flooded with the happy hormone dopamine, up to 1000 times the normal level. The effects of methamphetamine on the user are almost immediate especially if snorted, smoked or injected. Meth is incredibly addictive, mainly because of its profound and lasting effects. It is a growing problem in Australia and the USA, reaching epidemic proportions. Whilst the physical and mental effects are highly euphoric, they come at a price. Methamphetamine has a devastating effect on the mind and body and over time the euphoria wears off and the user is left with only the horrific consequences of their using. Once the effects of meth wear off, the cravings for more are so intense that they are often compelled to use despite building consequences.
The short term affects of ICE on the body:
- Increased levels of energy
- Little or no appetite
- Unable to sleep
- Extreme weight loss
- Sores and puckering of the skin
- Extremely itchy skin, feeling of bugs crawling under the skin leading to obsessively picking and self-harming
- Increased heart rate, risk of heart failure
Short Term affects of ICE on the mind:
- Artificial increased levels of confidence
- Significant changes to the users personality
- Disinterest in personal hygiene, self-care and responsibilities
- Increased risk taking and risky behaviour
- Paranoia and high levels of anxiety
- Delusions of power
- Aggressive and violent behaviour
- Neglect of, or abuse of their own or others children
- Deep depression caused by severe drop in dopamine levels once the effects wear off.
As you can see the negative effects from using methamphetamine far outweigh the benefits. This however, does not stop an individual that has developed an addiction to the drug from continuing to use. Meth causes a rapid decline in the users mental and physical wellbeing and often results in the neglect of children, jails, institutions and death. Because of the chaotic life style and the cravings that the meth addict suffers from, often the best solution is to remove the individual from their environment so they can undergo intensive treatment in a Drug rehab center. This keeps them safe from temptation, whilst they undergo a medical detox and full rehabilitation of the mind body and spirit.
Long-term effects of ICE on the mind and body
Long-term abuse of meth carries many consequences to the users body, mind and spirit. As one of THE most destructive and addictive drugs on the market, the biggest risk of long-term use is addiction. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that manifests in a compulsion to seek and use drugs, despite building and worsening consequences. Once an individual becomes addicted to meth, there is very little hope of their recovery without the correct professional addiction treatment. For many methamphetamine addicts this means being removed from their chaotic and destructive lifestyle and placed in an addiction treatment rehab for a period of detoxification and rehabilitation.
The pleasurable effects of methamphetamine are so profound, that addiction is common. The individual will always be chasing that very first unforgettable high that they received from using the drug. Chronic and long-term users of methamphetamine will find that they can feel no pleasure at all unless they are high on the drug. Their world becomes a very dark place as they rapidly deteriorate mentally, physically and emotionally. Methamphetamine is easily manufactured and supplied by home made laboratories, according to its high demand.
Neuroscience studies show profound structural changes to the brains of chronic methamphetamine users, altering areas of the brain that are associated with memory and emotions. This impacts on the individual’s cognitive and learning ability; problems often observed in meth addicts. Some of these effects are only partially reversible. Other long-term effects of meth include:
- Permanent or semi permanent changes to the brains structure
- Reduced cognitive ability and motor skills
- Memory loss and poor ability to learn and retain information
- Psychosis (sometimes this is irreversible)
- Dental decay and receding gums/tooth loss
- Poor concentration levels
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Tissue damage leading to a gaunt and haunted look
- Increased risk of contracting Hepatitis B and C and HIV
- Reduced levels of dopamine production in the brain, leading to long term depression and anxiety
How to treat ICE addiction
Once meth has gotten a grip of an individual with addictive tendencies, their future is very bleak indeed. Recovery from any addiction is not a quick or easy process. Addiction rehabilitation takes time, commitment and hard work. The meth addict has to want to stop and be willing to change in order for treatment to be effective. Many methamphetamine addicts want to stop but cannot imaging a life without meth or see a way out. The good news is that methamphetamine addiction can be successfully arrested and treated with intensive professional help.
Attending drug rehab for a period of time will provide the individual with many benefits, including:
- They will be in a safe and secure environment away from the temptation of methamphetamine and other drug using associates
- They will receive individualized treatment, designed to address the root causes of their addiction
- They will be shown how to live life free from addiction
- They will undergo addiction treatment therapies delivered by experienced addiction professionals
- Physically, mentally and emotionally they will be rehabilitated
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, 12 Step and Psychosocial interventions and extremely effective in treating the mind of the addict. This is essentially the driving force behind the compulsive and ritualistic drug seeking behaviour.
Removing the individual from society is the first step; this provides them with a safe place in which they can undergo detox and intensive rehabilitation. For any individual with a methamphetamine addiction, an absolute minimum of 28 days inpatient in a drug rehab centre is recommended. Statically the optimum treatment duration that is most effective is 6-8 weeks. For most meth addicts, the period of withdrawal will leave them feeling confused with heightened emotions. It takes time for the brain to readjust to not having meth; hence a substantial inpatient period of time is most effective to provide them with the best chance of achieving long-term recovery.
Following a period if intensive inpatient rehabilitation it is strongly recommended that the individual continues to engage in a recovery and and aftercare ICE addiction treatment programme. This assists them to coming off ICE drugs with the transition from addictive ICE addiction to normal every day living and helps to safe guard against relapse. Relapse amongst addicts is commonplace, so a long-term recovery ICE addiction treatment programme that keeps the individual engaged and focused and helps them to implement what they have learn during the treatment process, is vital.
Is your loved one addicted to ICE?
How to help someone addicted to ICE?
Being aware of the signs of an ICE addiction may be all the evidence you need to approach a loved one or family member who is acting suspiciously or out of character. Methamphetamine has a high mortality rate, so it is important for the individual to get professional addiction treatment, and fast.
Common signs of ICE abuse/addiction include, but are not limited to:
- Severe and rapid unexplained weight loss
- Decaying teeth and receding gums
- Hyperactivity and extreme fluctuations in energy levels
- Dilated (enlarged) pupils
- Sores or evidence of skin picking
- Change in social circle
- Becomes increasingly unreliable and irresponsible
- Engaging in criminal activity
- Borrowing or stealing money
- Severe mood swings
- Loss of interest in family and hobbies they once previously enjoyed
- Obsessive behaviour
- Aggressive and unpredictable behaviour
- Erratic sleep patterns
If a family member or loved one is abusing or is addicted to ICE the signs are hard to miss. There will be a marked change in both the individual’s appearance and behavior. It is important not to ignore these signs, the individual is very unlikely to stop using and get well without professional help and support.
When to approach the subject
It is seldom wise to challenge an individual whilst they are under the influence of methamphetamine; their behavior can be unpredictable and aggressive, even violent. Wait until the individual is on a come down, they are likely to be more receptive to hear what you have to say and consider accepting help. We recommend that you stick to the facts as you see it and give clear examples of why you feel they have a problem. Advise them that you will support them in seeking professional assistance such as a drug rehab clinic or ICE addiction treatment but make it clear to them that you will in no way enable their self destruction. This means not giving them money or continuing to provide them with shelter if they continue to use.
In our experience, addiction only ever responds to the tough love approach. There needs to be clear boundaries but support available if they genuinely want help.
Detox from ICE addiction
If you are addicted to ICE, and want to stop, it is natural that you will have fear around withdrawing. Detox as part of ICE addiction treatment isn’t pleasant and can be very dangerous if not carried out correctly. This extremely addictive purified form of methamphetamine produces very uncomfortable and distressing withdrawal symptoms. The intense euphoria and severe comedown, leads the user to carrying on using to relieve the symptoms and chase the high. Any individual addicted to methamphetamine will be able to identify with this.
Medically assisted detox
Can you detox from ICE at home?
The symptoms of ICE withdrawal will vary in severity, depending on how much the individual is using and how long they have been addicted for. If you are thinking of quitting ICE, it is important to seek the correct help for ICE addiction treatment and support; this can make all the difference to getting and staying clean. By admitting rehab you will typically be given a short course of approved detox medication prescribed by a qualified Psychiatrist, who will conduct a thorough assessment of your treatment needs. This will lessen the withdrawal symptoms and make the process much more comfortable and manageable. Furthermore, you will typically be supported and monitored throughout by experienced Counsellors, Therapists and Support Workers.
Detoxing from methamphetamine without professional assistance can result in developing the following symptoms, some of which can be intense and even dangerous:
- Depression – due to drop in dopamine levels
- Restlessness and feeling jittery
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme craving for ICE
- Itchy or red eyes
- Muscle aches and pains
Most symptoms will disappear completely after a period of continued abstinence, but some may remain for a while and may require further treatment.
Rehabilitation from ICE addiction
If you are considering detox, we urge you to seek medical support before attempting it. Detox only deals with the physical side of the addiction and allows the body to repair and heal. Addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease, so in order to stay abstinent we strongly recommend a full rehabilitation programme to address the underlying causes of the addiction. With out this, you will be at extremely high risk of relapse. An ICE addiction treatment programme analyzes the mental aspect of the disease of addition in conjunction with treating the physical aspect with a medically assisted detox. Addiction professionals around the world agree that this is vital in order to achieve long-term recovery.