Who are you here for?

Ice is a form of methamphetamine and is also known as:

  • crystal methamphetamine
  • crystal meth
  • shabu
  • d-meth
  • tina
  • glass
  • or shard.

It looks like crystals or a coarse crystal-like powder and can be colourless to white, but can also be seen in other colours.

Ice is the purest form of methamphetamine available and can be swallowed, snorted, smoked with a glass pipe or injected. Smoking and injecting are the most dangerous ways to use ice.

Ice is a stimulant drug, speeding up the signals travelling between the brain and the body, resulting in increased alertness and physical activity, making it more potent and more likely to cause addiction than other types of methamphetamine. Ice can also cause extreme ‘highs’ and ‘lows’.

Other types of methamphetamine include speed (white or off-white powder) and base (a white to brown damp, gluggy substance).

Ice and other forms of methamphetamine belong to the ‘stimulant’ class of drugs, which also includes amphetamine, ecstasy, and cocaine.

Usually a number of factors contribute to this.

  • peer pressure
  • escaping from reality
  • coping with problems
  • being rebellious
  • boredom and curiosity.

Ice affects everyone differently.

It triggers the ‘feel-good’ response in the brain (euphoria) releasing dopamine, sometimes 1,000 times higher than normal levels, to other nerve cells in the brain.

Noradrenaline, which is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response is also released, and serotonin levels are affected—this impacts your impulse control, appetite, mood and sleep patterns.

If smoked or injected, the effects of ice come on rapidly (within minutes). Snorting or swallowing produces a less intense high that can take up to 30 minutes.

The high from ice is most intense for the first 1-2 hours, and takes around 6 hours to wear off. The unpredictable balance of chemicals manufactured in ice means that your brain cannot restore dopamine to normal functioning levels. The drug takes 2-3 days to leave the body.

This can result in you feeling very low and this feeling can last several days and is known as the ‘comedown’.

You may also feel tired, moody, anxious, agitated and struggle with sleeping. Its use may result in panic attacks, depression, psychosis and insomnia.

The effects of the ‘comedown’ mean you may get less pleasure from life and everyday activities. It’s important to note that this is the after-effect of ice, and not an accurate representation of what your life is like.

If you have existing mental health conditions, you may find your symptoms increase while using ice and the impact of the ‘comedown’ may be more severe.

Ice use can lead to malnutrition, raised glucose levels, diminished kidney and liver function, and decreased saliva in the mouth—resulting in clenching, grinding and broken teeth.

Long-term use may lead to heart and kidney problems, increase the risk of stroke and seizures, muscle stiffness, anxiety, depression and violence.

Sharing needles can increase your risk of Hepatitis B and C, HIV and AIDS.

Snorting ice can cause nose bleeds and increase the risk of damage to your nasal passage.

Ice not only damages the brain and body; it can have lasting and damaging effects on your personal relationships with your family and friends and your future.

If you use regularly, you may feel like you need to use ice to get through your day for parenting, work, study or socialising with your friends and family—creating a dependency on the drug.

Are you a parent who uses ice? If so, make sure your children are supervised and safe, and seek help to stop using ice.

How do you know if you have an ice problem?

  • It’s causing issues with your family, friends and relationships.
  • You regret things you’ve said or done under the influence of ice.
  • You’re not feeling physically or mentally healthy.
  • You’ve become angry and violent, and your behaviour is unpredictable.
  • You’ve tried to stop but it’s been difficult.

Taking ice and other drugs, including pharmaceutical medications, and/or drinking alcohol while taking ice can be dangerous and may cause further strain on your body, including the heart, potentially leading to a stroke.

Smoking cannabis can make you feel more paranoid or anxious.

Taking ice and pharmaceutical medications changes the effects of both, and may disguise the effects of the latter (e.g. anti-anxiety medications) further increasing the risk of overdose. This is potentially very dangerous.

  • chest pain and racing heartbeat
  • uncontrolled body movements and fits
  • extreme agitation, paranoia
  • difficulty with breathing
  • headache that is sudden and severe
  • unconsciousness
  • coma, heart attack, stroke.

In an emergency if there is risk to life or personal safety call Triple Zero (000)

Start by getting help. It’s anonymous and confidential. Visit our Services and support section to find out what help is available for you to be treated by experienced professionals who help ice users recover.

Your family and friends can also receive support to cope with the challenges they face in helping you overcome ice addiction.

Ice users can and do recover. It may take a few attempts to quit. Stick with it, learn from these steps and try again. Recovery may be long and challenging but worth it.

Withdrawal symptoms (also known as detox) will occur when you decide to stop using ice. Your body and brain must adjust to functioning without ice, and you may experience physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms that may be mild, moderate or severe. These may take between a week and month to disappear.

Symptoms may include:

  • an increase in your appetite
  • aches and pains
  • irritability, tiredness and exhaustion
  • interrupted sleep and nightmares
  • aggression, depression, paranoia and anxiety.

Services to assist with recovering from ice include detoxification, residential rehabilitation, and out-patient counselling. Go to our Services and support section to get anonymous and confidential help.

Watch these real stories of recovery and hope.

Good outcomes are achieved if you continue treatment after withdrawal as you will be less likely to relapse. Continuing treatment following detox may include rehabilitation and/or counselling. Look to possibly securing ongoing support via out-patient counselling services, or psychological and behavioural therapies (e.g. cognitive-behavioural therapy) to support you through all phases of recovery.

What you can do for yourself to stay clean:

  • Maintain a good sleep routine. Try to avoid staying up all night and sleeping throughout the day.
  • To assist with sleeping—a shower, warm non-alcoholic beverage, meditation or relaxation exercises may help.
  • Eat a balanced diet, and try not to rely on takeaway and junk food. Your body needs nutrients to help you stay strong.
  • Look after your personal hygiene needs, and schedule a regular check-up with your GP, dentist or a mental health professional. Obtain a mental health plan from your GP if required.
  • Seek help from a family member or friend who you trust and can talk to about the struggles you face with staying clean, staying motivated, getting organised or remembering things.
  • Avoid contact with or sever ties with the people you socialised with during times of ice use.
  • Avoid places that are a potential trigger for you (e.g. things that make you think about using ice).
  • Get active and exercise—walk, play sport, join a gym, take a class, consider new hobbies.
  • If you were a heavy user, remind yourself that it will take time, sometimes weeks or months before you see all the benefits of quitting ice.

If you know or suspect that a family member is using ice—this may cause enormous stress and conflict between the whole family impacted by these circumstances. It is possible that some families are not aware that a family member uses ice, as many ice users continue to work, raise children or go about their daily lives. As a parent or family member, discovery of this fact may mean you feel anger, shame and hopelessness about this situation.

Some heavy ice users may become angry and violent, displaying unpredictable behaviour. If this is happening in your family, you may be feeling worried, anxious and vulnerable.

You may be nervous about how to speak with them or what their reaction might be if you voice your concerns about their ice use. You may also feel shame about confiding in others or seeking help for your situation.  A good first step is to seek help from professionals about treatment options, and it’s also important that you look after your own physical health and mental wellbeing. Help is anonymous and confidential, so reach out to professionals and discuss your circumstances.

Read through the information on this page to give you a better understanding of what your loved one might be facing; and visit our Services and support section for information on organisations that can give you advice and strategies to help you work through these issues together as a family.

Ice is a form of methamphetamine and is also known as:

  • crystal methamphetamine
  • crystal meth
  • shabu
  • d-meth
  • tina
  • glass
  • or shard.

It looks like crystals or a coarse crystal-like powder and can be colourless to white, but can also be seen in other colours.

Ice is the purest form of methamphetamine available and can be swallowed, snorted, smoked with a glass pipe or injected. Smoking and injecting are the most dangerous ways to use ice.

Ice is a stimulant drug, speeding up the signals travelling between the brain and the body, resulting in increased alertness and physical activity, making it more potent and more likely to cause addiction than other types of methamphetamine. Ice can also cause extreme ‘highs’ and ‘lows’.

Other types of methamphetamine include speed (white or off-white powder) and base (a white to brown damp, gluggy substance).

Ice and other forms of methamphetamine belong to the ‘stimulant’ class of drugs, which also includes amphetamine, ecstasy, and cocaine.

Usually a number of factors contribute to this.

  • peer pressure
  • escaping from reality
  • coping with problems
  • being rebellious
  • boredom and curiosity.

Ice affects everyone differently.

It triggers the ‘feel-good’ response in the brain releasing dopamine, sometimes 1,000 times higher than normal levels, to other nerve cells in the brain.

Noradrenaline, which is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response is also released, and serotonin levels are affected—this impacts impulse control, appetite, mood and sleep patterns.

Ice use can lead to malnutrition, raised glucose levels, diminished kidney and liver function, and decreased saliva in the mouth—resulting in clenching, grinding and broken teeth.

If smoked or injected, the effects of ice come on rapidly (within minutes). Snorting or swallowing produces a less intense high that can take up to 30 minutes.

The high from ice is most intense for the first 1-2 hours, and takes around six hours to wear off. The unpredictable balance of chemicals manufactured in ice means that your brain cannot restore dopamine to normal functioning levels. The drug takes 2-3 days to leave the body.

This can result in feeling very low, can last several days and is known as the ‘comedown’.

Ice users may also feel tired, moody, anxious, agitated and struggle with sleeping. Its use may result in panic attacks, depression, psychosis and insomnia.

The effects of the ‘comedown’ mean they may get less pleasure from life and everyday activities. It’s important to note that this is the after-effect of ice.

If your loved one has an existing mental health condition, ice use may increase their symptoms and the impact of the ‘comedown’ may be more severe.

Long-term use may lead to heart and kidney problems, increase the risk of stroke and seizures, muscle stiffness, anxiety, depression and violence.

Sharing needles can increase the risk of Hepatitis B and C, HIV and AIDS.

Snorting ice can cause nose bleeds and increase the risk of damage to nasal passages.

Ice not only damages the brain and body; it can have lasting and damaging effects on relationships with family and friends and impact their future.

If your loved one uses regularly, they may feel the need to use ice to get through their day to work, parent, study or socialise—creating a dependency on the drug.

If your loved one has children and uses ice, make sure the children are supervised and safe always.

How do you know if their ice use is causing a problem?

Your loved one:

  • Is having issues with family and friends.
  • Has said or done things that are out of character.
  • Does not look physically well or appear mentally healthy.
  • Is angry and violent and their behaviour is unpredictable.
  • Has asked for financial assistance.

If you are helping them financially it may be best to divert payment direct to rent, bills or food. As difficult as it may seem, try not to leave valuables or cash laying around your home, as this is a huge temptation for someone who has an ice problem.

Taking ice and other drugs, including pharmaceutical medications, and/or drinking alcohol while taking ice can be dangerous and may cause further strain on the body, including the heart, potentially leading to a stroke.

Smoking cannabis can make someone feel more paranoid or anxious.

Taking ice and pharmaceutical medications changes the effects of both, and may disguise the effects of the latter (e.g. anti-anxiety medications) further increasing the risk of overdose. This is potentially very dangerous.

  • chest pain and racing heartbeat
  • uncontrolled body movements and fits
  • extreme agitation, paranoia
  • difficulty with breathing
  • headache that is sudden and severe
  • unconsciousness
  • coma, heart attack, stroke.

In an emergency if there is risk to life or personal safety call Triple Zero (000)

Start by visiting our Services and support section to find out what help is available for your loved one, you and your family to be treated or supported by experienced professionals. Seeking help is anonymous and confidential.

Before approaching your loved one about the problem, wait until they are in a good frame of mind, and with subtle encouragement, let them know you will be there when they are ready to talk. Try speaking in a way that avoids conflict or blame, and encourage working together to find a solution. Let them know you are here to help and support them, if they are willing to let you. Don’t blame or point the finger, just try to work with them to find a solution.

Try connecting with someone you can confide in to help share your worry and frustration. Try not to panic—not all people who use ice develop an addiction. Make sure you continue to enjoy the pastimes and hobbies that are part of your life, like catching up with friends, exercising, enjoying meals out or taking a holiday.

You and your family can also receive help to cope with the challenges you face in helping your loved one recover from ice addiction.

If your loved one is using ice heavily and becomes violent, aggressive or appears to be suffering from psychosis—keep yourself and other family members safe and call Triple Zero to get help.

Ice users can and do recover. It may take them a few attempts to quit. Encourage them to stick with it, learn from these steps and try again. Recovery may be long and challenging but worth it.

Withdrawal symptoms (also known as detox) may occur when they decide to stop using ice. Their body and brain must adjust to functioning without ice, and they may experience physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms that may be mild, moderate or severe. These may take between a week and month to disappear.

Symptoms may include:

  • an increase in appetite
  • aches and pains
  • irritability, tiredness and exhaustion
  • interrupted sleep and nightmares
  • aggression, depression, paranoia and anxiety

There are services to assist with recovering from ice that include detoxification, residential rehabilitation, and out-patient counselling. Go to our Services and support section to get anonymous and confidential help.

Watch these real stories of recovery and hope.

Good outcomes are achieved if your loved one continues treatment after withdrawal as they will be less likely to relapse. Continuing treatment following detox may include rehabilitation and/or counselling. Try to help your loved one secure ongoing support via out-patient counselling services, or psychological and behavioural therapies (e.g. cognitive-behavioural therapy) to support them through all phases of recovery.

Tips to help your loved one to stay clean:

  • Maintain a good sleep routine and avoid staying up all night and sleeping throughout the day.
  • A shower, warm non-alcoholic beverage, meditation or relaxation exercises may assist with sleeping.
  • A balanced diet should be followed to help keep them strong, avoiding takeaway and junk food where possible.
  • Encourage them to look after personal hygiene needs, and help them schedule regular check-ups with their GP, dentist or a mental health professional. Obtain a mental health plan from their GP if required.
  • Encourage exercising together, walking, taking a class or trying a new hobby.
  • Recognise and praise any positive changes, no matter how small. Things like improving their health and lifestyle are important steps.
  • If your loved one was a heavy user, remind yourself that it will take time, sometimes weeks or months before you all see all the benefits of quitting ice.

If you know or suspect that your friend is using ice—these circumstances may cause enormous conflict or stress on your friendship. It is also possible that some people are not aware that their friend uses ice, as many ice users continue to work, raise children or go about their daily lives. As a friend of an ice user, discovery of this fact may mean you feel anger, betrayal and hopelessness about this situation.

Some heavy ice users may become angry and violent, and display unpredictable behaviour. If this is happening to your friend, you may be feeling worried and vulnerable while in their company.

You might be nervous about how to speak with them or what their reaction may be if you voice your concerns about their ice use. A good first step is to seek help from professionals who can offer advice for your situation as it’s important that you look after your own mental wellbeing. Help offered is anonymous and confidential.

Read through the information on this page to give you a better understanding of what your friend might be facing; and visit our Services and support section where you can find out about organisations who can give you advice and strategies to help you work through these issues.

Ice is a form of methamphetamine and is also known as:

  • crystal methamphetamine
  • crystal meth
  • shabu
  • d-meth
  • tina
  • glass
  • or shard.

It looks like crystals or a coarse crystal-like powder and can be colourless to white, but can also be seen in other colours.

Ice is the purest form of methamphetamine available and can be swallowed, snorted, smoked with a glass pipe or injected. Smoking and injecting are the most dangerous ways to use ice.

Ice is a stimulant drug, speeding up the signals travelling between the brain and the body, resulting in increased alertness and physical activity, making it more potent and more likely to cause addiction than other types of methamphetamine. Ice can also cause extreme ‘highs’ and ‘lows’.

Other types of methamphetamine include speed (white or off-white powder) and base (a white to brown damp, gluggy substance).

Ice and other forms of methamphetamine belong to the ‘stimulant’ class of drugs, which also includes amphetamine, ecstasy, and cocaine.

Usually a number of factors contribute to this.

  • peer pressure
  • escaping from reality
  • coping with problems
  • being rebellious
  • boredom and curiosity.

Ice affects everyone differently.

It triggers the ‘feel-good’ response in the brain releasing dopamine, sometimes 1,000 times higher than normal levels, to other nerve cells in the brain.

Noradrenaline, which is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response is also released, and serotonin levels are affected—this impacts impulse control, appetite, mood and sleep patterns.

Ice use can lead to malnutrition, raised glucose levels, diminished kidney and liver function, and decreased saliva in the mouth—resulting in clenching, grinding and broken teeth.

If smoked or injected, the effects of ice come on rapidly (within minutes). Snorting or swallowing produces a less intense high that can take up to 30 minutes.

The high from ice is most intense for the first 1-2 hours, and takes around six hours to wear off. The unpredictable balance of chemicals manufactured in ice means that your brain cannot restore dopamine to normal functioning levels. The drug takes 2-3 days to leave the body.

This can result in feeling very low, can last several days and is known as the ‘comedown’.

Ice users may also feel tired, moody, anxious, agitated and struggle with sleeping. Its use may result in panic attacks, depression, psychosis and insomnia.

The effects of the ‘comedown’ mean they may get less pleasure from life and everyday activities. It’s important to note that this is the after-effect of ice and not an accurate picture of your friend’s life.

If your friend has an existing mental health condition, ice use may increase their symptoms and the impact of the ‘comedown’ may be more severe.

Long-term use may lead to heart and kidney problems, increase the risk of stroke and seizures, muscle stiffness, anxiety, depression and violence.

Sharing needles can increase the risk of Hepatitis B and C, HIV and AIDS.

Snorting ice can cause nose bleeds and increase the risk of damage to nasal passages.

Ice not only damages the brain and body; it can have lasting and damaging effects on relationships with friends and family and impact their future.

If your friend uses regularly, they may feel the need to use ice to get through their day to work, parent, study or socialise—creating a dependency on the drug.

How do you know if their ice use is causing a problem?

Your friend:

  • Is having issues with family and friends.
  • Has said or done things that are out of character.
  • Does not look physically well or appear mentally healthy.
  • Has become angry and violent and their behaviour is unpredictable.
  • Has asked for financial assistance.

If you are helping them financially it may be best to divert payment direct to rent, bills or food. As difficult as it may seem, try not to leave valuables or cash laying around, as this is a huge temptation for someone who has an ice problem.

Taking ice and other drugs, including pharmaceutical medications, and/or drinking alcohol while taking ice can be dangerous and may cause further strain on the body, including the heart, potentially leading to a stroke.

Smoking cannabis can make someone feel more paranoid or anxious.

Taking ice and pharmaceutical medications changes the effects of both, and may disguise the effects of the latter (e.g. anti-anxiety medications) further increasing the risk of overdose. This is potentially very dangerous.

  • chest pain and racing heartbeat
  • uncontrolled body movements and fits
  • extreme agitation, paranoia
  • difficulty with breathing
  • headache that is sudden and severe
  • unconsciousness
  • coma, heart attack, stroke.

In an emergency if there is risk to life or personal safety call Triple Zero (000)

Start by visiting our Services and support section to find out what help is available for your friend to be treated or supported by experienced professionals. Seeking help is anonymous and confidential.

Before approaching them about the problem, wait until they are in a good frame of mind, and with subtle encouragement, let them know you will be there when they are ready to talk. Try speaking in a way that avoids conflict or blame, and encourage working together to find a solution. Let them know you are here to help and support them, if they are willing to let you. Don’t blame or point the finger, just try to work with them to find a solution.

Try connecting with someone you can confide in to help share your worry and frustration. Try not to panic—not all people who use ice develop an addiction. Make sure you continue to enjoy the usual activities that are part of your life, like catching up with friends, exercising, enjoying meals out or taking a holiday.

You can also receive help to cope with the challenges you face in helping your friend recover from ice addiction.

If your friend is using ice heavily and becomes violent, aggressive or appears to be suffering from psychosis (psychosis causes people to misinterpret or confuse what is going on around them)—keep yourself safe and call Triple Zero to get help.

Ice users can and do recover. It may take them a few attempts to quit. Encourage them to stick with it, learn from these steps and try again. Recovery may be long and challenging but worth it.

Withdrawal symptoms (also known as detox) may occur when they decide to stop using ice. Their body and brain must adjust to functioning without ice, and they may experience physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms that may be mild, moderate or severe. These may take between a week and month to disappear.

Symptoms may include:

  • an increase in appetite
  • aches and pains
  • irritability, tiredness and exhaustion
  • interrupted sleep and nightmares
  • aggression, depression, paranoia and anxiety.

There are services to assist with recovering from ice that include detoxification, residential rehabilitation, and out-patient counselling. Go to our Services and support section to get anonymous and confidential help.

Watch these real stories of recovery and hope.

Good outcomes are achieved if your friend continues treatment after withdrawal as they will be less likely to relapse. Continuing treatment following detox may include rehabilitation and/or counselling. Try to help your friend secure ongoing support via out-patient counselling services, or psychological and behavioural therapies (e.g. cognitive-behavioural therapy) to support them through all phases of recovery.

Tips to help your friend to stay clean:

  • Maintain a good sleep routine and avoid staying up all night and sleeping throughout the day
  • A shower, warm non-alcoholic beverage, meditation or relaxation exercises may assist with sleeping
  • A balanced diet should be followed to help keep them strong, avoiding takeaway and junk food where possible.
  • Encourage them to look after personal hygiene needs, and help them schedule regular check-ups with their GP, dentist or a mental health specialist. Obtain a mental health plan from their GP if required.
  • Encourage exercising together, walking, taking a class or trying a new hobby
  • Recognise and praise any positive changes, no matter how small. Things like improving their health and lifestyle are important steps
  • If your friend was a heavy user, remind yourself that it will take time, sometimes weeks or months before you all see all the benefits of quitting ice.

Real life recovery and hope

Services and support

Counselling, treatment and referral services

Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS)

1800 177 833

ADIS is a free, 24/7 anonymous and confidential telephone information, counselling and referral service for anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s alcohol or other drug use, including help to find appropriate treatment services.

Breakthrough for Families (Queensland)

Breakthrough for Families provides:

  • Free public alcohol and drug (AOD) information sessions
  • Connection to Family AOD Workers; and
  • Referral to other support services.

Counselling Online

Counselling Online is a free, 24/7 counselling service for people using alcohol and other drugs, their family members and friends.

Family Drug Support

1300 368 186

Family Drug Support provides help and support for families affected by alcohol and other drug use.

Other support

Alcoholics Anonymous Australia

1300 222 222

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

Beyond Blue

1300 224 636

Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.

DVConnect Womensline

1800 811 811

DVConnect is a statewide telephone service offering women who are experiencing domestic or family violence, free, professional and non-judgmental support, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

DVConnect Mensline

1800 600 636

Mensline is a free, confidential telephone counselling, referral and support service established just for men. It is a Queensland wide service that operates between the hours of 9am and midnight, 7 days a week.

eheadspace

1800 650 890

eheadspace is a confidential, free and secure space where young people 12-25 or their family can chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional.

General Practitioner

Talk to your GP about a Mental Health Treatment Plan to assist with counselling.

Kids Helpline

1800 551 800

Kids Helpline is a free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.

Lifeline

131 114

Lifeline provides 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services.

MensLine Australia

1300 789 978

MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men with family and relationship concerns.

Narcotics Anonymous Australia

1300 652 820

Narcotics Anonymous is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem.

Positive Choices

Positive Choices is an online portal to help school communities access accurate, up-to-date drug education resources and prevention programs.

Smart Recovery Australia

02 9373 5100

SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training) Recovery is a free group program assisting any problematic behaviours, including addiction to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, food, shopping, Internet and others.

Find out more about what the government is doing to curb ice and help families and significant others of individuals affected by ice.