It took some time for doctors and nurses in hospital emergency rooms to get the help they needed to subdue ice-addicted patients experiencing a psychotic episode.
New guidelines have been drawn up on what staff should do if a patient refuses to swallow sedatives - they now have permission to give them an injection.
Horror stories have emerged about what is going on in ER. One young woman chewed off her toes, a man chopped his finger off and refused to let staff re-attach it, and a man ran on the spot beside his bed for 24 hours until he finally collapsed.
Paramedics across the country have described the super-human strength ice-affected patients seem to have. "The patient was a female of very slight build, probably around 40 to 50 kilos" veteran medic Scott Stanton said. "It took three of us to restrain her, with the assistance of police, before we could give her an injection to try and sedate her."
Senior police believe the ice epidemic is responsible for the shocking increase of violence against women and children and are naming ice as "the drug of mass destruction."
Ice was used by almost half of a sample of 2,310 prisoners interviewed in 2014 and in the latest survey, detainees said they had no problem getting the drug, there were plenty of dealers, quality was high and very affordable.
HOW ICE DESTROYS THE BRAIN
· Ice is a stimulant, a methamphetamine that speeds up the messages between the brain and the body.
· It usually looks like small chunky clear crystals, hence the name ice. It can also come as white or brownish powder.
· It is usually smoked or injected, with effects felt in seconds. The effects are slower when swallowed or snorted and can last about 6 hours.
· Ice causes dopamine levels in the brain to shoot from 100 to around 1,250 units, about 12 times as much of a release of dopamine as you get from food and sex
· When the drug wears off, users experience a debilitating depression and urge to get more of the drug.
· Persistent use can change brain chemistry, destroying the brain's pleasure centers
· Long term use can cause severe impairment in memory, judgment and motor coordination
· Changes in brain chemistry can lead to violent behaviour, anxiety and wakefulness
· it also causes psychotic behaviour, such as paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. Many users report feeling insects crawling beneath their skin.