Addict's story: How I survived a $1200-a-day ice habit

"IT IS a demon. It is horrific. It controls you."

A 28-year-old single mum and recovering addict, Sarah, wants others to know: "Ice is beyond any other drug."

At the peak of her habit, she was using two grams a day - with a street value of $1200.

"That was when I was dealing," she said, saying that was how she funded her habit.

"When you're not, you have to make it last."

Sarah has just completed a six-week rehabilitation program at the Northern Rivers' Nungkari Treatment Centre.

She will spend another six months at a halfway house getting her life back on track.

She tells how her parents did an intervention, removing her six-year-old daughter from her.

Sarah had been using drugs since she was 14.

"I grew up in a small town and there was not a lot to do but plenty of drugs everywhere," she said.

"I started with marijuana and, in no time at all, was using speed, cocaine and ecstasy."

She said she was never an irresponsible mother, always making sure her daughter was well cared for.

She also held a job as a contract administrator until 18 months ago.

She was watched by police, but was never picked up.

"I'd take drugs when I got up and take drugs in my breaks," she said.

"I felt like I had quite good control."

However, Sarah said it was really the drug that was in control and she would likely have been dead by Christmas had she not received help.

Nungkari clinical director David Godden said the fact that ice was showing up at parties and social gatherings more frequently meant it was being used by more and more people seeking a new high.

"We have seen a 14% increase in ice or meth-amphetamine presentations," he said.

"The general profile is males and females between 18 and 35 from all socio-economic backgrounds.

"Apart from the user, the family is affected by their change in behaviour.

"This is attributed to the strength of the substance and its ability to totally derail the user's sense of self and dignity."



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