IN FOCUS: Hit television series Breaking Bad, which starred Bryan Cranston as Walter White, brought the issue of ice into sharp focus, according to psychologist Stephen Braun (inset).
IN FOCUS: Hit television series Breaking Bad, which starred Bryan Cranston as Walter White, brought the issue of ice into sharp focus, according to psychologist Stephen Braun (inset). Ursula Coyote

Breaking Bad heightened awareness of drug use - psychologist

ICE use reached heightened awareness after the hit television show Breaking Bad, a Rockhampton psychologist says.

Stephen Braun, of Wahroonga psychology services, said whilst the ice form of meth/amphetamine was a problem across the nation, he hadn't observed anything of "epidemic" proportions in Rockhampton.

"The perception of it and what I actually see, it's not as big an issue as people think. It's an issue, but I see a lot more of anxiety, depression, relationship problems and eating disorders," he said. "It was always there. It has been around a long time."

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The perceived risk of increased meth use has prompted the introduction of a government taskforce specifically targeted at tackling the issue.

Mr Braun said whilst it was not common, he had seen kids as young as 15 experimenting with the drug.

"Your 12 and 13-year-olds are not doing ice. I first start to see it around 15, and that would be the high experimenters.

"Once they leave school there's a lot more of it. Once people aren't being monitored by their parents… then it spikes, but that's just drugs and alcohol in general," he said.

"Kids who have emotional problems to begin with, they have difficulty regulating their emotions and drugs are always going to be the way to do that because you aren't going to feel that good in real life. It's an escape."

Queensland Police's crime trend data suggests that whilst users have switched from powdered forms of the drug to crystal, and are using more frequently, numbers of new users aren't necessarily rising.

In 2013, 7% of people aged over 14 reported having used meth/amphetamines, a drop from the 9.1% in 2004.

Ecstasy increased from just 7.5% in 2004 to 10.9% in 2013.

Charges relating to drug possession in Capricornia have risen from 859 in 2010 to 1568 in 2014.

 


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