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New data reveals increase in the number of people seeking help for ice

18 September 2017

New data reveals increase in the number of people seeking help for ice

The data shows that over a period of 5 years the percentage of amphetamine users seeking help at the Salvos flagship rehab has increased from 16% of clients to 57% of clients (a more than threefold increase).

The Salvos’ Gerard Byrne says more and more people are reporting ice as their primary drug of addiction and says the Salvos are struggling to keep up with the great need in the community.

New data from The Salvation Army has uncovered an alarming increase in the number of people seeking treatment at its recovery service centres for the drug ice.

Over a period of 5 years at the Salvos flagship drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Sydney, William Booth House, the percentage of ice users who have sought help from The Salvation Army has increased from 16% of clients to 57%.

Across The Salvation Army’s Recovery Service Centres in New South Wales, Queensland and ACT, there has been a 40% increase in the total number of people seeking help for drug and alcohol use.

“More and more people are reporting ice as their primary drug of use,” says Operations Manager of The Salvation Army’s Drug and Alcohol Services, Gerard Byrne.

“Many of our clients also have significant mental and physical health problems as a result of ice use. We estimate that the number of clients now reporting a mental health condition is anywhere between 50-70%. Ice is a powerful drug that has devastating consequences.

“The Salvation Army is struggling to keep up with the great need in our community. People can be waiting from anytime between two to six weeks before they get the assistance they need.”

Mr Byrne says the problem will only get worse without further investment from state and federal governments to increase availability of treatment options.

He says mainstream drug and alcohol services cannot keep pace with demand and waiting lists are increasing daily.

“Ice is now readily available in towns and cities across Australia, which has caused an increase in usage. Its relatively cheap cost in comparison to other illicit substances has also fuelled demand,” Mr Byrne says.

“Governments need to place more resources into existing drug and alcohol services, which are bearing the burden of increased pressure on already stretched resources. This has created a situation that is tearing communities apart.”

Major Bruce Harmer, Manager of William Booth House, says the Salvos will assist anyone who is experiencing drug and alcohol use problems, particularly those who are struggling with ice.

“Addiction affects people from all walks of life. It could happen to your friend, neighbour, co-worker or family member. Addiction does not discriminate and every community is affected by it directly or indirectly,” Major Harmer says.

Since its inception in 1961, more than 100,000 people have used The Salvation Army’s award-winning Bridge Program, which provides for the recovery needs of people with gambling, alcohol or other drug addictions.

“The Salvos offer a caring, supporting and understanding, non-judgemental environment that has helped so many people put their lives back together and find freedom from addiction,” says Major Harmer.

“We encourage anyone who is battling an addiction to reach out to us. It is never too late for people to give up their addiction and rebuild their life.”

If you or someone you know needs help with issues surrounding drugs, alcohol or gambling, The Salvation Army is here to help. For more information, visit or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).

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