A roadside random drug test operation carried out during the school run showed that four out of 10 drivers had taken METH.
The shocking figures emerged during filming of Ice Wars - a four-part series beginning tonight, which explores the community response to one of the most popular and dangerous drugs of our time, crystal methamphetamine, known as Ice.
Executive producer, Alex Hodgkinson also said middle class professionals are taking the drug at WORK.
'Australians are the second highest users of meth in the world,' he said. 'This may explain the nonchalant manner drivers confess using it to police at a roadside random drug test operation on a Friday morning on the NSW south coast. It’s school drop off time, and four out of 10 drivers test positive for meth. Ice really is part of these people’s daily routine. Plenty of middle class professionals take ice, at work too. They’ll usually say it’s because a hit of ice provides an incredible rush of euphoria and clarity – and productivity. Most firmly believe they are in control.'
But he added it can cause full psychosis, long lasting brain damage and users are 17 times more likely to contract Parkinson’s disease.
The first episode features a Sunshine Coast woman who decided to rent out her granny flat to make a bit of extra money and suffered psychotic episodes when her new tenant used the kitchen as a meth lab.
Annette Harloff slept with her bedroom window open, but unbeknown to her she was inhaling toxic fumes from the tenant’s kitchen below.
When she noticed a 'strong, strange smell like vinegar' he told her he was a chef, but he was in fact an Ice cook whose midnight concoctions were making her seriously ill.
‘When I first met my tenant I didn’t think there was anything wrong with him, he seemed to be nice,’ Annette said. ‘He didn’t sleep a lot, he was up all night rummaging around. I had psychotic episodes during the time he lived downstairs.’
Annette also suffered anxiety attacks on the highway while she was driving.
‘I thought people would come and kill me,’ she said. ‘I was very disoriented. I went into the roundabout the wrong way. I didn’t even know it was a roundabout or how I’d got there. I thought what is wrong with you? He poisoned me.’
Despite the obvious and terrible effects of the drug, Ice has overtaken ecstasy, cocaine and heroin as Australia’s illicit drug of choice. It’s second only to cannabis in popularity.
The number of people Australia-wide seeking medical help has increased five-fold since 2010.
The series begins tonight, 7 February, with an insight into where Ice comes from, how it’s made and what kind of people benefit from the profits made on the misery of users.
In Sydney’s West, police embark on an operation to destroy a clandestine lab in a seemingly ordinary suburban house set up by a career criminal and meth user.
We meet Aaron, a patient at the acute psychiatric unit at Blacktown Hospital. Aaron suffers from schizophrenia and is a regular Ice and cannabis user. He sought help at the hospital because he had ideas of wanting to hurt people.
Detective Sergeant Alison Smith, of NSW Drug Squad said: ‘If only people could see the ingredients that go into making this. Some of these chemicals are quite disturbingly caustic and toxic to human consumption.’
Episode two next week sees a mum who is forced to take her bag to the toilet so her addict son can’t steal from her.
Episode one, What is Ice? airs at 8.30pm, 7th February, on ABC and iview.