The Ice Age

Published on 2nd February 2016 by

The American meth epidemic has been well publicized globally and there are numerous documentaries about the meth problem in America, but we don’t often hear about the meth epidemic which is sweeping through some other countries. Meth is causing a huge problem in Australia and New Zealand, for example, both countries which due to their geographical location are extremely difficult to smuggle drugs into. Meth on the other hand can be made using makeshift home-based labs and the primary ingredients are over-the-counter or prescription drugs which are readily available to Australians and Kiwis. With the price for other common street drugs such as Cocaine so high, and with meth readily available, those two countries are also experience a problem which is heading towards epidemic proportions.

Four Corners: The Ice Age is a 2006 Australian documentary by ABC which drew attention to the problem in Australia where, at the time, over 50000 Australians were believed to be addicted to the substance. Reporter Matthew Carney penetrates the world of ice addicts in Australia, or ‘skaters’ as they call themselves in the country, in an attempt to understand them and show their day to day activities (which pretty much amount to committing crime to buy drugs and then staying up for days consuming them). A female addict that he meets has 23 personalities, each with their own name. Another addict, John, was once a computer engineer earning good money but is now trapped in a cycle of ice and heroin addiction. Fast forward to 2012 and boom-time Australia and he could be earning a six-figure salary in Australia.

While the insight into the world of Australian addicts is interesting it is ultimately the problems that authorities face which provide the underlying message here, the film tells us that Australia has no dedicated treatment programs for ice addicts and no government funding for research into the drug. The film will have left the viewer in 2006 believing that the meth problem in Australia would only get worse, and it has. The number of meth addicts in Australia has doubled in the six years which have followed the broadcast of this documentary.

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