Facts About “Ice” in the Workplace

Crystal Methylamphetamine commonly known as “Ice” is now acknowledged by Australian government and law enforcement agencies as the most serious development in drugs of abuse in decades(1).

It is penetrating all regions and levels of Australian society and therefore potentially all workplaces.

 What is “Ice”?

Ice is the crystalline form of methylamphetamine (or methamphetamine), which belongs to a broad class of drugs of abuse that include speed and ecstasy. It is predominately smoked and usually more potent than the other common forms of amphetamine-like drugs.

What are the effects of “Ice”? Methylamphetamine increases the production of dopamine in the brain which stimulates the feeling of happiness and motivation. Prolonged use desensitises the brain to normal dopamine production and creates a rapid dependency to the drug. The immediate effects include increased confidence, euphoria, anxiety, insomnia and paranoia. The long term effects include heart and mental issues, malnutrition and physical scarring. These effects can put at risk the safety and well being of users and their co-workers.

Who is using “Ice”?

“Ice” use has been identified across a broad demographic of Australians. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013(2) indicated:

• 2.1% of Australians over 14 admited to using amphetamines in the last 12 months. • The percentage of amphetamine users taking “Ice” had doubled in the last 3 years. • The median age for users of amphetamines is 31, just below the median working age of 36.

What are the implications for the workplace?

Employers have a duty of care obligation to identify potential workplace risks and ensure a safe work environment.

• “Ice” is a very addictive and impairing drug with serious implications for workplace safety • The period of impairment for “Ice” is longer than many other drugs of abuse such as marijuana and cocaine. Workers may still be seriously impaired even after weekend use. • Except in severe cases of addiction ‘Ice” users are difficult to identify by casual observation. • Government organisations such as CASA and the RMS are increasing their programs of drug and alcohol testing in the workplace.

DASA has a team of highly experienced professionals in the areas of drug and alcohol training, policy development and testing who are ready to answer any of your questions at

info@dasa.net.au or 02 8001 2535

1. Australian Crime Commission report: The Australian Methylamphetamine Market, March 25, 2015 2. National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report: 2013, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare