Statement from Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash on calls to legalise the drug “ice”

The Australian Government will never legalise a drug that destroys brain function, mental wellbeing, general health, employment, relationships, lives and families.

Page last updated: 08 September 2015

PDF printable version of Statement from Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash on calls to legalise the drug “ice” (PDF 243 KB)

8 September 2015

“Ice typically contains poisons. Ingredients often include acetone, found in nail polish remover and paint thinner; sulphuric acid as you’d find in drain or toilet cleaner, and lithium, which is used in batteries.

“Ice is a powerful psychoactive stimulant with strong links to violence and depression. It is an amphetamine – not a drug which relaxes or calms people. Ice is not a “soft” drug. After heavy use, the body reduces or ceases making its own serotonin and dopamine – chemicals necessary to feel good. Users often fall into depression and sometimes suicide.

“Ice literally breaks down the neural pathways in the brain. Ice ruins memory, concentration and focus. Ice ruins the health of users.

“I’ve met addicts and recovering addicts in the past six months. I’ve looked into their eyes; and I’ve also met their mothers. I could never sleep at night knowing I’d been part of a government that legalised a substance which caused so much physical and mental pain.

“During my recent 25,000 kilometre tour holding community consultations on ice – I’ve now done so in 12 regional communities – police of all ranks have repeatedly told me we can’t arrest our way out of the ice problem. I’ve been open to new suggestions and understand a range of measures are needed. Education is key – we must teach our young people about the dangers of ice. There’s no need to exaggerate the message – the truth is scary enough.

“However, legalising the drug would send the message that ice is not dangerous. This is the wrong message to send. Legalising what is arguably the worst drug Australia has seen is madness.

“A Coalition Government will never legalise a drug that destroys brain function, mental wellbeing, general health, employment, relationships, lives and families.”

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

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