Methamphetamine and murder
A person bludgeoned with a hammer, a teenager who slashed his victim’s throat with a knife and a mother killing her newborn baby. These are just a few of the gruesome acts that have been linked to methamphetamine use. Meth addiction not only has devastating effects on the user but it also has dire consequences on the user’s family and the innocent people around them. Take for example, the violent ice induced rampage that left five people injured including a 75 year old elderly man in Sydney recently.
Dwayne Justin Lindsay, a 34 year old Melbourne man is currently facing charges for allegedly killing his then-girlfriend’s six month old son. Injuries to the infant were reportedly consistent with strangulation, shaking and blunt force trauma.
Highly addictive, Crystal Methamphetamine is the second most widely used illicit drug next to cannabis, according to the Australian Methylamphetamine Market. Ice is the most popular and most potent form of amphetamine to hit the streets and is more destructive than any other drug found in Australia – including heroin.
Australia has the highest use of methamphetamine than any other country in the English-speaking world. An incredible 1.3 million Australians have used methamphetamines according to the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey. According to Dr. John Herron chairman of Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD), “almost one in ten Australians have tried methamphetamines” and there are now an “estimated 73,000 dependent methamphetamine users in Australia.”
Not only has the total number of meth users tripled over the past five years, according to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, but the violence associated with the drug has exponentially increased as well.
In 2013, Victoria Police figures saw 3218 amphetamine-related assaults and 3990 burglaries. Methamphetamines professionals warn is creating new levels of violence that have not seen before due to the effect of the drug including murder.
Murder in itself is horrific. But some of the most gruesome and vicious murders recently have been linked to ice use. As Western Australia’s Chief Justice, Justice Wayne Martin highlighted “almost all our gun homicides are drug related and again the drug of choice these days is methamphetamine” (Source: ABC.net).
The link between Methamphetamines and murder
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug with a myriad of emotional and psychological effects on the user. Short term effects of its use may include sweating, headaches, insomnia, anxiety and paranoia. People high on ice can become erratic and unpredictable. They can also become detached from reality and as a result not know what they are doing.
Methamphetamine intoxication can also make people lose their inhibitions and become impulsive. Both factors that can lead to people to doing things they would most likely not do if they were not high on the drug.
The long-term effect of methamphetamine use includes: depression, impaired memory and concentration, deficits in motor skills, as well as more long-term serious psychological issues that can lead to the violent attacks and vicious domestic assaults we have been seeing a scourge of recently. Studies show that “half of the ice users investigated had shown psychotic, hostile or aggressive behavior in the prior year (Narconon.org) with 1 in 4 users having psychosis or debilitating aggressive psychotic episodes.
Associate Professor, Nicole Lee of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University, says ice releases 1000 times higher than normal levels of dopamine, which can result in a variety of psychological concerns including transient psychosis, severe mood swings, paranoia, delusions, and/or suicidal, homicidal or hallucinatory behaviors.
People high on ice tend to be anxious, suspicious and jumpy, which can also lead to more aggressive tendencies as they respond to their natural “fight or flight” response systems. This suspicion and paranoia then triggers violent episodes where the user lashes out and attacks those around them including children and loved ones. When it comes to ice the more potent the drug is, the greater the psychological issues.
Not only are meth users more violent towards other people. They are also more violent towards themselves. In records studied, suicide accounted for 300 methamphetamine-related deaths
Tony Trimingham, the CEO of Family Drug Support, says the biggest concern with methamphetamine use and ice addiction is “aggression and violent behavior, which is why the Australian government needs to as Dr. Herron suggests, “invest more in our treatment system, maintain our public health programs and continue to support efforts to reduce the supply of the drug.”