It’s the “cataclysmic, destructive” impact on families that hits local magistrate Clive Alsop the hardest when dealing with ice cases.
“The family resources have to be targeted at one person, in the same way that you would target resources where there’s serious illness or an accident that has prevented somebody being mobile,” Mr Alsop said.
“The families are trying to cope, trying to get people back on the rails and prevent them from getting involved with seriously nasty people.”
Mr Alsop has seen the clear connection between the use of methamphetamines and violence.
He believes a local spike in the theft of firearms, in particular, is linked with ice.
“I’ve never seen so many sawn-off shotguns,” he said.
“We are seeing an epidemic of thefts of guns from isolated rural properties, because most rural properties have firearms on them.
“I don’t have any direct proof, but there’s got to be some connection (with ice).”
Mr Alsop said court statistics showed no sign of the ice crisis tapering off.
He said Coroners Court records showed four years ago there were 14 deaths across the state caused by overdose of methamphetamines and last year, that had increased to 50.
Magistrates Court data showed 406 cases of ordinary street trafficking in 2009, which increased to a projected 1900 by the end of 2013, while the number of people imprisoned for trafficking went from 55 in 2011/12, to almost 200 in the last financial year.
“I’ve been in the legal profession now for more than 45 years and I have never seen anything as vinaceous or dangerous as this stuff,” Mr Alsop said.
“It just breaks your heart when you live in a country area, to look at this damage being done, destroying the community. It’s like a war.”
In Mr Alsop’s view, the most effective way to tackle this “war” is education which “sews a seed in the mind of a child”.
“This has to be pre-pubescent teaching,” he said.
“It’s the only possible effective answer, and the capacity to say ‘no’.
“Ice is not something that should just be done and tried as a once-off. This stuff, when you’ve had a puff or a taste or whatever you do, you’ve got a very good chance of being hooked and they’ve got you.”
He said forums, like Monday’s in Moe, were “critical”.
“The purpose of these forums is not to criticise and it’s not to judge people, it’s simply making people aware of the fact that this stuff is absolute poison.”