Speed a promising treatment for ice addiction: expert

More hope and optimism from Australia. About these “hard-core users” for whom there is no “good alternative”–were they ever offered treatment on demand of reasonable intensity and duration?

John Grabowski, from the University of Texas, will be the keynote speaker at a conference in Sydney today on ice use.

Speed, or dex-amphetamine sulphate, poses a high risk of dependency and abuse.

The conference has been called by the NSW Government and is being attended by government representatives from around Australia and international experts.

Dr Grabowski said one of the most promising treatments for ice, or meth-amphetamine – associated with intense violent and psychotic episodes among habitual users – was the drug commonly known as speed. He said dex-amphetamine was already widely used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder and research suggested it could stabilise Ice users.

Dr Grabowksi said that while there were political difficulties in using a legal form of a drug to combat its illegal use, research was showing sufficiently positive results to move forward. Just as methadone, a form of opiate, was used for the treatment of heroin addiction, so the use of speed may become acceptable for the treatment of Ice addiction.

He said there was probably no other way to deal with some hard-core users creating problems for police and hospitals. “There is a population for which I don’t see any good alternative,” he said.

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