Illicit drugs are more prevalent in society than you may think: many functioning drug users learn to blend their habit invisibly into daily life.
In recent years, the increased availability and decreased price of drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy have contributed to the growing number of users.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently announced that the Federal Government will spend more than $300 million on new measures to combat Australia’s booming drug problem. This followed a national taskforce report that found more than 200,000 Australians had used ice, also known as crystal meth.
Most of the money will be directed to primary health networks that address the problem at its roots, including prevention and treatment, rather than law enforcement.
“We believe that the medical and healthcare professionals, who are closest to the … people in need, are best able to determine how the money is spent,” Mr Turnbull said.
Drug addict Jason*, who agreed to a video interview with The Newsroom, gave a powerful and honest account of his daily drug habit and the reasons he turned to drugs. Living a double life as a health-conscious personal trainer and a dependent drug user, Jason sees the contradiction but says he can’t stop.
“I’ve got one side that enjoys my personal training … and there’s another side of me that comes out and that side is a side I hate about myself, obviously,” he said.
“It’s hard for me to stop drugs because I’m so used to them and I’ve adapted to the feeling they give me and it might be sick for me to say but it’s a wonderful feeling.
“At the end of the day you make your own choices in life and you have to be prepared to take the consequences … but there is no control. It’s not like there is a vaccine for drugs … people are going to keep finding a way to find these drugs and it’s going to get worse and worse.”
– Report and video production by Lisa Solinareos.
*Name has altered to preserve the interviewee’s anonymity.
Top photo by Ra’Eesah Lillah.