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Australia’s ice epidemic has trickled from the streets into corporate offices as the deadly drug makes its way into the veins of high-earning business men and women.
White-collar workers now make up a quarter of the country’s ice addicts even with users who work in the health and medical sectors, experts say.
Disturbing figures from rehabilitation company The Cabin Addiction Services Group finds many of its struggling users hail from the corporate world, and hide their addiction from friends, family and co-workers.
‘The classic definition of an ice user isn’t what you see on the news,’ Sydney clinical director Cameron Brown said.
‘We are seeing a lot of white collar workers and professionals who suffer from ice addictions as well.’
The drug itself is an expensive habit, with many users spending in excess of $500 per day to fund their addiction.
Juggling a high-pressure corporate job and an exorbitant ice habit proves too much for most, with many professionals checking themselves in for rehabilitation.
Addiction specialists across Australia are overcrowding with drug users from all economic classes – challenging the social stereotype of an ice addict as a typical ‘street junkie’.
The Australian Government Department of Heath places corporate ice addicts into the ‘functional user’ category – meaning the methamphetamine is regularly used by professional workers to supplement their high-pressure lifestyle.
‘In this context, methamphetamines are used to enhance confidence, alertness, concentration, motivation, energy and stamina, or suppress appetite and lose weight,’ the department said.
‘While social users readily recognise the illicit nature of their drug use, functional users are less inclined to.’
Ice has traditionally been associated with unskilled or semi-skilled roles, such as trades and construction, labouring, driving, hospitality and sex workers but is now common in more professional roles such as IT, management, finance, and in the area of health.
It was also found that many professional women said weight-loss was a significant motivator in their continued use of the addictive narcotic.
Ice addiction continues to plague poor communities – particularly in regional areas – with many places in every Australian state considered an ice-ravaged war zone as the government struggles to tame the lucrative drug trade.