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Crystal meth: the chilling effect of 'ice' on emergency care provision

As users of crystal meth, or 'ice', become more common in Australia, it can place a substantial drain on resources in the emergency department (ED)
Meth pipes

As users of crystal meth, or 'ice', become more common in Australia, it can place a substantial drain on resources in the emergency department (ED).

The doors to the emergency department (ED) open and a 23-year-old man arrives by ambulance, shackled to a stretcher. He is in a psychotic state; loud, combative and abusive. As he yells and swears, other patients become anxious and frightened while nursing staff are on edge.

Code black is called. Staff are placed on standby. Sedative medication is drawn up.

This is the reality faced by ED staff in metropolitan and rural areas across Australia as a result of increasing abuse of crystalline methamphetamine.

When it comes to dealing with the effects of the drug, ED staff are on the front line. Patients and their erratic, abusive behaviour

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