Crystal Methamphetamine (Ice)

This section provides information about the crystalline form of methamphetamine, commonly known as ‘ice’. It provides general information about ice, the demographic profile of ice users, and patterns and methods of use.

This section draws on data from individuals aged 14 years and older, from the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2014). The NDSHS is a triennial general population survey of Australians' awareness, attitudes, and behaviours relating to alcohol and other drug use. It is the best data source available to provide a national population demographic profile of Australians’ patterns of ice use.

To be consistent with terminology used in the NDSHS, this section of the NADK uses the term meth/amphetamine. The NDSHS defines meth/amphetamine as including speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin®, and pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

What is crystal methamphetamine (ice?)

Crystal methamphetamine (commonly known as ice) is a form of methamphetamine. It is typically the most potent and purest form of methamphetamine, and is usually smoked or injected. Crystal methamphetamine also goes by the names of meth, d-meth, glass, crystal, batu, or shabu.

See General Methamphetamine Information for more information about the forms of methamphetamine and how they are used.

For more information about methamphetamine visit DrugInfo.

What are the risks of crystal methamphetamine (ice) use?

The adverse consequences of using crystal methamphetamine (ice) are the same as using other forms of methamphetamine. (See FAQs What are the effects of methamphetamine use?, What are the physical health risks of methamphetamine use? and What are the mental health risks of methamphetamine use?) However, ice tends to be more potent and purer than other forms. As a result, the effects of ice are both more likely to occur and likely to be more intense than when other forms of methamphetamine are used.

For more information about methamphetamine visit DrugInfo.

What proportion of Australians have used crystal methamphetamine (ice)?

1.1% of Australians have mainly used crystal methamphetamine (ice) in the past 12 months and 1.4% have used ice at least once in their lifetime.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

Are men or women in Australia more likely to have used crystal methamphetamine (ice)?

Australian men are more likely than women to have used crystal methamphetamine (ice) (1.3% vs 0.8%, respectively).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

Are younger or older Australians more likely to have used crystal methamphetamine (ice)?

Australians aged 25-29 years are the age group most likely to have used crystal methamphetamine (ice) in the past 12 months.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

*Estimate likely to be unreliable due to small sample size.

How do Australians use crystal methamphetamine (ice)?

Among Australian meth/amphetamine users who report that crystal methamphetamine (ice) is the main form that they use, the majority (78%) typically smoke it.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

†Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

What proportion of Australian meth/amphetamine users use crystal methamphetamine (ice)?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetaminein the past 12 months, 72% reported that they had ever used crystal methamphetamine (ice). Fifty percent reported that ice was the main form of meth/amphetamine that they used.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

†Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Are male or female meth/amphetamine users in Australia more likely to use crystal methamphetamine (ice)?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, women are slightly more likely than men to report that they have ever used crystal methamphetamine (ice), and that ice is the main form of meth/amphetamine that they use.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

†Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Are younger or older meth/amphetamine users in Australia more likely to use crystal methamphetamine (ice)?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetaminein the past 12 months, younger age groups are more likely than older age groups to have ever used crystal methamphetamine (ice), and to report that ice is the main form of meth/amphetamine that they use.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

†Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.

Does crystal methamphetamine (ice) use in Australia vary by employment status?

Unemployed Australians are most likely to have used crystal methamphetamine (ice) in the past 12 months. Those not in the labour force are least likely to have done so.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

Employed: Self-employed or working for salary or wages.

Employment Status: Whether an individual is currently: a) employed; b) unemployed; or c) not in the labour force.

Not in the Labour Force: Engaged in home duties, volunteer/charity work, student, retiree/pensioner, other.

Unemployed: Those who are not currently working and are actively seeking employment.

Does crystal methamphetamine (ice) use in Australia vary by employment status and gender?

Regardless of employment status, Australian men are more likely than women to have used crystal methamphetamine (ice) in the past 12 months. Unemployed Australian men are the most likely to have used ice in the past 12 months (4.2%).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

Employed: Self-employed or working for salary or wages.

Employment Status: Whether an individual is currently: a) employed; b) unemployed; or c) not in the labour force.

Not in the Labour Force: Engaged in home duties, volunteer/charity work, student, retiree/pensioner, other.

Unemployed: Those who are not currently working and are actively seeking employment.

Does crystal methamphetamine (ice) use in Australia vary by employment status and age?

Among employed Australians, those aged 25-29 years are the most likely age group to have used crystal methamphetamine (ice) in the past 12 months.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015)

* Estimate is likely to be unreliable due to small sample sizes.

Employed: Self-employed or working for salary or wages.

Employment Status: Whether an individual is currently: a) employed; b) unemployed; or c) not in the labour force.

Not in the Labour Force: Engaged in home duties, volunteer/charity work, student, retiree/pensioner, other.

Unemployed: Those who are not currently working and are actively seeking employment.

Do Australian crystal methamphetamine users experience higher levels of psychological distress, compared to those who use other forms of meth/amphetamine?

Australians who used crystal methamphetamine (ice) as their main form of meth/amphetaminein the past 12 months report higher levels of psychological distress than those who used other forms.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

†Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Does crystal methamphetamine (ice) use in Australia vary by geographic location?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, those living in outer regional/remote/very remote locations are most likely to report that crystal methamphetamine (ice) is the main form that they use. Those living in inner regional locations are more likely to mainly use other forms of meth/amphetamine.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

†Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Does the proportion of Australians who use crystal methamphetamine (ice) vary by geographic location?

Australians living in inner regional locations are the least likely to have used crystal methamphetamine (ice) in the past 12 months. Those living in outer regional/remote/very remote locations are the most likely to have used ice in the past 12 months.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

Does crystal methamphetamine (ice) use in Australia vary by jurisdiction?

Australians living in Western Australia are more likely to have used crystal methamphetamine (ice) in the past 12 months than Australians living in other jurisdictions.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

* Estimate likely to be unreliable due to small sample size.