The possession and use of amphetamines in the Penrith Local Government Area has increased by a staggering 50.9 per cent in a 12 month period.
The latest results from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) report show that while the NSW Police Force is driving down crime in seven major categories, there is still a concern in regards to the use of amphetamines in the area.
Methamphetamine is the most common amphetamine in Australia and comes in three forms including speed, base and crystal methamphetamine, otherwise known as ‘ice’.
The BOCSAR report shows that incidents of possessing or using amphetamines jumped from 232 offences from January to December 2014 to 350 offences from January to December 2015.
Former ‘ice’ user and Penrith local, David Collins, said the alarming growth isn’t a shock to him.
“It disappoints me, it really does but it doesn’t surprise me,” he told the Weekender.
“I know what people and families go through with it and to think that there’s more going on now is really disappointing.”
Mr Collins used ‘ice’ on and off from 18-years-old up until he was 32. Now at age 36, he has been off ‘ice’ and other amphetamines for four years.
The turning point for him came when he split with his wife and hadn’t seen his four children for six months.
“By that point I had enough; I sought help and went to rehab for three months,” he said.
“A little while after that, I got back together with my wife and we moved with the kids.”
Mr Collins now works for Christ Mission Possible, a drug rehabilitation centre and is involved with a local church.
Now clean, Mr Collins has well and truly turned his life around and is now helping others do the same.
“A lot of the people I used to hang around, they’re not my friends anymore; I totally changed my life and for the better,” Mr Collins said.
Part of the reason for the increase in amphetamine possession and use is due to improvements in pro-active policing or detection of crime by police, a police spokesperson said.