THEY come in threatening self-harm, they have anxiety, drug-induced psychosis and are often suffering from terrible trauma.
Cases of possession and use of amphetamines is much higher in Western NSW than it is in metropolitan areas and the region's health services are under stress.
Ice addiction is not just contributing to crime levels in the community, but to the mental health of those taking this "readily available" illicit drug.
Health workers from across Western NSW were among those called to give evidence at the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug Ice in Dubbo this week.
Among them was Jenny Taylor who has worked in the region's health sector for the past 10 years and is currently the MERIT (Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment) and drug and alcohol team leader.
She said amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) use can lead to a number of mental health issues.
She said staff assist users suffering from: psychiatric disorders including depression and anxiety; post-traumatic stress disorders; personality disorders; early psychoses; drug-induced psychoses; paranoia and delusion.
"The population groups where this is most evident is in younger people, around 16 to 18 years, people from indigenous and low socio-economic backgrounds and people with a family history of drug use," Ms Taylor said.
"If a patient has complex mental health issues, it becomes more difficult to get them into rehabilitation services, as many services do not accept patients with such comorbidities."
Ms Taylor said ATS use also has a significant impact on those around them.
"ATS use can have a significant impact on families and children and can lead to incarcerations, relationship and family breakdowns, and removal of children, homelessness, unemployment and domestic violence," she said.
In her evidence to the Inquiry, Orana Juvenile Justice Centre nursing unit manager Cindy Wilson said a lot of young people enter the system threatening self-harm.
"A lot of children have parents in custody; parents with major issues with alcohol and other drugs; and children have often been in and out of Out of Home Care and FACS involvement," she said.
"There is a high proportion of young people with significant trauma in their history.
"We have a high proportion of homeless kids and more so with Aboriginal kids. In any given week, 85 per cent of the young people in Orana are Aboriginal."
- National 24/7 Alcohol and Other Drugs Hotline - 1800 250 015
- NSW Mental Health Telephone Access Line - 1800 011 511
Read more from the Ice Inquiry
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