Methylamphetamine 2013-14 Fact Sheet

Methylamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant drug and type of amphetamine-type
stimulant. Methylamphetamine comes in several forms, including tablet, powder,
crystal and oil. The most commonly available form in Australia is crystal (ice)
followed by powder (speed).
Australian drug users now prefer crystal methylamphetamine over the powder form.
Crystal methylamphetamine is more desired by users as it can be smoked as well as
injected, and is perceived to be ‘purer’ than the powder form. Methylamphetamine
is addictive and often used in conjunction with other drugs. These factors, and the
ready availability of methylamphetamine in all its forms, have created new demand
in areas where the drug has not previously been present. This includes in regional,
rural and disadvantaged communities.
Users of methylamphetamine are at increased risk of a range of health-related
harms, particularly increased risk of psychosis and mental illness. Long-term use can
result in memory loss and an increased risk of heart failure and stroke. Users also
display higher levels of aggression and violent behaviour, including assaults and
sexual assaults. these harms have placed significant demands on the resources of
the health care system which treats both users and victims of of the violent
Since 2010, there has been significant growth in the Australian methylamphetamine
market, including growth in the detected importation, manufacture and supply of
the drug. Methylamphetamine is currently the third most commonly used illicit drug
in Australia, following cannabis and MDMA.
More than 60 per cent of Australia’s highest risk criminal targets, including
transnational targets, are involved in the Australian methylamphetamine market.
The majority of these targets are involved in multiple drug markets. The growth in
scale of serious and organised crime involvement is the result of the significant
profits to be made.
Australian users of methylamphetamine pay a premium price compared to those in
other countries, making importations to Australia attractive and profitable. The
average street price per gram of crystal methylaphetamine in China is is USD$80. In
Australia it is USD$500. The precursor chemical market is also characterised by high
demand and high profits.
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