WAGGA’S hopes of shaking the unwanted tag of Australia’s ice capital could rest with a new drug trial, according to a councillor.
Earlier in the year national media, including 60 Minutes and The Daily Telegraph, targeted Wagga as being “trapped in a cycle of drugs”.
A world-first study could see the decrease in the use of methamphetamines and may be the answer to addressing the regional ice epidemic, in the following years.
Wagga’s City Councillor, Yvonne Braid, responded to the study as a starting point and a chance for the town’s “dreadful” image of “ice capital of Australia” to be erased.
“I think we’ve got to start somewhere, drugs are just the end of the world, rural areas and metropolitan areas are all suffering,” Cr Braid said.
“We as a council have to think very seriously about what we do to take that name away from us.”
Cr Braid believed greater exposure and police presence for a town that is growing would lead to more “visibility”, however she said the funding would need to come from the state government.
“I think we should really be pushing the state government for an additional police station and more police officers.”
A pill used to treat children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder will be given to 180 participants in a new trial at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney as a treatment for ice addiction.
Researchers will use a higher dosage of the ADHD children’s medication lisdexamfetamine. Currently approved at 70mg, the pill will be increased to 250mg a day to half of the participants over a two year period.
Lead researcher of the study, Dr Nadine Ezard, said the properties of the stimulant drug lisdex are similar to that of methamphetamine.
“Lisdex improves concentration, attention, focus and we are trialing it because we have theorised it will also treat some of the symptoms of methamphetamine like withdrawals and cravings,” Dr Ezard said.
The current treatments don’t cater for those who are “severely dependent” on ice and where counselling does not work.
“We don’t have much to offer to them at the moment and in fact there’s been no medication that has been proof of treating methamphetamine dependence,” she said.