Ice Breaker

Most of the time, police will not be called when an ambulance is attending a drug overdose

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What happens when you use ice with other drugs?

Combining ice (crystal methamphetamine) with other drugs carries extra risks and makes its use even more dangerous. The more drugs a person takes (or is affected by) at a time, the more chance there is of something going wrong.

  • Why do people use ice with other drugs?

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    In an attempt to increase the effect of another drug, or to ‘bring on’ or prolong the desired effects. For example, sometimes people drink alcohol when they are also under the influence of ice.

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    In an attempt to reduce the negative effects of ice, usually when ‘coming down’. For instance, some people use cannabis or take a sleeping pill after they have used ice.

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    It seemed like a ‘good idea at the time’. Sometimes people will take drugs when they are already intoxicated, are not thinking straight or if people around them are using different types of drugs together.

  • The unpredictability of using ice with other drugs

    It is not possible to predict the different effects ice will have from person to person, or from using one time to another. Being under the influence of more than one drug at a time makes the effects even more unpredictable. Factors that cause the effects of ice to vary include:

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    Ice itself (e.g. its purity, the amount used, frequency of use, how the drug is used, whether the drug has been cut (mixed) with another substance).

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    The person taking ice (e.g. their mood, expectations, personality and individual characteristics).

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    The setting (e.g. where the person is and the people they are with).

    Find out more about how ice works and how it affects the human body on the effects of ice page.

  • Using ice with stimulants

    Stimulant drugs, such as ice, increase activity in the central nervous system (made up of the brain and spinal cord; the system that controls the activities of the body). Combining different stimulants (e.g. ice and cocaine) can increase the risk of cardiovascular (heart) problems and substance-induced psychosis. Combining stimulants can also increase a person's risk of experiencing serotonin syndrome, anxiety or panic attacks.

    COMBINING ICE AND stimulants
    e.g. ice and cocaine
    +
    =
    serotonin syndrome
    psychosis
    anxiety or panic attacks
    heart problems
  • Using ice with depressants

    Using ice with alcohol, cannabis, heroin or benzodiazepines ( 'depressants') places enormous strain on the body. In particular, using ice with depressants places extra strain on the heart which may lead to serious complications, especially among people with pre-existing heart problems.

    Using ice with cannabis can increase a person's risk of experiencing mental health problems, including psychotic symptoms, especially in those who have existing mental health problems.

    The stimulant effects of ice can mask the effects of depressant drugs like alcohol, heroin and benzodiazepines. This can make people feel that they are less affected by those drugs, increasing the risk of overdose.

    COMBINING ICE AND depressants
    e.g. ice and alcohol
    +
    =
    heart problems
    risk of overdose
    psychosis
  • Using ice with medications

    Using ice with stimulant medications (e.g. Ritalin) can increase the risk of anxiety and panic attacks, as well as other problems associated with stimulant use, such as heart problems and substance-induced psychosis. Using ice with some types of anti-depressants can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, especially among people that are on a Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant.

  • When and where do I get help?

    If you need emergency support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (a free and confidential 24-hour crisis helpline) or dial '000' for an ambulance. 

    For other support options, refer to the list of support services available in Australia on the Get Support Now page. 

Page last reviewed: Tuesday, 22 October 2019

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