Ex ice addict welcomes Perrottet reforms

·2-min read

A recovering ice addict says the Perrottet government's commitment to counselling programs for users caught with small amounts of drugs could help break the cycle of addiction.

After close to three years, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet's government responded to the special commission of inquiry into the drug ice on Wednesday, committing to a $500 million reform package.

One of the major announcements was to create pre-court drug diversion programs for people caught with drugs, who have no prior convictions, giving users the chance to break the cycle of addiction.

They would then be given the opportunity to undertake counselling rather than entering the justice system.

Recovering ice addict Matthew* told AAP he was in favour of programs that gave people options, saying through his own treatment, he had worked on underlying trauma that led him to self-medicate.

Deep into his addiction Matthew found himself in police custody, which he said came after a series of bad decisions.

"For me, it was that bad. I was in psychosis, and I had to come out of psychosis while I was in custody."

After struggling with ice addiction for 17 years, Matthew says there are misconceptions about what drives people to use.

He first experimented with the drug when he was 25, after the death of his brother, saying he believes he was trying to numb underlying pain.

"Experimenting was probably the biggest mistake, to this day, the biggest mistake of my life.

"It's taken so much of my life away from me."

He first entered rehabilitation service Odyssey House by choice while attempting to rid himself of his addiction, but was re-admitted after relapsing and being taken into police custody.

Through treatment, Matthew has worked on the underlying trauma that he says led him to fall into a cycle of addiction.

Matthew said easing off the drug without help had become an overwhelming task that he could not tackle on his own, not knowing how his body would react.

"It just takes you away from everything you know.

"It's just evil."

* Matthew's name has been changed at the request of the interviewee.