Former surfing world champion and recovering methamphetamine-addict Tom Carroll has issued a stern warning to casual users that the drug “will be their biggest taker”.
Carroll became addicted to methamphetamine, also known as ice, in the early 2000s – almost a decade after his professional surfing career ended.
He said the impact of ice addiction was wide-reaching and extended beyond the user.
“It can tear whole communities apart,” he told 7.30.
“It doesn’t just tear the family, but the ripple effect goes right out to the whole community and it just destroys us from the inside out.”
Carroll’s comments come after the Federal Government last month announced plans to form a national taskforce to tackle the growing methamphetamine trade.
“I think [the taskforce] is a great idea to have attention and not to turn away from it,” he said.
Users ‘treading on thin ice – literally’
Carroll warned users the path to ice addiction was slippery and fraught with danger.
While he initially turned to the drug to help deal with personal and professional challenges, Carroll said his habit quickly spiralled out of control.
“It wasn’t me that started to emerge,” he said.
“It was someone very angry, someone who was toxic, someone who was falling apart emotionally and trying to hold up.
“I was lucky to get help at the right time and be open to it.”
After entering rehab in 2006, Carroll was able to rebuild his life and today helps others deal with the terrible toll of addiction.
He warned users not to treat their drug use lightly.
“Just know that they’re treading on thin ice – literally,” he said.
Police fear warnings go unheeded
NSW Drug Squad Commander Detective Inspector Tony Cooke said police were concerned their messages were not reaching casual or recreational ice users, who researchers say account for 70 per cent of methamphetamine users.
He said anyone considering using ice should pay attention to the stories of recovered addicts.
“We need to get the message to them that the results will be the same,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, the results will be the same.
“It fries your brain and … it will get you.”
Casual users do not fear addiction
David from inner-city Melbourne used the drug for the first time at a 60th birthday party.
“I smoked it with the birthday boy … out of a wine glass,” he said.
David, who works as a social worker and studies, said he had used ice casually, but has never become addicted.
“In my old work, which was an office job, you’d go out with friends and someone might use it and that was about it,” he said.
“There [are] plenty of people I know who use it who aren’t addicts by any means.”
But Carroll warned that kind of thinking could be dangerous.
“It will be your greatest taker and it will take everything,” he said.