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Ice cream that is so common in South Australia children are exposed to the drug through junkie parents

Australia’s meth capital: Ice cream is so widespread in one state that children are exposed to the deadly drug through their junkie parents

  • Studies have shown that children under five have methamphetamine in their system
  • Seven children who died between 2012 and 2016 had detectable amounts of ice
  • Doctors fear that “significant numbers” of children in the community will be exposed to ice
  • Figures showed that Adelaide has the highest level of methamphetamine use

The ice epidemic in South Australia is so bad that it is feared that children will be exposed to the deadly drug through their parents.

Doctors fear that “a significant number” of children will be exposed to the illegal drug after seven are found with methamphetamine in their system during autopsies performed by Forensic Science South Australia.

Studies show that Adelaide has the highest use of methamphetamine in any other city in the world.

The ice epidemic in South Australia is so bad that it is feared that children will be exposed to the deadly drug through their parents. Picture: a large amount of methamphetamine seized by AFP

The ice epidemic in South Australia is so bad that it is feared that children will be exposed to the deadly drug through their parents. Picture: a large amount of methamphetamine seized by AFP

Forensic Science SA and Adelaide University have been studying drug reports of 373 children who died under the age of 13 since 2002.

Researchers found that evidence of ice in children’s bodies was becoming an “increasing problem.” Adelaide now reported.

The study, published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, demonstrated the need to keep illegal drugs away from children.

Adelaide University co-author Professor Roger Byard said the alarming results warned that drugs could be passed from a mother to her children.

“Methamphetamine was considered potentially contributing to death in two cases, one with complications at birth and the other with significant methamphetamine concentration after breastfeeding,” he said.

“Since this is only a very small and select population, this could indicate that in the Australian population there may be significant numbers of very young undetected exposed to this drug.”

Doctors fear 'significant numbers' of children will be exposed to the illicit drug after seven were found with methamphetamine in their system during autopsies performed by Forensic Science South Australia (Adelaide shown)

Doctors fear 'significant numbers' of children will be exposed to the illicit drug after seven were found with methamphetamine in their system during autopsies performed by Forensic Science South Australia (Adelaide shown)

Doctors fear ‘significant numbers’ of children will be exposed to the illicit drug after seven were found with methamphetamine in their system during autopsies performed by Forensic Science South Australia (Adelaide shown)

Professor Byard said the results are not surprising given the increase in amphetamine use in Australia in recent years.

“According to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission 2015–2016 Illicit Drug Report, 67 percent of illegal drug seizures in South Australia were related to amphetamine-like substances, more than cannabis attacks,” he said.

Both the physical and psychological long-term effects of drug exposure aren’t clear, but researchers and doctors are concerned.

All seven children who were found to have ice in their system at death were under five years old.

In March last year, Australian Federal Police discovered 18 kg - or $ 13.5 million - of methamphetamine (shown), hidden in custom 4WD repair winches in Adelaide

In March last year, Australian Federal Police discovered 18 kg - or $ 13.5 million in - methamphetamine (shown) hidden in custom 4WD repair winches in Adelaide

In March last year, Australian Federal Police discovered 18 kg – or $ 13.5 million – of methamphetamine (shown), hidden in custom 4WD repair winches in Adelaide

No cases of children who died with meth were registered in their system between 2002 and 2006, one case was registered between 2007 and 2011 and the other six cases were registered between 2012 and 2016.

Professor Byard said the confirmed cases of children with ice in their system are steadily increasing.

This means there is a more general increase in the drug’s exposure to children in the community, the professor said.

Of the 373 children who had undergone forensic autopsy, 37 drugs were detected, including prescription drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, codeine, and hospital-administered lignocaine and morphine.

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