COVID-19 (coronavirus) is serious – and it’s spreading.
Symptoms include fever, coughing, a sore throat, and breathing problems.
Most cases are mild, but it can be very severe.
People who use ice face unique risks when it comes to coronavirus.
If you use ice, it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself safe.
Using ice might put you at greater risk of contracting coronavirus.
Ice can damage your heart and lungs, which is the same part of the body that coronavirus affects.
Ice can weaken your immune system.
Using ice may reduce your awareness of the basic hygiene we all need to follow to stop coronavirus spreading.
Coronavirus can live on the equipment and objects you use to smoke, snort, swallow and inject ice – such as needles, banknotes and pipes – for hours.
It’s important that you don’t use other people’s equipment, don’t share your own, and clean your stuff as often as you can with swabs or an alcohol-based cleaner (with at least 60% alcohol).
For some people, ice use can cause severe itching that leads to sores on the skin that are easily infected.
Some people either lose touch with the news and other important public health information — or can’t readily access it — while using ice.
Right now, it is important to stay connected with the news as important community updates are being made very often.
It is very important to follow reliable advice about how to prevent the spread of coronavirus to yourself, your loved ones and the community.
Here is some important advice:
Make sure you read and understand this.
The Victorian Government is putting out regular and reliable information about coronavirus and how to stay safe. Find it here.
As coronavirus keeps spreading, the health system will be very busy and some of the shops and services you use will probably close.
Taking care of your own physical and mental health is always important but especially now.
Prepare healthy food to eat before, during and after you use ice. Eat healthy food as much as possible.
Eating and sleeping on ice can be tough but skipping meals and sleep will harm your health.
Stay hydrated by regularly drinking water and drinks with electrolytes (like Powerade).
Create a safe sleep environment. Create a sleep routine. Take regular breaks from using and don’t ignore signs of tiredness. If you want to sleep but can’t, try to rest and relax.
Get fresh air and take a walk around the block.
Some health services you rely on might be closed.
You might need to self-isolate. It’s important to be prepared.
Ensure you have enough harm reduction equipment, including syringes, pipes and straws, and a sharps container.
Make sure you clean them regularly using swabs, alcohol-based cleaners or diluted bleach (a concentration of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water is recommended).
Try to have medications, healthy food and drinks readily available where you are.
Have a detox plan in place, in case you voluntarily or involuntarily stop using ice or other drugs (your dealer might get sick and you might lose access to your supply).
When you’re coming down from ice, you feel exhausted and want to sleep. You might feel sore. You’ll probably be hungry. You might also feel sad, anxious or depressed.
Your symptoms might last for 10 days – or even longer.
If you’re planning to detox or think that you might detox while coronavirus is spreading, it’s a good idea to prepare now:
If you keep using ice during coronavirus outbreak, avoid close physical contact with your dealer, mates and co-users, and avoid increasing your sexual activity.
If you do come into contact with your dealer or take drugs with other people, prepare your own drugs, don’t share equipment, wipe down drug packages and wraps: click here for many more essential tips from Penington Institute.
Stay in close contact with mates and loved ones.
Send them a text or give them a call. Support each other if you can.
Coming down or cutting out ice is tough but doable. Add coronavirus and it’s even harder – but sooner is better than later.
If you are feeling anxious, ask for help.
Reach out for support to your own network, family or friends.
Put their numbers into your mobile or somewhere you won’t lose it.
ReachOut.com is a great place for young people, their families, and schools to find support too.
You can also contact DirectLine (1800 888 236) for free and confidential alcohol and drug counseling and referral.