Pregnant and still smoking ice
A HEAVILY pregnant woman has told of smoking ice up to four times a day and admits she could give up if she wanted to - but she still continues to use the evil drug.
The astonishing admission from Penny, a 25-year-old from Morwell in regional Victoria, is a graphic illustration of the epidemic that has many Australian families in its grip. She and other women from the town, some of them mothers and even grandmothers, that spoke to the Nine Network's A Current Affair of their affair with ice.
"I could stop using at any time. But right now, I'm not in that right place," Penny told the program.
She has used other drugs, including heroin, after being introduced to them since she was a young child, saying simply "it's a completely different life".
"I was subjected to drugs many years of my life. I've seen my mum and my dad use," she said.
She was given morphine at the age of eight by her father because she had a headache - from then on a lifetime of drug taking awaited her.
"I've lived a life that this is all I've known, this is all I've been shown."
When asked by A Current Affair if she knew it was dangerous for her unborn baby to be taking ice she replied "yeah", but she had no answer as to why she kept on doing it.
Penny admitted one of her children was born with an addiction to heroin and morphine.
"They had to put him on morphine, and that's not something you want to see your newborn baby go through...I don't want this life for the rest of my life."
She lay some of the blame for the lack of support for addicts outside the capital cities.
"We need more support services that can help people in the community get off drugs and when they want to do it," she said.
"I've been doing this for so many years, and I'm just sick of it."
Maria, a grandmother of four, is also addicted to ice. She says the drug is "easy and cheap" to obtain, even cheaper than a slab of beer. She was confident of getting a point of ice for $50.
She admits to using some of her $350 a week from Centrelink to "sometimes" buy ice. And in an even more extraordinary confession, she occasionally uses the drug with her daughter.
"It's acceptable for me with her, that's fine, to have a scotch and stuff and in my eyes, in society's eyes, with your own daughter... But to do the ice... I want to be a decent person. It just drives me insane. I don't want to do this," she said through tears.
Maria agrees with Penny that Morwell and other country areas don't have enough support for drug addicts.
She claimed she was moved from Melbourne to Morwell to live in a run-down housing commission block. "This place", she said, was one of the biggest drug "triggers".
She wanted to live in a complex for "over 55s" and "I won't even be thinking [of drugs]."