Ice better than sex, expert tells drug meeting

NO wonder ice has become the world’s worst drug problem — it’s six times better than sex.

That’s what New Zealand ice expert and former drug detective Mike Sabin told yesterday’s Melbourne summit on methamphetamine.

Ice can also damage your brain and turn you into a psychopath, he said.

But what gets people hooked in the first place is a feeling far greater than sex.

Mr Sabin said methamphetamine releases 1250 units of dopamine — the brain’s natural reward chemical — into the system.

That’s six times more than sex, which drops 200 units, and three times more than cocaine, which releases 400 units.

The average pat on the back at work releases a mere 100 units.

“The world has never known another drug that can reinforce such a major response,” Mr Sabin said.

But it erodes the brain’s ability to naturally rel-ease dopamine, which is why heavy users say they can no longer feel happy without the drug.

“They take the drug to try to feel normal,” Mr Sabin said.

Usually, he said, these users go on a three- to 15-day binge to maintain their high.

Often they go into a state called “tweaking”, where they stay awake for days at a time, prompting the most irrational and dangerous behaviour.

Mr Sabin gave evidence to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into ice last night.

He said Victoria had a chance to lead the country’s approach to ice by creating a cultural shift such as those related to smoking, drink-driving and skin cancer.

Mr Sabin called on authorities to strike a balance between reducing both supply and demand, coupled with treatment, instead of focusing on reducing the harm.