Kerry Joseph will never forget the night it took three police officers to hold her patient down despite him being strapped to a stretcher in the back of an ambulance.
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“He was a teenager, not a large boy, but he was out of control, with the strength of an ox,” the paramedic of 22 years said.
The young man had taken the drug ice and was smashing his way through his parents’ home when Ms Joseph arrived with the police.
“It took about 40 minutes to control him,” Ms Joseph said.
“He was from a seemingly normal family.
“His parents were worried sick, they had no idea he had tried ice.
“It was horribly confronting for them to witness their son in this state.
“His temperature was through the roof. He was frying by the time we got him to hospital.
“That’s one of the things ice does, it cooks them. Their temperature spikes, they fit and they face multiple-organ failure.
“It is a horrible way to die,” she said.
Fellow paramedic Susan Gow has also dealt with her share of drug overdoses over 27 years on the road.
She works at some of the large music festivals held each year. Despite a heavy police presence, including drug detection dogs, the number of young people she treats for drug use at the events was staggering.
“This age group is not as street smart as they think they are,” she said.
Often her patients don’t know who made the drug or what is in it and they don’t know how their body will react to it.
“One of the big problems with ice is kids can die from a single dose and they die a horrible death over a few days,” she said.
The effect can’t be reversed with the use of Narcan, used to treat overdosing heroin users.
“All we can do is support them and try to get their temperature down.
“It’s a poison. It gets to me when people call it a drug overdose, it’s not, there is no safe dose.”
‘Crystal meth is the drug of choice’
A FORMER high ranking Nowra police officer has confirmed Shoalhaven has an ice problem.
“Nowra is no different to other country areas,” said Inspector John Behrendt.
“Crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride or ‘ice’ seems to be the drug of choice at the moment.
“And a lot of the crime we deal with in regards to theft, break and enter and robberies can be attributed to the drug,” he said.
“Unfortunately these crimes are seen as a way to feed that habit.”
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