Crystal methamphetamine: support for family & friends

Having a family member or friend who uses crystal methamphetamine may place you or someone you know under immense strain. It can make you feel frustrated, anxious, desperate and helpless.

It’s important to realise that you are not alone and that help is available. ADIN's help and support services is here to provide information and point you in the best direction.

A good start is to download the free guide for family and friends for more information on how you can support a loved one using crystal methamphetamine.

What is crystal methamphetamine?

Crystal methamphetamine – also known as ice – is a stimulant drug. Stimulants speed up the messages travelling between the brain and the body. The drug usually comes as small, chunky clear crystals that look like ice. It can also come as white or brownish crystal-like powder with a strong smell and bitter taste.

For more on crystal methamphetamine and its effects, check out our Fact Sheet at DrugInfo.

What you can do to help a loved one who uses crystal methamphetamine

Many of the most effective ways of helping a loved one who uses ice seem to go against natural reactions. Condemning people, offering advice or trying to ‘rescue’ them are not productive. It can be challenging to fight your natural response, and you won’t get it right all the time, but the following are helpful approaches to take.

  • It helps just to listen – if your family member or friend wants to talk to you about their experience with ice or explain why they use it, try to listen without interrupting, passing judgement or becoming upset.
  • Encourage change – a person must decide for themselves when they want to stop or reduce their ice use.
  • Set boundaries – Communicate rules about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour in your home and the consequences for breaking rules.
  • Help them to be responsible – it would be natural for you to try and protect your family member or friend from the problems caused by their ice use. But you aren’t helping them (or yourself) by ‘cleaning up’ the mess they make.
  • Find treatment options – While there are many treatment and support options available to help combat ice use, the person must be ready to seek help. It is important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another person, and that different approaches may prove successful at different stages.
  • Acknowledge the small changes – it can be hard to stay positive when someone you love is struggling with the effects of ice and all the issues that using it can cause. But try to acknowledge the positive steps you all make to deal with the challenges.

Further information

DrugInfo is a service provided by the Australian Drug Foundation that offers information about alcohol and other drugs and the prevention of related harms.

The Other Talk
It can be difficult for parents to talk with their children about alcohol and other drugs but having open communication with your family has never been so important. Equip yourself with the right information by visiting The Other Talk website.