Ice history long and sordid

IT may be labelled as the newest drug on the market, but ‘ice’ actually has its origins in Japan, when crystal methamphetamine was first invented by chemist Akira Ogata in 1919.

It was not until World War II that it actually started being taken on a large scale.

It is widely accepted that many different countries used crystal meth on their own soldiers to keep them awake for extended periods and suppress appetite, while Japanese Kamikaze pilots were injected with high doses before their suicide missions.

After the war ended, the drug was in high supply in the USA and Japan before the 1974 Drug Control Act in America was put in place to restrict large-scale abuse.

The majority of the drug trade then evolved mainly in Californian cities.

Ice started to hit Melbourne streets in the late 1990s.

From about 2010 onwards ice has become prolific among the Ballarat drug scene and for many users became the drug of choice.

In 2013, the Victorian announced it would hold a parliamentary enquiry in regional Victoria in response to the ice epidemic.

The hearing has already been held in Geelong and Bendigo and will come to Ballarat on Monday.

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