A Ballarat mum taking methamphetamine to deal with the pressures of work, family and housework is among an alarming number of drivers testing positive to roadside drug tests.
Ballarat police inspector Trevor Cornwill said one in four drug driving tests carried out on local roads returned a positive result.
“The results are a concern because obviously it shows that drug use is widespread,” he said.
With no previous history of drug use, police officers recently tested the 35-year-old Ballarat mother after suspecting she was drug affected.
When her test showed a positive result to methamphetamine use, she admitted to police she used the drug to deal with stress in her life.
“She stated that the pressures of running a household, looking after children, coming home from work, she took meth to get through it all and do the housework,” Inspector Cornwill said.
“Her life was that manic she felt the only way to get through it was using meth.”Inspector Trevor Cornwill
Inspector Cornwill said targeted drug testing of drivers meant police were likely to see a high level of positive results.
“We don’t do as many drug tests as we do drink driving. There is a chance of getting a high return because we are target testing, picking out people who we can see that are drug affected,” he said.
Inspector Cornwill said most drivers who returned positive drug test results in the Ballarat region had used methamphetamine or cannabis.
Revelations of the high rate of positive drug tests on Ballarat roads comes as a new national report on drug use showed use of cocaine and higher purity forms of ecstasy and methamphetamine is increasing among people who use drugs.
Dr Amy Peacock, program lead for drug trends at National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, said interviews with a sentinel sample of people who regularly use ecstasy and other stimulants showed recent use of crystal and capsule forms of ecstasy, of higher purity than pills, were at some of the highest levels reported over the past 15 years.
The 2018 NDARC Drug Trends Reports from the found one in four drug users reported weekly or more frequent use of ecstasy, half used LSD, one in three used ketamine and one in five took capsules with unknown contents in the past six months.
“Use of higher purity stimulants can increase the risk of experiencing acute and long-term negative health effects … (which) may include dehydration, increased or irregular heart rate, agitation, headaches, and seizures,” Dr Peacock said.
Dr Peacock said it was concerning that almost all users had also consumed alcohol, 90 per cent took cannabis and 85 per cent also used tobacco which further increased the risk of adverse health events.
A second sample of people who inject drugs reported increased use of crystal methamphetamine, with three quarters using it in the past six months and almost half using it at least once a week.
Cocaine use had also increased but only seven per cent of people interviewed used it weekly or more frequently.
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.