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Experiences with Speed, Ice & Other Stimulants

Preferred Name: Scarlett

Gender: Female

Age: 29


Scarlett works in finance and at the time of the interview she was considering a career change and further study. She’s in a relationship and lives with her partner. She describes her ethnic background as ‘Malaysian-Chinese’: she was born in Malaysia as were her parents.

Brief Outline:

Scarlett first tried ice in her early twenties but didn’t take it again for a couple of years. Then she started taking it with her partner every couple of months. After some time her consumption increased and she began taking ice with colleagues during the week, and with her partner and friends over the weekend. After a while she began to think she had a ‘habit’ for ice and says she now ‘depends on how it keeps [her] awake’. She no longer takes ice at work, preferring to confine her consumption to weekends with her partner. At the time of the interview, she and her partner were reducing their ice use by limiting it to those weekends when they’re partying.

Scarlett's Story:

Scarlett was born in Malaysia and her family immigrated to Australia when she was a child. She works in finance and during her free time enjoys socialising with friends, dining out and doing yoga. From time to time, she also does volunteer work, which allows her to apply her skills and experience to help others in a ‘totally different industry’.

She first tried ice when she was in her early twenties with some friends. She didn’t try it again for a couple of years but during that time she began taking speed with her partner. After a few years, Scarlett says she and her partner ‘got sick of speed’ and started to take ice. Initially they limited their ice consumption to once every couple of months, taking speed, cannabis and ecstasy in between. After some time they started taking ice at least once a fortnight over the weekend, sometimes once a week if it was available.

In her mid-twenties Scarlett began consuming ice more regularly, including during the week and over the weekend while partying and socialising with friends. At the time, she knew some colleagues who took ice and they’d take it together. She says that taking ice at work enabled her to build connections with her colleagues and make new contacts. Despite this, she no longer takes it at work because she finds she can’t function effectively in meetings when she’s taken it. She now prefers to limit her consumption to a couple of times a week, usually toward the end of the week and over the weekend. Scarlett says ice makes her feel euphoric, ‘more awake […] open and gives [her] a lot of confidence’. She finds it also enhances her experience of social events. She considers herself to have a ‘habit’ for ice and says she ‘depends on how it keeps [her] awake’. Over the years her method of consumption has shifted from smoking ice to a mixture of smoking and injecting, with her partner helping her inject. She says she finds injecting ice ‘ten times more euphoric’ than smoking it. It also means she consumes less because she doesn’t need to ‘keep re-dosing unnecessarily’.

Scarlett’s family don’t know about her ice consumption and she has no plans to tell them. This decision has meant she avoids seeing her family when she’s taken ice. She’d like to have more regular contact with them and is currently reducing her consumption so that she can see them more often. Her partner supports her in her efforts to cut down and they now try to restrict their consumption to weekends when they’re partying.

In the future Scarlett and her partner are planning to try for a baby and she intends to stop taking ice before they do. Having worked in the finance sector for a number of years, she’s considering a career change and further study.


Scarlett (F, 29, works in finance, ice) explains that taking ice in social settings helped her and her partner build new business relationships. (Played by an actor)


[Taking ice] has opened up a lot of opportunities for me workwise. Same with my partner. He’s gotten more clients or more suppliers for his work as well […] So it’s like, one weekend we’d be talking and then my partner would say, ‘Oh, I need to source [some materials] I’m just looking up this company because they supply us with […] materials’. And then he’d say, ‘Oh doesn’t [that guy we met at the party] work for them? Maybe we should give him a call’. And so relationships build from there […] Yeah, so I suppose it’s given me a lot of confidence in getting out there and talking to people. And […] I’ve become aware of my ability to do that, so I’ve been able to get ahead when I’m not high as well.

Scarlett avoids taking ice at work because it affects her performance in meetings. (Played by an actor)


[My partner and I] try to avoid [taking ice] during the week because it interferes with our work. With me, I need to sit in management meetings. So that’s not effective using meth [ice]. I’ve found I can’t talk on it. My speech isn’t that great. When I was working in customer service, I was able to smoke and inject, and still be okay. But then when it got to management meetings, I just got too stressed, too paranoid as well […] that they would notice. And because we were so close together [in the meetings] I just couldn’t do that. So I would avoid doing that at work.

Scarlett says that being open with her partner about her ice use improved their relationship. (Played by an actor)


Being honest with your partner [about your drug use] works the best. I found our relationship improved a lot because I wouldn’t hide things from him. When I first […] injected drugs, I didn’t tell him. He found out that same day because he knows me too well. He picked it up straight away […] I wasn’t in a good state […] So he asked me, ‘Have you shot up this weekend?’ And I straight away just said, ‘Yes’ […] He’s someone who I know I can trust. And we get along really well. As in, with or without [ice] he’s still the best person ever. So that’s good to know and that’s come from a lot of learning. As in, he’s stuck around for me when I’ve been at my worst. And I have supported him along the way as well, when he has gone through his low times.

Scarlett hasn’t disclosed her ice use to her family so she avoids seeing them when she’s taken it. (Played by an actor)


If there’s something on [at my family’s house, then my partner and I…] aim to avoid being high. Although sometimes that hasn’t been the case and so I’ve tried to avoid family situations […] We don’t end up going to see my mum and dad because I wouldn’t dare. They don’t know anything about this […] I was just brought up from a very young age not to touch drugs […] and I always had to uphold the image that my parents expected of me […] So they see me when I want to be seen, which is the ‘good me’ […] As in, I haven’t been using ice at all […I don’t want my family to know] because otherwise I’ll feel like such a failure […And that’s because of] the expectations that my family have.

For family reasons, Scarlett and her partner intend to stop taking ice. (Played by an actor)


[My partner and I are aiming to stop taking ice altogether]. We understand that we can’t say, ‘I’m going to stop’. That’s not really effective. So we know that […] we’ll be minimising our use. We’d love to stop. I’d love to just stop and not be around [ice…] We’d love to have a baby soon. I’m almost 30 now. He’s 35 and, yeah, we’ve always wanted a child. And I don’t think we were ready until last year, but our frequent use has gotten in the way.

[…I’d also like] to see my family more […] My mum asked me […] ‘You live four minutes away. Why can’t I just drop in to see you?’ […] I’d say, ‘I’m not around this weekend’ or ‘I’m busy’. So they know not to come over unannounced because I won’t answer the door. So that’s not nice, not […] being able to have my family over whenever they want to. And that’s how they’d like to do things as well. Just drop in casually, just like I do, I suppose.

Scarlett looks after her health by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating regular meals. (Played by an actor)


During the week I just eat and sleep as much as I can. I do go to the gym. I take yoga classes as well […] I try to be as healthy as possible, and it sucks I can’t be healthy and maintain [regular ice use] as well because [my boyfriend and I] do love getting out and going for jogs at 6 o’clock in the morning when we’re not using [ice]. So we’ll get to […] Tuesday after we’ve had a good sleep, and we just get up and go for a walk in the morning before work and that’s very nice.