"The thought of not using it, I would prefer to die than not, it's too scary to give it up."
Benders lasting four of five days are leaving ice addicts sleep deprived and when they're coming down that's the most dangerous time, the Ice Inquiry heard on Thursday.
The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug Ice has wound up after three days of hearing evidence from police, paramedics, health and hospital workers and drug and alcohol service providers.
NSW Department of Family and Community Services' (FaCS) Teena Bonham gave evidence for an hour on Thursday and spoke of the horrors of ice addition and its impact on families and communities.
"There has been suicides where family members have attributed this to ice use ... they believe it's a spur of the moment thing that people take their own lives," she said.
"They're sleep deprived after four of five days on the drug and they think there's no way of getting it again."
Ice users have told Ms Bonham that they "would prefer to die" than not use it as it was "too scary to give up".
This, she said, was impacting family structures and often children of addicts were being cared for by relatives so they would not fall victim to the impacts of ice such as violence and neglect.
"It is very significant and very common within our communities," she said.
She truly believed that her children were the devil and she'd kill anyone that was on her country.NSW Department of Family and Community Services' Teena Bonham says of one ice addict
However, not all children have a relative to care for them and of the 117 children who entered care between January, 2018 and May 15, 2019, 79 of them had parents who were impacted by ice use.
"They're [families] telling me that ice is crippling their communities, that they've never seen anything like this before," Ms Bonham said.
"Ice is the one thing that's taking their young people away at a very fast rate."
Recently, an ice addict told Ms Bonham that: 'She truly believed that her children were the devil and she'd kill anyone that was on her country'.
"Her beliefs were real at the time and you couldn't convince her that her beliefs weren't real.
"I saw her probably a month ago and she actually apologised, she's free of drugs at this time."
In some cases, Ms Bonham said social housing offers no respite.
In many social housing estates, she said there is a decrease in people socialising and a marked increase in isolation and violence between different households and family groups.
"There's been houses burnt out where people in the community are telling us it's been an ice debt retaliation," she said.
When violence does occur, families tell Ms Bonham 'he's not normally violent, it's the ice'.
While some programs were having an impact on users, the community and social housing estates, she said there was just not enough resources.
"The disadvantage in our communities is great," Ms Bonham said.
- National 24/7 Alcohol and Other Drugs Hotline - 1800 250 015
- NSW Mental Health Telephone Access Line - 1800 011 511
Read more from the Ice Inquiry
- Impacts from ice include assaults on police officers
- Ice use is having an impact on crime levels in Western NSW
- Seven police, eight hospital staff needed to restrain one ice user
- Users come in threatening self harm, they have anxiety and drug-induced psychosis, witness says
- What's the purpose of the inquiry into ice?
The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug Ice will hold public and private hearings in Sydney, Broken Hill, Dubbo, Lismore, Nowra and the Hunter Region.
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