As the dangerous drug 'ice' continues to be a threat to our community, the Sunshine Coast Daily's four-part series with the University of the Sunshine Coast examines the impact of the drug with those who are battling it on the front lines.
PARTNERS of Sunshine Coast ice addicts are being forced to use, manufacture and deal drugs, according to experts who say there is an alarming link between domestic violence and the drug.
The manager of a Sunshine Coast outreach group has told of victims forced to use and deliver ice to others.
Suncoast Cooloola Outreach Prevention and Education works with victims of domestic violence every day.
SCOPE manager Brigitte McLennan said drugs increased the level of danger in the home.
Ms McLennan said with the effects of ice on top of the mental instability of a violent partner, victims felt trapped and felt they were putting themselves at risk in speaking out.
"With ice, it is a high level of volatility," Ms McLennan said.
"Because it must be so easy to produce, quite a few women have said 'he's manufacturing it, he's making me deliver it, he's involving me in it, he's making me use it'."
By making their partner become involved with their addiction, ice users are putting outsiders at risk of being caught by police.
Earlier this week, a Caboolture ice addict was granted parole after pleading guilty to repeatedly bashing his pregnant girlfriend until she was unconscious.
SCOPE provides assistance to all victims of violent domestic situations, including those fuelled by ice use.
Ice is "cheap to produce, easy to get and has 10 times the effect that marijuana has", Ms McLennan said.
"I think it's already an epidemic, especially in the countryside.
"All of the workers here have heard stories [about ice]. All of them. There's an ignorance about it; a big lack of insight."
The ex-girlfriend of an ice addict has previously told the Daily she was close to being in a physically abusive relationship with her partner before she decided to leave.
Sunshine Coast GP Dr Wayne Herdy has previously said conditions such as depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorders can be the result or the cause of ice abuse.
This can make users violent in the home, and is much more common among teenagers and young adults.
Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards, officer in charge of the Sunshine Coast Criminal Investigation Branch, said it was extremely important to educate young people about the drug.
"We recognise that drug dealers will target young people, whether the drug is ice or something else.
"Young people can be an important link in a drug network, especially in the supply or use of these drugs.
"It is evident from the national task force into ice that it is an issue that affects all communities."
Queensland Police was asked about the link between ice and domestic violence but declined to comment.
Need help with your ice addiction? Phone 1800 177 833 or go to http://www.qld.gov.au/ice.
Are you facing violence or abuse in your home? Phone DV Connect on 1800 811 811 or visit http://www.dvconnect.org.
This four-part investigation is a collaboration between the Sunshine Coast Daily and students from the University of the Sunshine Coast.