If you think the scourge of methamphetamine abuse is limited to what you see in the hit television series Breaking Bad, think again. Meth, a highly addictive and corrosive drug which also goes by street names like "ice", "glass" and "shards", is currently infiltrating the most quaint and unassuming of communities. The harrowing new documentary titled Kids on Ice explores one such region where meth addiction has quickly become a full-scale epidemic - rural Australia.
Degraded by a booming underground methamphetamine industry, these small and otherwise close-knit communities play host to a horrifying cancer; one that's spreading at such an alarming rate that tightly-stretched local law enforcement units are rendered nearly powerless in their attempts to contain it.
Kids on Ice sets its unflinching gaze upon all aspects of the crisis that's currently paralyzing the region. This includes a treatment facility where meth-related admissions have festooned by 80% over the past 18 months. The counselors there are forced to make due with painfully limited resources, and oftentimes must turn away addicts as young as 14 because they lack adequate space to care for them. We're instructed on the methods employed by dealers to swiftly smuggle the drug from highly populated cities to the most remote outlying regions of the country, and we're shown how these same dealers ruthlessly prey upon the innocence and susceptibility of addicted youth to do their bidding.
Perhaps the most heart-wrenching element of the film is its portrayal of the addicts themselves. These are lives that have been forever damaged by the hypnotic allure of the drug. What begins as an easy high soon transforms into a way of life for each of them, resulting in violent outbursts, criminal activities, shattered relationships, and a total loss of reasoning and purpose.
When reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna asks a young man in recovery to recall his lowest point, his response sheds devastating light on the colossal consequences of addiction. "When I tried to hang myself in my mom's shed," he replies. Addiction tears at the fabric of our society, and there are no easy fixes. But Kids on Ice shows us that salvation begins with understanding.