Read The Ice Age Online

Authors: Luke Williams

Tags: #BIO026000, #PSY038000, #SEL013000

The Ice Age

THE ICE AGE

Luke Williams is an Australian journalist. He has previously worked as a reporter and broadcaster at ABC radio. His written work has been published in
The
Sydney Morning Herald
,
The Saturday Paper
, the
Brisbane Times
,
Crikey
,
The
Global Mail
,
The
Weekend Australian
, and
Eureka Street
. In 2013 he was nominated for a Human Rights Media Award for a long-form investigative piece in
The Global Mail
, and in 2014 his article on ice addiction, ‘Life as a Crystal Meth Addict', was a finalist in the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

Scribe Publications
18–20 Edward St, Brunswick, Victoria 3056, Australia
2 John St, Clerkenwell, London, WC1N 2ES, United Kingdom

First published by Scribe 2016

Copyright © Luke Williams 2016

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publishers of this book.

Earlier versions of parts of this manuscript have appeared in various publications, including
The Saturday Paper
,
Good Weekend
, and SBS Online.

9781925106848 (pbk.)
9781925307115 (e-book)

A CiP entry for this title is available from the National Library of Australia

scribepublications.com.au
scribepublications.co.uk

AUTHOR'S NOTE

I HAVE DONE
my best to recreate events, locales, and conversations from my memories of them, and from my notes. I have in many instances changed the names of individuals, and may also have changed some identifying characteristics and details.

I have recalled the events in this book to the best of my ability, and with the best of intentions. However, at the time of experiencing them, and occasionally at the time of writing about them, I was affected by drugs. At other times, as I recount in the pages that follow, I was experiencing drug-induced psychosis.

As a result, it may be that other peoples' memories of these events will differ from my own.

Prologue

02/05/2014 12:06

From: Luke Williams

Matt, I wanted to ask you something. I have growing extra-sensory powers since I have started The Journey and have been practising telepathy, I just wanted to see if you or anybody you know have been sending me messages.

02/05/2014 12:08

From: Matt F

Not that I know of.

THE CHEMICAL N-METHYL-1-PHENYL-PROPAN-2-AMINE
(C
10
H
15
N) better known as ‘crystal meth' or ‘ice', is a highly addictive drug that has been linked to murder, violence, savage sadism, and woeful child-neglect. It's a drug that feels better than sex; a drug made in Nigeria, Iran, Thailand, and in our own kitchen sinks, which is often sent here from southern China. Meth is the world's strongest stimulant.

Crystal methamphetamine was created in 1919. Thereafter it was sold in pharmacies to treat depression, fatigue, and obesity. It was also used in the military for performance enhancement in several major wars. It was made more or less completely illegal throughout the western world in the 1970s as the result of a particular UN convention. Since then, the black market for crystal meth has grown rapidly. By the 1980s, crystal-meth production and distribution was dominated by American biker gangs, who then joined up with a Mexican cartel, who in turn provided factories to manufacture meth and its precursors.

Powdered meth (also known as speed) has been available in Australia since the mid-1990s, but rates of meth use really started to increase around 2001 — when Asian illicit-drug crime gangs based in the Golden Triangle wound back their heroin production and started producing meth. The gangs appeared to see meth as a more reliable source of income than heroin because the former would not be affected by increasingly unstable weather.

While researching a story about crystal meth in early 2014, I became addicted to the drug, and began using it heavily. I rapidly descended into psychosis.

During that time, I would sometimes send people online messages and emails.

Correspondence with my Aunty

Date: 02/03/14

Subject: My Mum has got dementia

To: [email protected]

From: Luke Williams

Aunty Anne. I know we haven't spoken in over 10 years. Please I need to talk to you. I know we haven't spoken in a long time, but I need to tell you how much I miss having your family in my life. Also, I need to talk to you about my Mum, I think she might be dying of dementia. I am very worried about her. I had somebody try to bash me the other day and I rang my parents. They didn't believe me and said I was on drugs and hung up on me and I was very scared. I am not on any drugs. They keep on using that as an excuse so they don't have to face up to the issues I had growing up.

Luke

Date: 08/03/14

Re: My Mum has got dementia

To: Luke Williams

From: [email protected]

Luke, I just spoke to your Mum, she is very worried that you are using drugs. Don't believe that Janet has dementia in any form. I think you probably think that because of the drugs you are taking. She also mentioned you have been threatening to kill your father, and that you left over 20 threatening messages on her phone the other day. I don't know what to suggest. I think you need help urgently.

Aunty Anne

XXX

Unlike cocaine or heroin, which come from plants, meth is a wholly synthetic drug. Meth is commonly manufactured in illegal, hidden laboratories. Common ingredients include cold and flu tablets, battery acid, drain cleaner, and lantern fuel. Some of the meth that is used in Australia is made in ‘backyard labs', and often by individual users in their own sinks and bathtubs. In recent times, an increasing proportion of Australia's crystal meth has been produced overseas, usually smuggled in through air cargo shipped from China and Hong Kong.

Drug manufacturers are getting better at creating purer, stronger meth. The popularity of the drug on the black market meant that a diverse range of international crime gangs got on board to produce and distribute the drug. A more potent variety of crystallised meth began to flood Australia's illicit-drug market in 2011, and harms caused by crystal meth have been rising all over the nation ever since. User deaths, arrests, homicides, and hospital admissions have all been rising sharply.

Crystal meth is highly addictive, and in Australia it is relatively cheap and easy to obtain. For $50 you can buy a high that lasts for up to twenty-four hours. In low doses, methamphetamine can cause a heightened mood as well as increased alertness, concentration, and energy. At higher doses, it can induce obsessive behaviour, aggressive behaviour, homicidal ideation, psychosis, heart attacks, and cerebral haemorrhages.

It is believed that crystal meth (like ecstasy and LSD) causes a rise in a user's serotonin levels when they first take it. These serotonin levels drop sharply when you are withdrawing from the drug, but during the high — and contrary to popular belief — a person on crystal meth can actually be extremely nice.

Email to my estranged ex (he never replied)

Dear Nats,

I know we had a big, bad break up a few years ago. I know we haven't spoken since. But I just to let you know that I harbor no ill-feeling toward you, and I think you are a wonderful person.

And don't forget what an excellent hairdresser you are — your styles are always years ahead of trend.

If you ever need any help with anything let me know.

Luke

X

As my meth addiction grew, I began obsessing over Nathaniel all the time, and began to feel more and more as if it was my fault that we broke up. I felt that we should be back together again.

Over time, I believed he was living near me, sending me telepathic messages, and then that people who visited the house were him in disguise and that people had been hiding this information from me. In particular, a girl who I swore was Nate was sleeping with one of my roommates, and I became enraged with envy at times — I felt homicidal toward him — because I believed he had stolen my ex, and then made him have a sex change.

Correspondence with a former triple j work colleague I hadn't spoken with in a long time

One of the key affects of meth is that it floods the brain with dopamine.

Dopamine plays an important role in how the brain experiences and interprets pleasure, motivation, and reward. Dopamine also leads to psychotic symptoms, similar to that which someone with paranoid schizophrenia goes through when they are unwell.

One of the most common forms of psychosis I experienced was delusions of reference — from the outset, meth can make you very self-absorbed. I would google myself and find blogs written by people with the same name, and I would have a recurring delusion that these blogs were parodies of me set up by people I used to work with — as you can see from the correspondence below:

15/02/2014

From: Luke Williams

Kate, people are making fun of me everywhere. There is a blog named Luke Williams which has been set up by people to ridicule me and the way I write.

From: Kate Spears

Are you sure you're not reading into things the wrong way? How are you feeling?

From: Luke Williams

No Kate, people are making fun of me all over the internet. People are using my name and sending me in blogs and videos. It's because I have been such a nasty, vindictive person all my life. Somebody has even made an entire parody of me, a guy who reckons he is ‘Luke Williams' has made this ted-ex video.

From: Kate Spears

Mate that's a different Luke Williams. You have a very very common name. Not everyone on the internet named Luke Williams is you. You are having a psychotic episode where you think everything is related to you when its not. Go for a walk, get some sunshine, get off the internet, I think you are reading things the wrong way.

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