AN INCREASING number of people are suffering ice-induced psychosis so severe it is ending in a trip to the Hervey Bay Hospital emergency department.
Hervey Bay Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine staff specialist David Johnson said he had noticed an increase in the number of psychosis cases induced by the dangerous drug ice, also known as methylamphetamine.
"I still think we are seeing less then we would expect but it has picked up in the last couple of months," he said.
The news comes just one day after the Queensland Police Service Annual Statistical Review found the number of drug offences in the Wide Bay Policing District had increased by 3% when comparing 2014-2015 with the previous financial year.
Ice-induced psychosis symptoms include paranoia and hallucinations, feeling overly suspicious of other people and having strange beliefs about things which are not plausible. These often last for two or three hours but can last for days.
Mr Johnson said ice was not the most common drug-related problem seen by the emergency department. He said the drug related issues stemming from alcohol, misuse of prescription opiates followed by use of marijuana were more prevalent, followed by amphetamine use.
"The most striking difference between here and other places is just how much marijuana is around," he said.
He said patients did not often come in with health problems caused by marijuana but their drug was picked up when speaking to them about what had been taken.
"There are a lot of people who don't have jobs and don't have prospects of jobs who also smoke a lot of marijuana," Mr Johnson said.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the rise in drug use was a concern for the government and $20 million had been invested to help curb the problem.
"My fear is it's going to get worse before it gets better," he said.
Mr Saunders said the government would work with community organisations and groups to try and solve the issue.
The increase in drug offences may indicate police have found more effective methods to police the use of drugs. Sergeant Tony McCarthy recently told the Chronicle the region's traffic officers had been fully trained in administering drug tests over the past 12 months.
The Hervey Bay Police Criminal Investigation Branch also closed a major drug operation earlier this year.