As the dangerous drug ICE continues to be a threat to our community, our four-part series with University of the Sunshine Coast examines the situation with help from those who are dealing with its impacts every day.
THE dangerous drug ice is spreading its evil tentacles into every corner of the community.
Increasingly, it is becoming clear that no-one is immune.
LAUREN* was with her ice-addicted partner for six years.
The 21-year-old watched as he brought quantities of the drug home on a regular basis.
"You walk down the street and someone offers it to you," she said.
"There's always a way to figure out where the suppliers are and it's everywhere.
"I do think there is a drug problem, definitely. And it's worse than anywhere else.
"It's worse now, seeing the ice epidemic.
Kids the age of 14 are using it."
Her partner's addiction began as a result of depression.
As his dependence on the drug took over, the way he acted and spoke to her made Lauren scared for her life.
She had plenty of opportunities to leave him but all she wanted to do was help him.
"He didn't want a bar of it whatsoever," she said. "As soon as I'd say 'you need to make a doctor's appointment, you need to get help' he would say 'no I don't, I'm fine, there's nothing wrong with me'."
"I'd look at him and say 'have a good hard look at yourself and you can tell me if you need help or not'.
"I did everything in my power to get him to stop, and it just didn't work."
SUSANNE* is recovering from an ice addiction that only began early last year.
"It was definitely my choice, and I take full responsibility for the whole thing," the 26-year-old said.
"Everyone knows it's bad, I knew it was bad at the time but sometimes you just get into those reckless stages where you don't care."
Susanne's drug addiction soon began poisoning her day-to-day life.
"I ended up with a job trial, but I didn't end up going because I was high and had a major anxiety attack.
"I didn't even ring them or anything, I just didn't show up, and that's not like me at all."
She also developed deep vein thrombosis as a result of using ice.
DVT involves a clot of blood due to poor circulation in the legs, and if released into the blood stream, could have killed her.
Today she is slowly recovering but admits she tends to have occasional cravings, especially when she's drinking.
WELL-known school chaplain David "Chappy Dave" Larkin said young ice users more often than not started their addiction by giving into peer pressure.
"I've heard a lot from kids that have gotten involved in it, that they just did it because they were either dared to do it or that they felt if they didn't, they wouldn't belong," Chappy Dave said.
"Alongside the social pressure, with all drug and alcohol use, sometimes it's an escapism from pain.
"Sometimes you can't tell, and then it's too late."
He urged young people to avoid the drug at all costs.
"Just don't do it," he said.
"It's not a good road."
* Names have been changed.
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