GRIFFITH is in the grip of an "ice storm" with the powerful stimulant fuelling a rise in break and enters across the city.
Use of the illicit drug has become so widespread locally a leading substance abuse counsellor has warned it was only a matter of time before its popularity outstripped marijuana.
"Ice has taken over and I wouldn't be surprised in years to come if it became the drug to experiment with for Griffith teenagers, rather than cannabis," the Griffith-based counsellor, who did not wish to be named, said.
"It's a party drug it gives people energy and confidence and helps them communicate with anyone, at anytime, on any subject."
Griffith Police crime manager Paul Smith said the rise of illegal drugs like ice and the abuse of prescription painkillers like Oxycontin was at least partly to blame for the dramatic spike in break-ins in recent months.
"A lot of people think drug use is a victimless crime but you only have to look at the recent break-ins to know it isn't," Detective Inspector Smith said.
"From our information, a lot of these are occuring because offenders have drug habits to feed."
The Area News spoke with a regular local user of both ice and Oxycontin, who said he took ice to "get through the day" and Oxycontin to sleep.
"We're paying twice as much for 'oxies' as they are in Wagga because it's not as easy to doctor shop here," he said.
"Even ice is a lot harder to get in Griffith at the moment.
"We're paying $100 for a point (0.1 of a gram) and for a regular user, that's only one hit.
"But you feel absolutely awesome on it ... all your troubles are forgotten.
"You're super-motivated and nothing's a hassle. I can scrub a floor while I'm on it and really enjoy the experience."
The drug could be injected, smoked or swallowed, he said.
The Griffith drug counsellor said ice use crossed all racial, age, gender and socio-economic divides.
He said the drug "opened the floodgates" for naturally occurring chemicals in the brain like dopamine and serotonin, giving users a feeling of invincibility.
"But the downside is it's psychologically addictive and can cause psychosis and personality disorders," he said.
"It gets to the point where all that person wants is the high and they can't really function without it in their system.
"After prolonged use, people can lose a lot of weight and start losing their teeth.
"It can also create a hallucinogenic effect where users think there are extra-terrestial spiders laying eggs under their skin and they are constantly scratching."