Opinion piece by Christopher Lane
Originally published in The Daily Telegraph – Tuesday, 27 September 2022
Methamphetamines, often colloquially referred to as speed and ice, have been the number one choice of drug in Australia for over two decades. And, with their use steadily increasing year-on-year, they’re unlikely to be knocked off the top spot any time soon. The substance not only infiltrates the body of its user, causing extreme decay, but also their homes, leading to potentially irreparable damage to the health of future tenants.
More than one in every 10 (16 per cent) of Australian homes tested for meth each month as part of a routine property inspection return positive contamination levels over and above the safe health guidelines. Of these, 80 per cent are the result of meth use in properties, with the other 20 per cent attributed to in-house meth manufacture.
Our data also forecasts that a minimum of 15 per cent of properties are contaminated at any point in time within Australia. If you consider your parents, siblings and cousins, the chances are that at least one of your close family’s homes — or even your own — is contaminated by meth. The bottom line is that unsuspecting future home buyers in Australia are buying contaminated houses.
I recently had a sobering experience when speaking to one of our customers who discovered her house had tested positive. This woman had been living in the same family home she’d raised her children in for 30 years, unaware she had been exposing herself and her loved ones to harmful substances every time they walked through the door. What struck me was that despite the prevalence of Australia’s meth addiction, this woman could never have imagined in her wildest dreams that her house would return a positive result. But sadly, without any regulation in place, this is the grim reality facing around four million Australians.
The potential health impacts of methamphetamine residue exposure are severe and far-reaching. Short-term these include skin rashes, eye irritation, respiratory difficulties and fatigue. In the long-term, you’re looking at insomnia, memory loss, aggressive or violent behaviour and psychosis. These impacts, along with a myriad of other health and social implications, are why we must act now.
I implore the Australian Government to enact a clear industry standard on meth testing in homes. Not only will it be an extension of due diligence, it should also be acknowledged as the right thing to do.
Christopher Lane is CEO of sale-to-settlement business Deep Blue Company
This article is provided for general information purposes only. Its content is current at the date of publication. It is not legal advice and is not tailored to meet your individual needs. You should obtain specialist advice based on your specific circumstances before taking any action concerning the matters discussed in this article.