Damning new research has discovered how prevalent ice and methamphetamine residue is in Queensland homes.
In the past seven months, Meth Screen has conducted more than 400 tests, with 35 per cent of Queensland properties testing positive for the illicit drug.
The frightening results found that 36 per cent of properties on the Gold Coast contain ice and methamphetamine residue. In contrast, 26 per cent of properties in Brisbane recorded a positive reading, while six of the 14 properties (43 per cent) tested on the Sunshine Coast had disturbing levels of ice and methamphetamine residue.
Liz Unkles’ Redland rental property recently tested positive for ice, with the methamphetamine readings three times above the Australian guideline levels.
“We’re hopeful landlord insurance will pay for the house to be decontaminated, but at the moment, the house is unrentable and we’re losing thousands of dollars in potential rent,” Mrs Unkles said.
“Fortunately, we had the property tested for ice when our previous tenants broke their lease.
“I’d hate to think of the repercussions if I had leased the property to a family with young children, without getting the property tested. I’d be putting their health and welfare at risk.”
Crystal methamphetamine is costing Australia an estimated $4.4 billion a year, with the number of regular addicts who use ice as their main form of methamphetamine soaring by 35 per cent to 57 per cent in the past year.
Meth Screen has partnered with Smoke Alarm Solutions to safeguard rental properties.
Smoke Alarm Solutions CEO Cameron Davis said that the use of ice is on the rise.
“A large number of illegal drug labs have been found all over Queensland, especially in residential areas,” the CEO said.
“There are many short-term health effects associated with exposure to meth residue, including headaches, nausea, burning skin, dizziness, breathing difficulty, sleeplessness and behavioural issues.”
Meth Screen managing director Ryan Matthews said that Australians have been manufacturing and using meth for the past 20 years, with the country one of the highest users of the drug globally.
“There are thousands of contaminated properties throughout the state, causing serious health issues for the countless Queenslanders,” Mr Matthews said.
“It’s essential [that] post-tenancy meth screening is carried out on all rental properties to guarantee the safety of the house or unit for future tenants while protecting the owner’s asset.”
Mr Matthews added that in extreme cases, decontamination can cost tens of thousands of dollars and requires removal of carpet, curtains and plaster boards.
Furniture and soft furnishings would also need to be destroyed, the MD said.
But in cases of mild contamination, a property may be decontaminated effectively and quickly to bring levels in line with government guidelines.