The drug ice has become a major concern for many people in the Maitland community.
The insidious drug, which can cause long-term health problems such as stroke and psychosis, has police and medical staff across the region on alert at all times.
Only last week the Mercury asked readers if the impact of ice on our community frightened them. Of the 1728 readers to respond, more than 94 per cent said yes.
Late last year the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reported there had been a 70 per cent increase in arrests related to the use of methamphetamines.
The easy availability of the drug is what makes it so popular.
Here in Maitland, Central Hunter crime manager Detective Inspector John Zdrilic said ice was one drug that could be manufactured locally in Australia as opposed to something such as heroin, which is manufactured internationally.
The problem is not an isolated one, with other regions across the nation also experiencing a rise in health and social problems associated with ice use.
Visit www.maitlandmercury.com.au and click on the Breaking The Ice strap to see first hand how the drug is affecting other communities.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also formed a National Ice Taskforce to combat the increasing prevalence of the drug and he has received bipartisan support to do so.
During the next few weeks the Mercury will talk to politicians, health and social workers and the families of those affected by the drug.
As a community we must be united to rid our streets of this drug and keep our friends, workmates and love ones safe.