Testimony from Tuesday's opening witness in the three-day inquiry into ice, revealed that children as young as 12 are using the drug, with some becoming "trapped" in predatory relationships with drug dealers and suppliers.
The assistant senior counsel Sally Dowling SC also flagged the commission would be hearing evidence in coming days about the effects on children of pre-natal exposure to methamphetamine - a topic the commission has not yet covered.
The first witness to appear at East Maitland Court House was Anne-Marie Connelly, the manager of client services for Family and Community Services' [FACS] Cessnock Community Services, who said that she had witnessed a "trend of younger and younger people experimenting [with the drug] and being around people representing risks" in the region.
"I have seen families where that risk is increasing," she said. "The exposure to parents using has desensitised young people to the negative consequences ... It appears there's a higher likelihood of a young person using ice because of that inter-generational effect."
Ms Connelly said that of the 143 children who entered care in the Hunter district between July 1, 2018, and May 31, 2019, 59 children had parents who were impacted by the drug 'ice'.
She later clarified that these were not official figures from FACS.
Children as young as 12 were using the drug in the Hunter area, she said, which made them vulnerable to other risks.
"Certainly we have cases where young people have been kept in captive-like situations by people who have started supplying them and exhibited predatory behaviors," she said.
Ms Connelly said there was one case in the region of a 14-year-old using the app Tinder to find people who would supply her with the drug.
"In exchange she was having to perform sexual favors."
She said that in cases where teenagers had become entrapped in an ice addiction as well as an abusive relationship with a supplier it was very difficult to break down that "psychological attachment".
The fact that the cost of a point of ice had almost halved in the region over five years, she said, was only making it "more accessible" to children and families.
"It appears to have increased appearance in schools in the area. It's just a more cost-effective drug than other substances."