Services hostage to effects of drug

Along with his partner, Sgt Worthington was responding to a call that a woman who was inside the house with her toddler was being held hostage.

A man under the influence of amphetamines had broken into the house and was holding the woman at knifepoint, and the man was not listening to instructions.

�He had crazy eyes,� Sgt Worthington said. �I was aiming my weapon at him, telling him to put the knife down but he wasn�t responding to verbal commands.

�He thought his daughter was in the house and was insane with rage.�

The innocent family were targeted randomly by the man who had been at a party and, according to Sgt Worthington, was agitated and irrational after a long drug binge.

Following a tense stand-off, the man threw the knife between himself and the police officers, giving the victim a chance to break free and the man was eventually subdued, arrested and charged with a string of offences.

Sgt Worthington admits this was the worse personal experience he has had with a drug user in his 20 years as a police officer, but he has encountered many families torn apart by methamphetamine.

�We are there to enforce the law but we are not just dealing with a crime issue, this is a health issue,� he said.

He said people using methamphetamine often had reduced cognitive ability, could display extra strength and had a high pain tolerance.

�Our first port of call is always to communicate and if this is impaired, it makes the situation more difficult.�

He said the result was that police often had to employ more services, including paramedics, mental health services and government departments, to resolve the case.

�The saddest part is that someone�s drug use has a massive effect on their family, employment, finances and their whole life.�