Call for national strategy to fight 'Ice'

A Federal Police 'Ice' haul.

Authorities fear Australia is facing a surge in use of crystal methamphetamine, or "Ice", similar to the United States, where it's a huge problem.

(Transcripts from SBS World News Radio)

Authorities fear Australia is facing a surge in use of crystal methamphetamine, or "Ice", similar to the United States, where it's a huge problem.

They're calling for a national approach to combat the drug.

Alyshia Gates reports.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

In the United States authorities say crystal methamphetamine use has hit epidemic proportions.

Nationwide there are almost 25 million users.

"Ice'' has been labelled one of the worst drugs in American history.

And according to New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione Australia could be facing a similar crisis.

"It's tearing apart the fabric of community. It's destroying families. You've only got to look at those before and after photographs to realise this changes lives and people."

Clinical director at the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre in Victoria, Dr Matthew Frei, says Ice-related admissions have doubled.

"There's absolutely no doubt that the numbers of presentations for treatment have increased and that's causing a significant strain on treatment services including generalist services and emergency departments and so on."

The Victorian Government has set up an inquiry, due to report in coming days.

In New South Wales, the number of drug labs uncovered has jumped 50 per cent in five years.

This year alone, 100 have been raided.

Commissioner Scipione says police want a national action plan to tackle the ice problem.

He says this would help federal and state authorities to go after the unexplained wealth of drug dealers, and to stop international cartels targeting Australia.

"Make no bones about it, these drugs are manufactured by money hungry criminals that are driven by greed and self interest."

Drug agencies want a better education and treatment response.

Associate Professor Lucy Burns from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre says one big problem is violence linked to ice use.

"Street violence, domestic violence, random violence. Random violence in particular I suppose that we don't often see with drugs that may be downer type drugs."

Experts say their research shows there is no consistent national picture when it comes to users of ice, but there is a definite growing problem among youth.

Surveys indicate that nationally, just over two per cent of Australians have used the drug in the past 12 months.

 

 

 

 

Source World News Australia

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