Canberra: Australian Crime Commission’s first report into national picture of ice in Australia focuses attention on the nation’s addiction to this mind-eating, personality-distorting, life-ending drug that is undermining the social fabric of communities, and paying big dividends to the organised criminal syndicates that are profiting from its misery.
Given the gravity of the problem, the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has developed the first unclassified intelligence picture of the threat posed by ice to the nation. The ACC Report was released here yesterday by the Australian Minister for Justice Michael Keenan with ACC Chief Executive Officer, Chris Dawson
Reflecting on the problem Keenan said in recent years Australia has seen the creep of ice use stretch across the nation, with individuals from all levels of society succumbing to its depravity.
Ice causes psychosis and long term psychological issues, is linked to violent criminal attacks against innocent bystanders, road deaths, robberies and vicious assaults against frontline health or law enforcement responders.
The report provides a national picture of Australia’s ice market and outlines the role of organised crime in the supply, distribution and use of ice.
It also details law enforcement efforts of unprecedented seizures and an increase in the weight of detected methylamphetamine and precursor chemicals used in its manufacture.
These are the efforts of Australia’s law enforcement agencies including the Australian Federal Police’s National Anti-Gang Squad – fast tracked by the Coalition in 2013, intelligence gathered by the ACC’s Australian Gangs Intelligence Coordination Centre opened by the Coalition in 2013, and an $88 million boost in funding from the Coalition to screening at Australian borders.
But despite these efforts the entrenched, evolving and lucrative organised criminal market for the production, distribution and use of ice, has been the catalyst for the mounting harm and havoc inflicted on our communities.
The report confirms ice poses the greatest threat to the Australian public of all illicit drug types. People in Australia are hearing everyday a new story of how ice is ruining lives, destroying families, and hurting communities.
The report says:
- Australian illicit drug users pay a premium price for most illicit drugs compared to prices in key foreign markets ($80US in China for a gram compared to $500US in Australia for the same amount) making our country an attractive marketplace for the manufacture and importation of methylamphetamine;
- more than 60 per cent of Australia’s highest risk serious and organised crime targets are profiting from the misery of ice to the detriment of the economic and social fabric our communities;
- there are concerning trends including the increased availability and use of methylamphetamine in areas where the drug has not previously been prevalent – particularly regional, rural and disadvantaged communities;
- and serious and organised crime groups, are mixing other illicit drugs into methylamphetamine in an attempt to increase addiction levels and maintain the consumer base.
Significant border detections, national seizures and arrests highlight the continued focus by our law enforcement agencies on the response – but ice is not solely an issue for law enforcement.
Ice is a stimulant drug, which means it speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and the body. It is a type of methamphetamine, which is generally stronger, more addictive and has more harmful side effects than the powder form known as speed.