ICE CRISIS LINKED TO GROG BAN
RESTRICTING the sale of alcohol in Queensland’s indigenous communities has led to a rise in demand for the highly addictive drug ice, the state’s top cop has revealed.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said dealers were now targeting the alcohol-free indigenous communities because they know there is a “ready market for ice” there.
And he said the cost of the drug scourge on the communities was enormous.
“It is highly addictive, and it has huge impacts on the individual and they can become very violent,” Mr Stewart said.
Mr Stewart’s warning was echoed by Australian Crime Commission boss Chris Dawson, who said “significant’’ amounts of the drug were being consumed in remote indigenous communities.
Nineteen indigenous communities across Queensland either totally ban or impose strict restrictions that limit the amount and type of alcohol people are allowed.
ALCOHOL restrictions are driving indigenous communities to experiment with drugs including the highly-addictive ice, the state’s Top Cop fears.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart warned anecdotal evidence revealed alcohol reforms were opening up opportunities for cash-hungry drug dealers trafficking crystal methylamphetamine.
“There has always been this view, that with alcohol management plans we’ve seen a rise in drugs in indigenous communities,’’ Mr Stewart (pictured) said.
“And I suspect there are those who target those communities because they believe there is a ready market for ice.’’
According to the Australian Crime Commission, the ice scourge had spread to dangerous levels in remote Aboriginal communities around the nation.
ACC boss Chris Dawson said “significant’’ amounts of
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart the drug were being consumed, and the communities were being “severely” impacted by ice.
With ice fetching more than $500 a gram on the street, Mr Stewart said the cost of the drug on the community was enormous.
“It is highly addictive and it has huge impacts on the individual and they can become very violent,’’ he said.
“When people addicted to it use up any reserves (of cash) they’ve got, they steal from their families.
“Where the damage occurs to small communities, whether indigenous or small country towns, is that people who become addicted to ice, move away and go to the big cities, because that is where they can get ready supplies of the drug.
“It also means when they become desperate, they can turn to crime, or turn to prostitution to get the money.’’
Mr Stewart said Queensland police had “ramped up their intelligence’’ and were working “far more closely’ with federal authorities to combat the spread of ice.
“It has become the drug we are targeting in terms of our intervention strategies,’’ Mr Stewart said.
“While we still obviously go after other illicit drugs, ice is the one which is hurting our communities the most, so a lot of our resources and intelligence have been focused directly on the supply trade.
“The other big issue is, that everyone recognises that you can’t arrest your way out of this problem. So education, interdiction and trying to stop the flow, the supply and demand side of it, is really critical to us.’’