Chris­tensen turns up heat on ice

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

LAST De­cem­ber, about 50 peo­ple were ar­rested on more than 300 drugs charges in the small town of Bowen – mostly re­lated to the sup­ply and dis­tri­bu­tion of ice.

Ice and meth am­phet­a­mine also ap­pear to be preva­lent in the town­ships of Proser­pine, Can­non­vale and Air­lie Beach, where crimes re­lated to the use, pro­duc­tion and sup­ply of the drug are reg­u­larly dealt with in the Proser­pine Mag­is­trate’s Court.

Fed­eral mem­ber for Daw­son Ge­orge Chris­tensen says the Lib­eral Na­tional Gov­ern­ment has this “ugly scourge” in its sights and is ramp­ing up ef­forts to crack down on drug deal­ers and the mis­ery they ped­dle.

“There are many anec­do­tal re­ports of the preva­lence of ‘ice’, ‘shards’, ‘gear’ and ‘up­pers’ in our com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly among our young peo­ple. Re­gard­less of what you call it, this is a life-destroying sub­stance which will have dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects on users and their fam­i­lies,” Mr Chris­tensen said.

“The lat­est statis­tics on this drug point to the need for ac­tion – there is an in­crease in the num­ber of meth am­phet­a­mine users switch­ing to the crys­talline form known as ice, they are us­ing more fre­quently, and the pu­rity of the drug has tripled,” he said.

“The re­sult of this is greater harm to in­di­vid­u­als us­ing the drug and more ex­treme be­hav­iour for fam­i­lies and law en­force­ment of­fi­cers to deal with.”

Mr Chris­tensen said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, un­der the di­rec­tion of As­sis­tant Min­is­ter for Health, Se­na­tor Fiona Nash, had asked the newly-re­shaped Aus- tralian Na­tional Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil on Al­co­hol and Drugs (ANACAD) to pro­vide ad­vice on tack­ling this prob­lem as its first pri­or­ity.

“This year alone the Lib­eral Na­tional Gov­ern­ment is pro­vid­ing about $200 mil­lion for drug and al­co­hol treat­ment, re­search and ed­u­ca­tion,” he said.

“There is also a greater fo­cus on col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween agen­cies and across fed­eral and state po­lice be­cause no one sin­gle agency can tackle this is­sue alone.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.