Cops can’t tackle this crisis on their own
WITH Australians ranked among the highest users of ice in the world, the head of the Australian Crime Commission has warned “law enforcement alone’’ cannot fix the worsening drug problem.
Chris Dawson said crime victims, and even the families of ice addicts, should play a role in helping to control the crystal methylamphetamine epidemic.
Mr Dawson stressed the importance of “sharing our information and intelligence, and of working with other agencies and portfolios’’.
“There is a need to focus on prevention, early intervention and treatment, building resilience, education, appropriate legislation and regulation, in addition to law enforcement,’’ Mr Dawson told Melbourne’s National Policing Summit.
“In developing our response strategies, we need to make sure there is engagement with government at all levels, the victims of users who committed crimes to support their use, families, workplaces, industries, the judiciary and communities as a whole.”
The ACC estimates as many as 1.3 million Australians have tried methylamphetamine in its crystalline form, known as ice, or its powdered form, known as speed.
It is believed 7 per cent of the population over the age of 14 has used ice at least once. Nationally, the price per gram can range between $400 and $1600.
“Unlike heroin and other illicit drugs – and even legal drugs like alcohol – ice exhibits damage like nothing we have ever seen, with extreme violence ensnaring families and innocent bystanders, with poor demographics and indigenous communities affected unduly,’’ Mr Dawson said.
He said the challenge was to ensure any response in one market did “not have the unintended consequences of making another market more attractive to drug users”.