The Courier-Mail

Cops can’t tackle this crisis on their own

- NEIL DOORLEY

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”.

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