By Jordan Wilson
Australia is in the midst of an ice epidemic, with the drug being linked to a growing number of crimes, and higher quantities of the amphetamine seized at our borders.
Experts say the popularity of the drug caught Australia unawares, with the usage on par with the crack cocaine epidemic in the United States.
In recent months, even the Prime Minister has admitted the war on drugs may be unwinnable.
Drug researcher Associate Professor John Fitzgerald told news.com.au that he didn’t think Australia was prepared for the amphetamine epidemic and it was impossible to say when it would end.
Professor Fitzgerald, who is the head of criminology at the University of Melbourne said the tragedy of drugs like amphetamines was they spread easily through the community to beyond areas where “street drug crime” was prevalent.
Regional Victoria was one example of the community.
Except for cannabis, heroin, the previous drug of choice did not have as much reach compared to amphetamine.
Police and addiction experts warned of the dangers of amphetamines from the late 1990s but it’s possible the country didn’t understand extent of it until it was too late.
High rates of amphetamine use were detected in police detainees in Kings Cross, Sydney (61%), East Perth (43%), and Brisbane (41%) with respondents saying the drug was easy to obtain.
Nearly half of all drug offenders tested positive for amphetamine use and nearly a third of violent offenders had it in their system.
The Australian Federal Police say seizures of amphetamines at the border had increased significantly — and were the highest in a decade — after being buoyed by local drug syndicates trying to source precursor drugs needed to cook methamphetamine.