A recent report released by The Australian Crime Commission highlighted increasing availability of crystal methylamphetamine (ice) and the involvement of serious and organised crime has prompted Prime Minister Tony Abbott to establish an ice taskforce.
The taskforce, to be led by the former Victoria Police chief commissioner Ken Lay, will develop a co-ordinated approach to education, health and law enforcement surrounding ice use.
NDARC Director Michael Farrell has welcomed a multi-lateral approach to the problem.
“There is no simple answer to the problems presenting and there is a need for consideration of new ways of working together across the whole sector from health and social services to the police, and courts. We hope that the Taskforce will begin to address some of these challenges,” he told the online news portal GovernmentNews yesterday.
He said in order to address the problem, both short-term and long-term solutions are needed: “To develop the most considered and robust response will take time, community consultation and professional consultation and we hope that the Task Force is given adequate resources and support to properly undertake this task.”
Speaking to The Australian, Farrell also stressed the importance of research as a foundation to effectively approaching the issue: “It’s important to see that we are taking opportunities to look at what can be done about the treatment, prevention, and demand reduction with research around this problem.”
While no significant increase in the overall numbers of amphetamine users has been detected, figures show that a large number of drug users have switched to ice over recent years. Ice is highly addictive and is known to cause aggressive and erratic behaviour and a resulting rise in related crime.
For more information on ice use in Australia, visit https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/group/drug-trends.