Australia is in the grip of an ice “pandemic” akin to problems caused by crack cocaine in the US, the head of the Australian Crime Commission says.
ACC CEO Chris Dawson said amphetamine-type stimulant drugs including ice were being seized in record quantities by border authorities and they were having a major impact nationwide.
“We’re intentionally using the term ‘pandemic’ in terms of ice,” Mr Dawson told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“It’s akin to the cocaine crack problem in the USA and we’re seeing the prevalence of ice and methylamphetamine as a major scourge in our nation.
“We also know that it is not confined to our cities – it is permeating across our country.”
He said the rising detection of this class of illicit drugs was particularly concerning, as they were highly addictive and triggered extreme and violent behaviour in users.
Their use was a driving factor in family assaults and homicides, and violent burglaries, across the country, he said.
The commission’s latest illicit drug data report shows there were almost 87,000 drug seizures by border authorities during 2012/13 – the highest on record – netting a total 19.6 tonnes of illicit drugs across all classes.
Seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants – which includes ice – and the total amount seized were the highest on record.
Detections increased 85 per cent, from 1077 in 2011/12 to 1999 in 2012/13, and total weight of drug seized increased by almost 516 per cent from 347kg to 2138kg.
IMAGE: Methylamphetamine seized during a drug raid