Australia steps up efforts to fight spiralling meth problem

Source:AFP Published: 2017/9/19 22:18:39

Cooperation with China and other key drug-producing nations will be bolstered under a new strategy unveiled Tuesday to combat a flood of crystal meth into Australia that has seen ice use triple in five years.

With its street prices soaring, Australia has become an increasingly attractive destination for drug smugglers, which has made it the highest per capita consumer of methamphetamine in the world.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said it was evident more needed to be done to halt narcotics reaching Australia and that could only be achieved by boosting ties with overseas agencies.

"We need to not sit here in Australia waiting for these drugs to hit our shores but we need to go offshore and do what we can to disrupt supply," he said. "The demand remains so high in Australia that organized criminals from all over the globe are keen to get involved in the market."

An Australian Crime Commission report in 2015 found that while $80 bought one gram of ice in China, the estimated 270,000 users in Australia had to pay $500 for the same amount.

Keenan said intelligence showed China and India were key sources of the precursor chemicals needed to make ice, while China and Myanmar were notable manufacturers of the end product.

Distribution networks thrived in Vietnam, Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia.


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