Ice age: the rise of crystal meth in Australia

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The 2012-13 Australian Crime Commission (ACC) Illicit Drug Data Report, released earlier this week, provides mounting evidence that crystal meth is becoming a large-scale problem for law enforcement and health authorities in Australia.

Methamphetamine hydrochloride, better known as crystal meth or ice, first became a factor in Australia’s illicit drug scene in the mid-2000s. The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) currently classes crystal meth as an “imminent threat” due to increased seizures worldwide, particularly in east and southeast Asia.

On releasing the report, acting ACC head Paul Jevtovic described crystal meth as a “national concern”, likening it to the crack cocaine scourge in the United States in the 1980s. Rates of use and detection are rising significantly.

Crystal meth is just one of a number of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) that are competing for market share against more traditional illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin. At least one study has shown that the use of crystal meth in Australia has increased by 10% since 2011. And while the use of some other ATS has declined, the use of crystal meth remains at a high level and continues to increase.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014


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