#1058 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 12 April 2015
As Prime Minister Tony Abbott appoints a national task force to help tackle the growing “ice scourge,” Flinders University Associate Professor Nicole Lee claims the number of methamphetamine users has not changed in the last ten years.
But she says there has been a significant increase in people seeking treatment at drug and alcohol clinics, in ice-related ambulance call-outs, and hospitalisations. Arrests for methamphetamine-related crimes increased by 30 per cent between 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Law enforcement and education are vital, but effective treatment is also key.
According to Associate Professor Lee, for every dollar spent on drug treatment we save A$7 to the community, compared with A$2 for stronger policing. She says we need to ensure that treatment is a significant part of the solution.
A national ice action strategy will need to examine all aspects of the use, sale, manufacture and importation of the drug, and all reasonable strategies for managing the so-called “epidemic.”
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.