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Increased meth use devastating remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia

Date posted: 2 November 2016

Western Australian (WA) Police patrolling one of the world's biggest and most remote police districts are growing increasingly concerned about illicit drugs flooding into remote Aboriginal communities.

It comes as new research finds the number of people using crystal methamphetamine, or ice, in rural Australia is more than double the number of those living in metropolitan centres.

Inspector Hamish McKenzie, from the Goldfields-Esperance District Office, which coordinates officers across the world's largest police beat, said drug use was rife across Australia.

'Unfortunately it's part of our everyday business now,' he said. 'Our detectives have a number of operations targeting the distribution of drugs into the community. We are also particularly concerned about the amount of drugs getting into the remote Indigenous communities up north, because we know they do particular harm to those communities up there.'

Flinders University research presented at a meeting of the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs in Sydney this week showed meth use had increased outside metropolitan areas in the past decade. The analysis found that one in 50 people in rural areas were using the drug, which had more than doubled since 2007. The rate was particularly high in men aged 18 to 25, while meth use by rural teenagers aged 14 to 17 was much higher than their peers living in cities.

Crime Stoppers WA's recent Dob in a Dealer campaign gave police more intelligence leads for solving drug crime. The campaign was launched in July in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Esperance, urging the community to confidentially report any information about crystal methamphetamine and other illegal drugs being sold by drug dealers.

Crime Stoppers WA Chief Executive, Kim Harrison, said the number of reports from Goldfields-Esperance residents rose by 82% during the two-month campaign.

Source: ABC News

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Last updated: 2 November 2016
 
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute