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A SURGE in vicious attacks, including killings, linked to the drug ice has alarmed Victoria’s police and judiciary.

In at least 12 murders committed or tried by courts over the past two years, crystal methamphetamine was used by the killer or was otherwise a suspected factor in the crime.

ice, crystal meth, meth

Police are warning the widespread use of crystal methamphetamine is creating a new level of violence

 

Police warn the widespread use of the drug is creating a new level of violence and turning unstable people into dangerous criminals.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer, of the Victoria Police intelligence and covert support section, told the Herald Sun: “This is our new heroin.”

Mr Fryer said it was clear there had been an “increase in ice-related activity in relation to homicide”.

Victoria Police figures show that, in the past financial year, there were 3218 amphetamine-related assaults and 3990 burglaries.

Ice is the most popular form of amphetamine. A small sample of many cases of violence in the past year linked to ice include:

A TEENAGER who slashed a family man’s throat in a home burglary. He told investigators that he had been affected by ice.

THE BASHING of two police officers whose assailant was not stopped until he was hit repeatedly with a torch and capsicum-sprayed twice.

TWO elderly men bashed at a suburban railway station by a mentally ill man on methamphetamine.

The overall level of methamphetamine deaths in Victoria rose by more than 100 per cent in the most recent recorded year.

 


MURDERS BLAMED ON ICE

 

DOUBLE KILLER: Cafferkey killer Stephen Hunter a heavy ice user

PLEA FOR MERCY: Penny’s killer was ‘detached from reality’

BURNT ALIVE: Jailed for 30 years for ‘unspeakable’ act

HAMMER KILLING: Vicious attack on ‘friends’

CIGS BEHIND FURY: Ex-soldier’s brutal post-office killing

 


 

Coroners Court figures showed there were 34 deaths in 2012, up from 14 in 2010.

A prominent magistrate spoke out this month about his fears of the community damage caused by ice.

Magistrate Clive Allsop told a court that in some parts of Victoria it had reached epidemic proportions and was increasingly available in schools.

He said the number of people arrested for trafficking the drug trebled in the past two years and deaths were up 150 per cent in that period.

“The message I’d like to get out is don’t have a bar of it. It appears to be more addictive than any substance we’ve seen before and it’s having disastrous consequences,” the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times reported Mr Allsop as saying.

Mr Fryer said analysis showed 14 per cent of people who faced court on an amphetamine-related charge would commit a crime of violence in the three months either side of that offence and 42 per cent would be involved in property crime.

He said part of the problem was that ice did not carry the stigma of heroin.

Mr Fryer said amphetamine sold from the 1970s to 1990s was generally between 3 and 5 per cent pure, but ice was between 70 nd 90 per cent. “It is now driving, in part, our volume of violent crime,” he said.

Mr Fryer said Victoria Police was running several major taskforces with the Australian Federal Police, Australian Crime Commission and Customs to combat organised crime groups importing ice.

“We used to do high-fives if we seized a kilo (of ice). We have got div vans seizing a kilo (nowadays),” Mr Fryer said.

Rehabilitation counsellor Mick Hall said he had gone from working mostly with heroin addicts 10 years ago to running a practice dominated by people wanting help because of ice.

 

No early signs to ice addicition: rehab specialist

 

A DECADE ago, Mick Hall could barely keep up with the number of heroin addicts coming to him for help.

But Mr Hall, who runs the Dayhab rehabilitation clinic, says they’ve have been replaced by clients battling the ravages of methamphetamine abuse.

He said the addicts were increasingly school children or young adults who were being fried by the drug, also popularly known as shard.

The fear in the clients is not confined to their descent into ice addiction.

He said many carried the extra baggage of having, through their habit, become associated with people they would not ordinarily have known.

“We’re regularly getting people who have got trouble with some really heavy criminals,” he said.

“They’re chasing them for money. Some of these people are terrified.”

Mick Hall

Mick Hall runs the Dayhab rehabilitation clinic

 

Mr Hall said the number of “backyard cooks” manufacturing the drug was amazing.

“Everyone knows how to make it. There’s someone I know who I could ring now who could hook up a backyard lab and do a cook pretty quick,” he said.

And what these backyarders are cooking up is many times more potent than the amphetamine of decades ago.

It was one of the drugs Mr Hall battled during many years of addiction, but he said speed’s impact were nowhere near as pronounced as that of ice.

“The stronger the drugs, the greater the psych issues,” Mr Hall said.

“There’s so many cases of psychosis and aggression. I’ve seen a big rise in that.”

Mr Hall said that unlike with some other drugs, people often did not give an indication they were using ice in the early stages of a habit.

By the time the use was evident, they were deeply addicted.

“People are getting massive problems at an early age,” he said.

Some of those are users whose natural fear of methamphetamine was initially eroded by alcohol.

Mr Hall said there were many people who would ordinarily not take ice who first used the drug during a night of drinking.

“They become more susceptible. It gets rid of the fear. (On ice) they can drink all night,” he said.

 

Dad worked for dealers to pay off son’s addiction debts

 

FAMILIES are being ensnared in the world of ice dealing because of the drug habits of their relatives.

Melbourne father “Graham” told the Herald Sun he was trapped by traffickers after his son was jailed, owing them tens of thousands of dollars.

Graham says that to settle the debt he was forced to work for the eastern suburbs syndicate in a months-long round-the-clock nightmare.

He was expected to carry large amounts of ice and collect large payments, his role putting distance between the dealers and the law.

“I’d be getting calls at 3am. I’d have to drive all over the joint,” he said.

“I was carrying huge amounts of money. I wasn’t selling points (0.1g) – I was selling eight-balls.

“I wasn’t dealing to street people. I was dealing to dealers. I was in his (the syndicate head’s) control.”

A 2012 the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund study of the methamphetamine market found anecdotal reports of drug debts being transferred to debtors’ relatives.

Based largely on data from state and federal police and intelligence agencies, the report outlined evidence from a “key informant” about a family that suffered the same experience as Graham.

“K1 provided an anecdotal example of family members being coerced to work for the syndicate as a replacement for an incarcerated dealer,” the report said.

 

 

 

 

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/crystal-meth-linked-to-violent-crime/story-fni0ffnk-1226706989145

 

 

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