Comments Off on Methamphetamine crime skyrockets: Taking a hard line to stop our children dying

JUDGES and politicians are being urged to radically change the way the state fights an “ice” epidemic, as new figures show use of the drug exploded last year. 962083-fa7bb5bc-9f05-11e4-8f33-8e666e0016f7

Victim advocates and the police union say damage to the community from crystal methamphetamine has reached a crisis point and requires a dramatic change in the way society tackles the issue — starting with soft-touch judges who allow addict criminals to escape punishment time and time again.

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures show the number of cases involving possession and use of amphetamines — including methamphetamines and ice, the stronger form of that drug — rocketed 25.9 per cent from 5108 incidents in 2013 to 6429 in 2014.

The number of cases involving dealing and trafficking in amphetamines rose from 1676 to 1747 in the same period.

NSW Police Association president Scott Weber said ice addicts before the courts should undergo mandatory rehabilitation and not be allowed back on the streets until they are no longer a threat. He said there should be greater focus and more resources for education programs preventing people getting hooked on ice in the first place.

Mr Weber slammed the judiciary‘s approach to crystal meth and said offenders were being let off the hook day after day, despite clear evidence of the destruction they cause.

“Time and time again we’re seeing seasoned criminals that keep committing these same offences put back out on the street,” Mr Weber said.

“It’s morale-sapping for police but people in the community pay the ultimate price because they have to deal with offenders hurting loved ones.”940468-ice-1

The death in Bowral last week of Kevin Norris was the latest example of violence linked to the drug, which senior police admit is being used in increasing amounts and is readily available. Mr Norris, 38, was on a three-day ice binge before he became violent at a McDonald’s restaurant on January 10. He was tasered and died later at Bowral police station, sparking a critical incident investigation.

Mr Weber would not comment on that incident but said people who use the drug have higher pain thresholds and become “extremely aggravated, emotive, aggressive and strong”, allowing them to carry out extreme violence beyond normal capabilities.

Anti-violence campaigner Ken Marslew, a representative on the NSW government’s Sentencing Council, said ice effects could be dramatic.962135-f3881944-9f05-11e4-8f33-8e666e0016f7

“Even the nicest of people become animals as a result of taking this drug,” Mr Marslew said.

“It is an epidemic because ice is relatively easy to make and you can get a lot out into the marketplace at a relatively cheap price.”

Peter and Beck McNeill said the ice epidemic was worse than the heroin crisis that swept parts of Western Sydney 20 years ago. They want new powers to allow parents to force ice-addicted children into rehabilitation.

The McNeills’ eldest son Dane went from being a promising ice hockey player to an ice addict and low-level drug dealer.  The 20-year-old was stabbed to death over an allegedly trivial amount of drugs and his body was dumped in a suitcase and set on fire in Picnic Point last July.

959417-499c9f20-9ebc-11e4-b9c3-ee66fd2b4239Three people, including two brothers and a pregnant woman, are accused of murdering or being an accessory to the death.

“(Ice) is like a wrecking ball through society,” Peter McNeill said.

“With heroin they are in a lull but with ice they snap — they go into a rage, they are in a superhuman stage.”

Premier Mike Baird has promised to take action on the drug, which he described as a “scourge” on society.

“Like anyone I am horrified to hear of the terrible impact ice has on our society and we are determined to do more,” he said.

952583-ice-2NSW drugs squad head Tony Cook said the number of violent incidents carried out by ice-addicted offenders was a “significant concern” and said use of the drug has increased.

“It’s pretty clear that ice can result in incidents of psychosis and psychotic behavior — it rips people and families apart,” he said.

Detective Superintendent Cook said the number of backyard labs where ice was made had leveled off — but the amount those labs can churn out is increasing. “One of our concerns is the scale we’re seeing,” he said. “We’ve had examples where we’re seizing vessels in the order of 100 and 200 liters. That’s production on a commercial scale.’’








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