Breaking Bad in Australia: Crystal Meth Pandemic on the Rise as Police See 'Record-Breaking Seizures'
By Reissa Su | April 30, 2014 6:13 PM EST
Australia may be on the verge of a "crystal meth pandemic." Apparently, authorities have seized more drugs and announced more arrests. According to a report by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), the situation was "gravely serious" with the involvement of international drug cartels.
A paramedic watches a drug user as he prepares himself for an injection with a narcotic drug inside a supervised injection hall in Athens November 25, 2013. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis
ACC Acting Chief Executive Paul Jevtovic said national seizures of illicit drugs have reached record-high in nearly all drug types within the reporting period. He added illegal drug use in Australia, including the profits gained, is linked to global organized crime groups that are commonly implicated in major crimes and corruption abroad.
Based on the ACC report, a record of 101,749 arrests was made during the financial to July 2013 with 86,918 seizures of illicit drugs. Data showed there was a 66 percent increase in the past decade.
Previously, authorities said Australia's wealth and the strong Australian dollar meant the presence of drug traffickers in the country. ACC Official Judy Lind told media that Australians are willing to pay a high price for illegal drugs since they have the capacity to do so. She said international drug cartels have been banking on that assumption in the past 4 or 5 years.
While the illicit cannabis continues to proliferate in Australia's drug market, cocaine and performance-enhancing drugs have increased in popularity based on records. The ACC also reported there was a "massive surge" of ice or crystal methylamphetamine. Crystal meth, as it is widely known, is the second most popular drug. Authorities have seized up to 300 percent of crystal meth annually.
Jevtovic said the issue was becoming a "national concern" as illicit drug users tend to become highly aggressive and prone to engage in violent assaults. He compared it to the "crack crisis" that plagued the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s. He said crystal meth is becoming a pandemic comparable akin to the crack cocaine issue in the U.S.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the crystal meth epidemic is becoming a major problem and described it as a "devastating, insidious drug" affecting not only the users but also families and communities.
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