Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, has announced that the federal government will work with states to tackle what he called the “growing scourge of ice” in the country.
Ice, the popular name given to crystal methamphetamine, “poses the highest risk of all illicit drugs to our community with ice use rates almost doubling in the last 12 months”, Abbott said in a statement on Wednesday, citing evidence from the Australian Crime Commission (ACC).
Abbott said a National Ice Action Strategy would be developed by a task force overseen by federal ministers and led by Ken Lay, a former Victoria police commissioner.
“As a citizen and as a parent I am appalled at what is happening on our streets and in our homes,” Abbott said in Sydney on Wednesday.
“Ice is far more addictive than any other illicit drug. It does far more damage than any other illicit drug… This is a drug epidemic way beyond anything that we have seen before now.”
Chris Dawson, ACC chief, said last month that organised crime is at the centre of the supply and distribution of ice to Australians, encouraged by the high street price in Australia.
An ACC report says the average street price per gram of methamphetamine in China is $80, whereas in Australia it is $500.
“More than 60 percent of Australia’s highest risk serious and organised crime targets are using methamphetamine as a source of profit to the detriment of the economic and social fabric of the Australian community,” Dawson said.