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84,000 arrested in drug busts

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  1. buseman
    The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has released figures showing police arrested almost 84,000 people in relation to illegal drugs last financial year.

    The Illicit Drug Data Report found authorities seized more than 13 tonnes of illegal substances and discovered almost 450 clandestine drug labs.

    The report says the number of drug busts involving cocaine is at a record high level, with seizures at Australian borders up 71 per cent.

    Two-thirds of all drug-related arrests in Australia between 2008 and 2009 were cannabis-related, but overall the percentage of people using cannabis has fallen 50 per cent over the past decade.

    Amphetamine-type stimulants were the next most popular drug.

    Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor says police are discovering more clandestine drug laboratories.

    There were 449 detections of such laboratories in this financial year... two-thirds of which, quite disturbingly, are in residential areas, he said.

    Queensland had the highest level of drug labs, with around one-third of the national total being found there.

    Detective Inspector Mark Slater from Queensland's drug investigations unit says drug labs are operating in all types of residential areas around Australia.

    Detective Slater says the labs are often set up so they can be easily moved.

    Our labs are small, what we call addiction-based labs, which are easily transportable, he said.

    In those instances there will be occasions where you find them in vehicles, in hotel rooms in particular.

    He says busts are often made as a result of tip-offs from the public because there are usually signs if a drug lab is operating in a neighbourhood.

    The main thing the community probably would become aware of would be unusual or strong chemical odours in the vicinity of their homes or work environments, he said.

    You'll find particularly in a residential area that people come and go on a regular basis and it may not necessarily be that a premises is occupied 24/7, it could be that it's just used for production purposes.

    You'll see the signs of chemical containers and drums and waste products being moved in and out of the property. Other things like hoses and pipes and a range of things like that.

    Meanwhile, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus says many illicit substances continue to be imported from overseas.

    Obviously we have people stationed in Afghanistan at the moment working with the Afghani national police to look at how drugs are actually shipped throughout that part of the region, he said.

    We have liaison officers in that part of the world too, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and south-east Asia, also looking at how shipment routes end up in Australia.
    12029.jpg
    08/06/2010
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/08/2921455.htm

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  1. buseman
    Drug report points to increased use


    Law enforcement authorities have moved to crackdown on amphetamine and cocaine use in Australia after observing a worrying increase in the market for both drugs.

    The trends, outlined in the Australian Crime Commission's (ACC) 2008-2009 Illicit Drug Data Report, also point to a possible expansion in Australia's cocaine market.

    Cannabis remains the dominant illicit drug nationally in terms of arrests, seizures and use, but the number of seizures and arrests for amphetamines is now at its highest after steadily increasing over the past decade.

    ACC chief executive John Lawler said the ACC board would meet shortly to consider how to tackle the cocaine trend.

    He said while cocaine was often considered the domain of the wealthy, there was evidence of a growing number of lower socio-economic users, particularly injecting the drug.

    The board of the Australian Crime Commission identified cocaine as an issue and proactively moved to work in that area specifically, Mr Lawler told reporters on Tuesday.

    There were 848 cocaine-related arrests nationally in 2008-2009, a jump of almost 27 per cent from 669 in 2007/08, according to the report.

    Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus said cocaine only accounted for 1.8 per cent of drugs seized during the period, but we see that as an emerging and growing problem that we are certainly going to pay a lot of attention to.

    Mr Negus said the amphetamine market was also a concern, with an increase in the drugs' use and the number of clandestine laboratories detected.

    Of the record high 449 illegal drug labs uncovered nationally in 2008/09, 316 of those produced amphetamine-type stimulants, including ecstasy, speed and ice.

    In Australia amphetamines are the second most widely used drugs after cannabis and arrests have more than doubled from 8083 to 16,452 in the 10 years to 2008/09, the report found.

    About 20 per cent of seizures were related to amphetamines, the second highest figure after cannabis, which accounted for about 70 per cent of drugs seized in the same period.

    But we see amphetamines growing and certainly the impact of amphetamines on the community is significant, Mr Negus said.

    What we've seen is amphetamine usage resulting in quite horrific health consequences for the users.

    That's not to say that cannabis is not detrimental to people's health, but amphetamines particularly (are) causing concern amongst health professionals and law enforcement.

    The Australian heroin market could also be expanding, the report found, with a 20 per cent increase in arrests in 2008/09, although this was considerably lower than 10 years ago.

    The weight of drugs seized categorised as `other', which includes anabolic steroids, was the highest on record.

    For the first time the report included a chapter on secret drug laboratories, revealing two-thirds of those discovered in the last financial year operated in residential areas.

    Western Australia had the sharpest rise, with 78 clandestine labs found, an increase of 160 per cent from the 2007/08 figures.

    But Queensland turned up the greatest number of secret laboratories, with 148 uncovered.

    A total of 13 tonnes of illicit drugs were seized in the last financial year, and there were almost 84,000 drug arrests.

    Mr Negus said drugs were increasingly being imported through postal systems with large shipments arriving in sea cargo
    containers.

    Launching the report in Melbourne on Tuesday, Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said the government was working with its counterparts around the world to stem the flow of drugs into Australia.

    08 June 2010
    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1274087/Drug-report-points-to-increased-use--
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