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  1. Abrad
    From: AAP
    By Paul Osborne

    May 02, 2006


    A BOOMING home-based industry in poor-quality party drugs is threatening the lives of young Australians, authorities warn.
    The latest overview of the national illegal drug trade shows almost 14 tonnes of illegal drugs were seized in 2004-05.

    The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report, released today, shows the drugs include almost seven tonnes of cannabis, 2.3 tonnes of amphetamines, 194kg of heroin and 191kg of cocaine.

    ACC chief Alastair Milroy said cannabis remained the most widely used illicit drug, with growers in every state and territory.

    But he said there was a growing trend towards people making amphetamines at home.

    "Clandestine laboratory detections have continued to increase, with 381 laboratories detected nationally," Mr Milroy said.


    The number of labs detected by police had risen from 50 in 1996, with every state except NSW and South Australia recording rises in the past year.

    Half of the labs detected were in Queensland, with most being small "box labs" which could be quickly transported or hidden.

    Mr Milroy said the most popular amphetamine appeared to be crystal methylamphetamine, or ice.

    Much of it was of poor quality, potentially putting lives at risk because of the uncertainty of the chemicals in the drug, he said.

    There also were fears children in homes where drugs were made could be exposed to toxic chemicals.

    Mr Milroy said the drugs were most commonly used by young people at parties and clubs.

    Police are also concerned the low quality of ice being made in Australia may boost demand for imports.

    The report showed most of the alternative party drug MDMA, or ecstasy, was coming in from western Europe, but some was being produced locally.

    While there were fewer shipments in the past year, they were of greater weight.

    Police and Customs last year seized what is believed to be the world's largest single detection of MDMA – more than 1.2 tonnes, or five million tablets shipped from Italy in a container of tiles.

    Mr Milroy said tablets sold as ecstasy often had a variety of drugs mixed with MDMA or no MDMA at all.

    The amount of heroin seized was almost double the previous year, but much lower than figures recorded prior to 2002-03.

    The cocaine market remained fairly stable with Western Australia (102kg) and NSW (75kg) accounting for most of the cocaine seized nationally – most of which entered the country through the post.

    Of the 77,000 drug-related arrests during the year, 70 per cent of them were over cannabis.

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  1. Abrad
    Alarm over 'backyard' party drug increase

    By Andrea Petrie
    May 3, 2006


    PARTY drugs made in dangerous backyard laboratories have emerged as the latest trend in illicit substances, an Australian Crime Commission report shows.

    The Illicit Drug Data Report 2004-05, released yesterday, shows that almost 14 tonnes of illegal drugs were seized in last financial year, including almost seven tonnes of cannabis, 2.3 tonnes of amphetamines, 194 kilograms of heroin and 191 kilograms of cocaine.

    Cannabis remained the most widely used illicit drug. Most of it was produced domestically, with cultivation prolific in all states and territories. Of the 77,333 drug-related arrests made during the year, 70 per cent related to cannabis. But the Australian Crime Commission's chief executive, Alastair Milroy, said of particular concern was the emerging trend in the manufacture of amphetamines in clandestine laboratories.

    "Clandestine laboratory detections have continued to increase, with 381 laboratories detected nationally," he said.

    He said the most popular amphetamine used among young people was crystal methylamphetamine, or the highly addictive drug known as "ice", which, along with other amphetamine-type stimulants, were now being produced domestically with ingredients such as ketamine horse anaesthetic.

    Production techniques and the dangerous chemicals used meant such drugs posed a significant health risk.

    Such laboratories exposed children and other members of the community to toxic chemicals, he said.

    The report showed that Australia's supply of MDMA, or the party drug ecstasy, had increased, in contrast to a worldwide drop, but Mr Milroy said many tablets sold as ecstasy often had a variety of drugs mixed with MDMA and some in fact contained no MDMA at all.

    The report found the weight of heroin seized in 2004-05 had increased nearly threefold, despite fewer border detections than in 2002-03.

    And while the cocaine market remained fairly stable, there were fewer seizures than the previous year but the weight of the 2004-05 seizures increased, most of which entered the country through the post.

    Customs and Justice Minister Chris Ellison said Australian was a "dangerous region" in terms of drugs and the availability of precursor chemicals used to manufacture illicit substances.

    But he vowed the "war against drugs" would continue.

    "I believe that we've won some battles in relation to the war on drugs but this war is continuing," Senator Ellison said.

    DRUG BUSTSSOURCE: ACC ILLICIT DRUG DATA REPORT 2004-05

    ■13.6 tonnes of illicit drugs seized

    ■54,000 seizures

    ■77,000 people arrested

    ■Arrests included 62,000 users and 15,000 sellers

    ■6.922 tonnes of cannabis seized

    ■2.276 tonnes of amphetamines seized

    ■194 kilograms heroin seized

    ■191 kilograms cocaine seized
  2. Abrad
    Australia tops ecstasy abuse

    From:
    By Keith Moor

    May 03, 2006


    MORE than two million Australians have taken illegal amphetamine-based drugs.
    And Australians are the biggest users of ecstasy in the world, per head of population.

    The shock findings are contained in the Australian Crime Commission's Illicit Drug Data Report for 2004-05.

    Justice Minister Chris Ellison, who launched the ACC report yesterday, said there had been a disturbing increase in the use and making of amphetamine-type substances (ATS) in Australia.

    Senator Ellison said an estimated one in 10 Australians had tried ATS.

    ACC chief executive Alastair Milroy said tablets sold as ecstasy or speed often contained other dangerous chemicals, including the horse tranquilliser ketamine.

    "There is an increasing trend in the use of crystal methylamphetamine (ice) among young recreational drug users," he said.

    Senator Ellison said most Australians now seemed to have got the message not to use heroin.

    "But with amphetamine-type stimulants we are struggling," he said.

    "We have got a lot more to do in relation to educating our young people."

    The report revealed:

    * POLICE arrested 77,333 people for drug-related offences in Australia last year and seized more than 13.6 tonnes of illegal drugs.

    * THERE has been a 556 per cent increase in the number of amphetamine-producing clandestine laboratories detected in Australia since 1996.

    * CRIMINAL gangs have infiltrated pharmaceutical, chemical, steel and glassware companies so they have access to drug-making ingredients and equipment.

    * SEVENTY per cent of people arrested in Australia have used illegal drugs in the 30 days before being arrested.

    * MORE than 60 per cent of criminals charged with property offences had recently used illegal drugs other than cannabis.

    * FORTY-ONE per cent of females detained by police tested positive to amphetamines and 29 per cent of males did.

    * WEST African crime gangs play a big role in smuggling cocaine to Australia.

    * AUSTRALIANS snort and inject almost three tonnes of cocaine a year.

    * BY far the biggest annual increase in seized amphetamines was in Victoria, up almost 600 per cent to 1.26 tonnes in 2004-05.

    * CANNABIS is increasingly being used by ecstasy and other drug users to manage moods and come down from stimulant drugs.

    * VIETNAMESE crime gangs are emerging as a dominant force in hydroponic cannabis production.

    * THE continuing decline in opium production in South-East Asia has created the potential for traffickers to look to Afghanistan as a future source of heroin to Australia.

    * A CREW member from a visiting Japanese warship tried to bring almost 10kg of crystal methylamphetamine (ice) into Australia last year.

    The ACC report warned that recent restrictions placed on the supply of pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets would see criminals turn to other methods to get the ingredients for amphetamines.

    Mr Milroy said police seized 6.9 tonnes of cannabis last year.
  3. Abrad
    Home-made drugs posing threat to users

    A booming home-based industry in poor-quality party drugs is threatening the lives of young Australians, authorities warn.

    The latest overview of the national illegal drug trade showed almost 14 tonnes of illegal drugs were seized in 2004-05.

    The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report, released on Tuesday, showed the drugs included almost seven tonnes of cannabis, 2.3 tonnes of amphetamines, 194kg of heroin and 191kg of cocaine.

    ACC chief Alastair Milroy said cannabis remained the most widely used illicit drug, with growers in every state and territory.

    But he said there was a growing trend towards people making amphetamines at home.

    "Clandestine laboratory detections have continued to increase, with 381 laboratories detected nationally," Mr Milroy said.

    The number of labs detected by police had risen from 50 in 1996, with every state except NSW and South Australia recording rises in the past year.

    Half of the labs detected were in Queensland, with most being small "box labs" which could be quickly transported or hidden.

    Mr Milroy said the most popular amphetamine appeared to be crystal methylamphetamine, or ice.

    Much of it was of poor quality, potentially putting lives at risk because of the uncertainty of the chemicals in the drug, he said.

    There also were fears children in homes where drugs were made could be exposed to toxic chemicals.

    Mr Milroy said the drugs were most commonly used by young people at parties and clubs.

    Police are also concerned the low quality of ice being made in Australia may boost demand for imports.

    The report showed most of the alternative party drug MDMA, or ecstasy, was coming in from western Europe, but some was being locally produced.

    While there were fewer shipments in the past year, they were of greater weight.

    Police and Customs last year seized what is believed to be the world's largest single detection of MDMA - more than 1.2 tonnes, or five million tablets shipped from Italy in a container of tiles.

    Mr Milroy said tablets sold as ecstasy often had a variety of drugs mixed with MDMA or no MDMA at all.

    The amount of heroin seized was almost double the previous year, but much lower than figures recorded prior to 2002-03.

    The cocaine market remained fairly stable with Western Australia (102kg) and NSW (75kg) accounting for most of the cocaine seized nationally - most of which entered the country through the post.



    Of the 77,000 drug-related arrests during the year, 70 per cent of them were over cannabis.

    © 2006 AAP
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