WA has become Australia’s “ice State” with wastewater tests revealing the west has the highest level of meth-amphetamine drug use in the country — and the problem is getting worse.
A report from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to be released today shows the use of the highly addictive and destructive drug in regional WA is almost double the national average and by far the highest in Australia.
And unlike other States, the disturbing results show that the ice crisis is plaguing capital city users with Perth recording the second-highest dosage amounts per 1000 people, trailing only Adelaide.
The results are based on wastewater tests taken in December from six treatment plants in the State, with three in Perth and three in big regional centres.
The regional WA results suggest 65 doses of the drug were taken for every thousand people each day, compared with a national average of just below 40 doses.
In Perth, the daily dose was about 60 for every thousand people every day compared with the national capital city average of about 35 doses. The report finds that when plotted against historical levels, methamphetamine consumption in WA is increasing, while other hotspots for the drug have stabilised or a declined in use.
Minister for Law Enforcement Angus Taylor will launch the Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report in Mandurah today with the chief of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Michael Phelan and the Liberal member for Canning Andrew Hastie.
Mr Taylor said that the figures were concerning, particularly given “there is no sign of improvement in WA”.
“It is very clear that methylamphetamine is a devastating scourge in Australia, in Western Australia and, in particular, regional WA,” he said.
“What is striking about the regions across Australia is they have gone from very little in the way of illicit hard drugs even 10 to 15 years ago to a very serious problem today — and that is very clear in Western Australia.”
To tackle the problem, Mr Taylor said law enforcement agencies were targeting drug distribution networks, with a focus on disrupting communication channels and money laundering activities, along with traditional border interceptions.
WA’s vast coastline and proximity to Asia has made it a prime target for drug importation networks, including a record 1.2 tonne importation of methamphetamine intercepted in Geraldton in December.
While the State’s use of ice was the highest in the country, it recorded lower results for other illicit drugs including cocaine, MDMA and heroin.
Mr Hastie said the results showed the need for action in the community to help those with addiction problems, calling for political support for the drug testing of welfare recipients in the Mandurah region, which has been opposed by the Senate.
“Labor has its head in the sand on this one,” he said.
“We do have a problem and we have widespread community support for this trial.”
Mr Hastie said anecdotal evidence in the community backed up the findings in the report, with many people expressing concern about heightened drug use in the area.
This article originally appeared on PerthNow.