Teen use of ice rises on the Coffs Coast
ALARMING rates of young people are becoming hooked on crystal methyl-amphetamine as the 'ice' scourge continues to tighten its grip on the Coffs Coast.
Coffs-Clarence Police have released interim findings of a voluntary survey of people in police custody, revealing 7.22% of respondents were using 'ice' - more than three times higher than the national average outlined in the National Drug Strategy Household Survey.
Coffs-Clarence Crime Manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said 40% of people using the drug were under the age of 18 and 73% began using by the age of 25.
"The people most at risk are unemployed males from the age of 13-25 years and my concern is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are disproportionately represented as high users," Insp Jameson said.
Other findings revealed 86% of people transitioned into 'ice' from cannabis which Insp Jameson described as a "gateway drug".
"We have children as young as 12 who are driven by a cannabis addiction who regularly commit offences to feed that habit," he said.
"The key to tackling this issue is strong and effective education about being resilient and abstaining from all drug use."
Inspector Jameson said he did not believe usage rates had peaked.
"Over the last 20 months we're approaching 8kg of crystal methyl-amphetamine that we've seized in the community," he said.
"Violence surrounding the drug is significantly facing NSW Police and other issues include the volume of the drug in the marketplace."
Insp Jameson said a collaborative approach needed to continue to address the issue.
"Law enforcement as a part of a harm minimisation strategy has shown that drug usage has remained stable … but it's the foundation of resilience and education which are key."
- 40% of respondents stated they had commenced using crystal methyl-amphetamine by the age of 18, and 73% had commenced by the age of 25.
- 47% of respondents said they use crystal methyl-amphetamine with another drug, with 61% stating that the other drug was cannabis. 20% use it with ecstasy, 8% with cocaine and 5% with heroin.
- 81% of respondents stated their recent use of crystal methyl-amphetamine was not the first time they had used the drug.
- 58% said they use crystal methyl-amphetamine more than once a week (18% multiple times a day, 20% once a day, and 20% more than once a week)
- 72% of respondents use a point (a common street deal of the drug, which is 0.1gm) or less. 13% use multiple points each time, 11% use half a gram each time, and 4% use a gram each time.
- 41% of respondents use a meth pipe to smoke crystal methyl-amphetamine, 29% inject the drug, 13% ingest the drug, and 17% use other or multiple methods.
- 86% of respondents stated their journey to crystal methyl-amphetamine started with cannabis as their first drug of choice.
- The local cost of a street deal (0.1gm) is $80-100.
(The survey commenced on June 1 and will conclude on February 29, 2016. The survey is by voluntary participation and is conducted as a blind survey by respondents in police custody)