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Author Topic: Sydney's Methamphetamine Prices Plunge  (Read 12025 times)

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Sydney's Methamphetamine Prices Plunge
« on: June 07, 2015, 07:50:37 AM »
from today's Sun-Herald >

Price of ice plummets in Sydney as 'legal' ingredients flood Australia - (Dated June 7, 2015 - 1:56AM)

"What we know, from our data, is that ice has definitely soared above everything else": Matt Noffs.

The price of the drug ice has plummeted by up to 60 per cent, fuelling Sydney's methamphetamine problem, with vital chemical ingredients legally flooding Australia from China.

The Sun-Herald has found that because certain chemicals aren't subject to the same import restrictions as the precursors they collectively help make, they are sailing through the state's ports, leaving criminals to obtain drug ingredients "like buying chemicals from Bunnings."

Several senior police sources have told The Sun-Herald that the rise of "backyard" labs and opportunists using internet recipes was also contributing to a crisis they cannot contain.

Street level ice was being sold for between $10,000 and $14,000 an ounce three years ago. Now police sources say it is available for as little as $6000 in regional areas. Teenage addicts, meanwhile, have told The Sun-Herald a single 'point' hit of ice, which is capable of keeping a user awake for up to three days, is now selling for as little as $40 in towns, such as Newcastle.

NSW Police drug squad commander, Detective Superintendent Tony Cooke said there is no doubt we have seen a lowering of prices and that tells us there is more ice available.

"Cooks are in this for the money, they could not care about the damage they cause as they try and fit into the market wherever they can to make their money."

Ice is predominantly made from three ingredients: pseudoephedrine, iodine and hypophosphorous acid.

In addition to methamphetamine that is imported or made domestically, the problem for Australian law enforcement agencies is that the chemicals used to make those precursors are being imported with ease because they aren't illegal.

Detective Superintendent Nick Bingham, who is commander of Operation Polaris – which targets organised crime at NSW sea cargo terminals –said "syndicates are seeing is it as a way to circumvent the border controls."

"It's almost like buying chemicals from Bunnings," he said.

Reports of a dramatic price slump have coincided with alarming new data, released by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) which shows the frequency of ice use among people who inject drugs nationally has now increased from fortnightly to close to weekly.

As usage continues to climb, so do fatalities. The centre's analysis of accidental death involving methamphetamine found there were 101 accidental drug induced deaths in 2011 – with early estimates indicating the figure climbed to as many as 170 in 2013.

The figures do not include deaths caused by violence episodes that were triggered by ice.

"I think the picture is pretty clear. I don't think anyone can now argue we are not facing significant problems with this drug, said NDARC Associate Professor Lucinda Burns.

"Whether its purity, availability, price, whatever, the issue is, we are seeing more people in hospital, more people being locked up and more people dying."

Professor Burns said if one area remains clouded, it is the "sub groups" taking up the drug. "Some people say there may be a group of more affluent, traditional cocaine users. Others say that young people might be replacing alcohol with it at venues. We definitely need to unpack that more."

The Sun-Herald understands that 12 months ago, wholesale ice was priced between $250,000 and $275,000. Yet police intelligence indicates low-grade versions of the drug have surfaced for as little as $100,000 a kilo in the past three months. The full effect of that decline has yet to be seen but police believe it may trigger further price cuts. Noffs Foundation CEO Matt Noffs, who runs a range of drug addiction rehab programs for young people, said: "What we know, from our data, is that ice has definitely soared above everything else.

"Even when heroin use was at its worst in the late nineties, cannabis and alcohol were always the drugs that people had the most significant issues with. But today ice has even now surpassed marijuana. That's unheard of – and it all comes down to availability and how cheap it is. And yes, it's getting cheaper."

A spokesman for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service almost 120,000 inspections of sea cargo containers and units were conducted in 2013-14.


* the price for 1/2 gram is currently between $AUD 200-250, with high purity levels.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 07:56:42 AM by smfadmin »
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