Michael Wray, The Courier-MailDecember 11, 2017 12:00am
A GENERATION of Queenslanders is at risk of being lost to an ice epidemic that is outpacing all efforts to stop its insidious spread through the state.
"If we don’t get the response right to this drug we will lose a generation of our young people. - Senior Sergeant Paul Tabrett"
The ice market poses the highest level of risk to Queensland, due to the high level of organised crime involvement and its ready availability
A four-month investigation by The Courier-Mail into ice, the most addictive and damaging form of methamphetamine, has uncovered evidence that authorities are failing to turn the tide against the drug, despite vigilant policing and millions of dollars of government funding.
Across the state, ice seizures and arrests, hospital admissions, deaths and the number of children being removed from addicted parents have all soared in the past few years, with many indicators continuing to climb.
The ongoing surge of ice-related problems has placed police, courts, hospitals and community services under severe stress, with many reporting the drug is the number one problem they are facing.
Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker said police had the resources to “deal with the supply side” but it would remain a problem as long as demand existed.
“If you told a person there’s a black snake in the corner and it’s dangerous, stay away from it, people will stay away. Yet people are daily consuming dangerous drugs that will kill them,” he said.
The Crime and Corruption Commission listed ice as the state’s fastest-growing illicit drug market. It added that the market posed the “highest level of risk to Queensland, due to the high level of organised crime involvement, its ready availability, and the significant harm the drug causes users and the community”.
Some of the most devastating effects are being borne by young children, with fears that research on the damage done to the foetuses of meth-addicted mothers has failed to keep up with the escalating problem.
Child services reported this year that a third of children who came into department care in 2016 had parents who use, or had used, ice.
A total of 746 children were in this category, with 60 per cent suffering neglect, about a third subjected to emotional harm, and 11 per cent physical harm.