POLICE have warned the highly addictive drug ice could get a grip on the south-west.
Launching an eight-day campaign yesterday, the region’s top cop, divisional commander Superintendent Tracy Linford, said crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”, was cheap to buy and used by all socio-economic groups.
“My research on this particular drug is that it’s very addictive,” Superintendent Linford said.
“Users need to use more and more as time progresses to get the same effect.
“In some people it can cause psychosis and it can cause that adrenalin rush which therefore means they can be more violent.
“Of course one of the things we’re trying to combat is that we want to reduce assaults and we want to reduce burglaries. If people are using ice then those are the type of crimes we might see them commit.
“We don’t want to have our heads in the sand. We want to be proactive and we want the community to be proactive.”
Superintendent Linford said ice was different to other drugs that had to be imported from overseas or grown, like cannabis. “We’re starting to hear it’s a party drug, it’s cheap to get,” she said.
“It’s quite readily able to be made. Not that we’ve got any information that it’s being made in this division. I can’t rule it out, but we certainly don’t have any information of that.
“So it has the real potential to take a grip if we don’t take steps to combat it.
“There are lots of great things going on in this division where the agencies are getting together and coming up with ideas to fix problems.
“This is one area that we suspect ice is going to be an emerging problem.
“The information we’re getting is from a range of sources. Some of that is coming from other police divisions.
“Some of it is coming from Western Region Alcohol and Drug centre and I know they’re reporting an increase in use from the people they’re seeing.
“My understanding is the hospitals are seeing more presentations. We know it’s on our doorstep with places like Geelong. We want to get on the front foot.”
Superintendent Linford said that in the past six months police had been conducting more comprehensive debriefs to find out why the offence was committed.
“When we have got an offender in for an offence, aside from interviewing them about that offence, we now spend a bit of time asking them what made them do it,” she said.
“Some are saying that ‘I have an addiction to ice’ or ‘I needed it to pay for a hit of ice.’
“Or it might even be other drugs but ice is the new thing on the block.”
A community forum will be held on Monday, February 18 to educate the public about the impacts of ice. She said the forum would explain the affects of ice, tools if they’ve got a family member with an addiction, how to help to get them get off it and how to protect themselves from burglary and assaults.
“If we tool the community with the information, like we are with the agencies that work here, then together we can probably stop this becoming any issue here,” she said.
The forum is being conducted by training organisation Anex and will be held at the meeting room at the Warrnambool’s Lighthouse Theatre from 6pm to 7pm. Bookings for the free forum are essential. Phone 5564 1000.