Australian police say that use of the homemade drug called Ice is not necessarily growing, but local manufacturers are creating product with a much stronger kick that dramatically increasew the drug’s harmful effects.
Government officials say that Ice is responsible for 26 percent of road fatalities in Victoria and is getting a whole generation hooked.
Officials say that the new version of the drug takes a crystalline form that is much more potent than the powdered form seen earlier.
“This exaggerates the drug’s harmful effect,” said Simon Ramsay, chair of the Victorian Parliament’s Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee.
Victoria Police have launched a new campaign that has already been credited with an 11 percent rise in the seizure of the chemicals used to make the drug.
But officials say one problem is that TV shows, like AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” glorify these sorts of homemade drugs.
“It has been built up by television shows like ‘Breaking Bad,’ and there is almost a hero-type mentality around it,” committee member David Southwick told the AAP.
The government is funding the new effort to the tune of $4.5 million with an additional $1.6 million needed to train new Ice sniffing dogs.
But even as the police are saying that the Ice problem is not growing, others are calling it an “epidemic” that is hooking thousands of Australians.
The rise of Ice is on par with the crack cocaine epidemic in the United States, they assert. Like crack, Ice is relatively cheap and easy to obtain.
“It is clear that an entire generation of rural youth is at risk, threatening the future prosperity of those communities,” Victoria Police deputy commissioner Graham Ashton told the Herald Sun.
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