Drugs a `massive challenge'

SUBSTANCE abuse is a ``massive'' challenge for Northern Tasmania, Cornerstone Youth Services chief executive Brian Wightman says.

Mr Wightman said anecdotally tobacco, methamphetamine drugs, alcohol and cannabis use was a problem.

Northern Crime and Drug Investigation Acting Inspector Jonathan Higgins said there had been a shift from speed (powder) to ice (crystal) as the drug of choice among Tasmanian drug users.

``There are certainly more seizures of ice,'' Acting Inspector Higgins said. 

``It is all over the state. There haven't been any massive increases in crime, in fact there has been a reduction in crime right across the board.

``We still see cannabis, ecstasy and methamphetamine as well but there is more ice being seen in recent years.

``There may be problems with substance abuse but it is not coming out the other end.''

The total district drug offenders detected in the North is stable, according to April figures for the 2013-14 financial year - with the statewide total detections at 2118 from 2289 at the same time last year.

Acting Inspector Higgins said said most of the methamphetamine was being smuggled into the state.

Mr Wightman said drug issues could not be swept under the carpet and highlighted the opportunity for the community to fund outreach services targeting substance abuse.

Headspace clinical services manager Kate Brennan said there were several reasons behind why people chose to use drugs.

``I wouldn't like to comment on why people are using substances, because it is an individual using a substance for a whole lot of different reasons,'' Ms Brennan said.

She said it was difficult to get people away from addiction and that ``people need to want to change to cure their substance abuse and addiction, other than that, there is not a lot of hope in those people changing''.

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