Top cop calls for solution to ice issue

Police Commissioner Darren Hine

Police Commissioner Darren Hine

TASMANIA Police seized nearly four times as much amphetamine-type drugs last year, however, the state's top cop has joined drug experts in calling for solutions outside law enforcement.

During an interview with the ABC, Police Commissioner Darren Hine said agencies had to work together to combat an increase in the drug known as ice.

"We can't continue - from a law enforcement point of view - to arrest our way out of it," he said yesterday.

"We've got to work with our partners to make sure we deal with not only prevention but the cure of the problem."

His comments follow news that the Northern CIB seized 10 times as much amphetamine-type drugs last year and a $10 million high-grade amphetamine bust in July in the South.

Commissioner Hine said he wanted to see a focus on drug education continue.

The comments echo those from the Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council of Tasmania.

This week chief executive Jann Smith said education about the potential for harm, particularly when methamphetamine is injected, was critical.

Intravenous drug users are at a greater risk of contracting blood-borne diseases.

Research shows once drugs are injected it's rare for the user to resort to other methods of consumption.

Despite the increase in ice seized, Northern rehabilitation service Missiondale said a corresponding increase in its waiting list did not eventuate.

About a third of Missiondale's residents seek treatment for amphetamine type drug abuse.

In 2013-14 the amount of amphetamine type drugs seized by police increased 10-fold in the North and almost doubled in the South, with an increase in seizure amounts also on the North-West.

Statewide, 5.8 kilograms were seized compared to 1.5 kilograms the previous year.

At the same time, the amount of cannabis seized almost halved from 184 kilograms to 94 kilograms, indicating a change in police priorities.

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