Stimulant use up in state but cannabis still rife

TASMANIA'S appetite for amphetamine-like stimulants such as ice, while not matching interstate enthusiasm, is still on the rise, the latest drug figures show.

But the Australian Crime Commission's Illicit Drug Data Report, released yesterday, reveals that cannabis is by far Tasmania's most prevalent drug.

The number of cannabis seizures here was more than 10 times the next most frequent drug, which is amphetamine-type stimulants.

In 2012-13 police seized 245 kilograms of cannabis - a 19 per cent increase - in Tasmania via 2796 seizures.

Despite this, cannabis- related arrests decreased 19 per cent from 1659 in 2011-12 to 1338 last financial year.

The amount of amphetamine-type stimulants seized in Tasmania increased 11 per cent to 5.2 kilograms compared with 4.4 tonnes in NSW - a 400 per cent increase.

Interestingly Tasmania experienced the biggest fluctuation in purity for methylamphetamine and it's crystallized form ice.

During the reporting period the median purity of methylamphetamine samples ranged from 6 per cent to 64 per cent in Tasmania.

Launceston CIB Detective Inspector Scott Flude said ice was standing out as a particularly devastating drug.

"The harm it creates not only to the user but a lot of the users are out committing crimes to feed their habit," he said.

"Methamphetamine is causing us the most problems."

The Northern drug squad has seized about 730 grams of methamphetamine in the past few months.

The commission's report showed pharmaceutical opioids were most commonly injected in Tasmania (40 per cent) after the Northern Territory (70 per cent).

These two jurisdictions also reported the highest illegal use of morphine with heroin traditionally difficult to obtain.

Tasmania and the Northern Territory were the only places to see a decrease in cocaine arrests.

According to the report there were five drug arrests every day in Tasmania during 2012-13.


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