THE crackdown on the importation and distribution of the drug ice in Tasmania is one of the most crucial operations undertaken by police in recent years.
Northern Tasmania leads the state in the number of serious drug offenders charged.
Among those serious offenders, the North also has the highest number of amphetamine-based drugs charges.
Detectives attribute a spike in seizures to a greater presence of the drug in the state and targeted operations of drug dealers.
Police are to be commended for their successes so far.
The job of tackling illicit drug use, however, should not just remain with police. It takes an all-of-community response to deal with the issue.
Health and rehabilitation programs are also needed so that people exposed to ice use can kick their habits.
Education to prevent people experimenting with ice in the first instance is also vital.
Repetitive behaviours such as scratching and teeth grinding are common symptoms, as is excessive sweating and a fast heart rate and accelerated breathing.
Injecting the drug increases the risk of contracting diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
An overdose can lead to fits, extreme agitation, confusion, severe headaches, unconsciousness, stroke, heart attack and death.
Reports of an increased ice culture is often passed off as anecdotal or exaggerated.
The Health Department has moved to curb concerns with a report saying claims of an ice epidemic in the North-West were unfounded.
Other drugs such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and marijuana were more problematic.
That may be the case but the recent seizures by police suggest crystal methamphetamine is being increasingly brought into the state through airports and the mail.
We all must support police, health groups and educators to reduce the potential damage, particularly to impressionable young people.
- MARK BAKER, deputy editor