The Australian Federal Police gave evidence to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Community Affairs in August 2002 that international criminals controlling the heroin trade into Australia had switched their major source of drug income from heroin to “speed”.
The police told the politicians that the criminals made this “business decision” based on market research of drug users.
The research highlighted that drug users in Australia preferred to pop a pill than inject themselves with heroin or other drugs.
Heroin deaths in Australia have plummeted since the introduction of this heroin drought according to the police.
Speed is a popular party drug in the nightclubs and pubs in Sydney and Melbourne.
But a new party drug called “ice”, which according to Hawaiian police is 15 times more powerful than powdered amphetamines, is now surpassing speed.
Users of ice experience violent mood swings including hallucinations, paranoid delusions, uncontrolled violence, psychosis and symptoms similar to paranoid schizophrenia.
The Melbourne Herald Sun (January 12, 2004) reported that the Victorian Police Forensic Science unit had disclosed that ice users were getting more violent, aggressive and erratic. Users get depressed, aggravated and suicidal.
One ice user told the Herald Sun that ice forced him into paranoid psychosis and that he had attempted suicide three times.
Ice is being sold for $40 a hit and one drug agency estimated that 500,000 Australians had used ice since it came on the market.
Another drug counsellor claimed that the violence was so bad that his life was threatened. He had never been attacked in 18 years as a counsellor until ice hit Melbourne.
Ice is smoked in glass pipes that are legally sold in Victoria for $50 each, with 10,000 sold every month just in Melbourne.
Australian Customs seized 233 kg of ice in 2002-2003, no doubt smuggled into Australia by the drug producers overseas.
According to the American Centre for Democracy, the other major beneficiaries of drug money are terrorists.
Al-Qaeda, Hezballah and at least 12 other terrorist groups are sustained by money from illicit drugs.
Narco-terrorism is funded by illicit drugs to support a jihad against Western nations which includes undermining them by creating a public health crisis.
The use of the illicit drug trade as a weapon against the West was supported by a religious edict called a fatwa claiming that “if we cannot kill them [Western democracies] by guns we will with drugs,” according to US government officials.
According to Interpol, the previous Taliban regime allowed terrorists to cultivate up to 70 per cent of the opium in northern Afghanistan.
Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda drug trafficking business commenced in the mid-1980s in Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of heroin.
Heroin produced by terrorist groups is trafficked all over the world.
The harm minimisation policies used in Australia to allow illicit drug users to maintain their drug habit – such as the Kings Cross injecting room – simply create a legal market for illicit drugs.
Other policies, such as providing free syringes and heroin maintenance programs, also sustain the use of illicit drugs in our community.
The major beneficiaries for this drug maintenance strategy in Australia are criminals and terrorists.
Where do our politicians think our illicit drugs come from?
Sure, some illicit drugs like cannabis are produced in Australia, but substantial quantities of heroin, amphetamines, speed, ice and others are smuggled into Australia by criminals.
Overseas, countries such as Sweden have successfully reduced demand for illicit drugs by using their courts to divert users into detoxification and then rehabilitation.
This rehabilitation has a success rate in excess of 85 per cent in getting illicit drug users off drugs permanently, but this method is not used in Australia.
Recent surveys of Australians in their 20s showed that in excess of one in three had used an illicit drug in the previous year.
It is this strong demand for illicit drugs that makes Australia a target for the terrorists and drug smugglers.
Australia has a responsibility to reduce demand for illicit drugs, thereby starving both terrorists and criminals of funds.
With this being a Federal election year, drug issues should be firmly on the political agenda.
David Perrin is the National President of the Australian Family Association and Executive Officer of the Drug Advisory Council of Australia