01 November 2016

Australia's Ice Epidemic: Disrupting the supply chain

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With an estimated 7% of Australian's aged 14 and over having used meth at least once in their lives and over 50.4% of the same age group reporting crystal or ice as their main form of drug use the nation's Governments are moving towards addressing not only the addiction, but the ice supply chain itself in an attempt to reduce ice availability in Australia.

On the 21st of October 2016, Federal Minister for Justice, the Hon. Michael Keenan MP announced a new national plan to cut off the supply of chemicals and equipment used in laboratories that make ice and other drugs. 

With huge quantities of the drug produced within Australia's borders and with a considerable amount of the drug captured at our borders since 2010 the government's response to shutting down the ice supply chain has been well received in the community.

Despite previous efforts from all Australian governments to try and restrict the criminal diversion of the products used in the production of ice, the controls put in place differ between jurisdictions, creating vulnerabilities in the chemical supply chain that ICE manufacturers have exploited.

To combat these areas, State and Territory Justice Ministers have agreed to implement three key recommendations to enhance law enforcement efforts to identify and prevent the use of precursors in the manufacturing of illicit drugs. 

Firstly, all states and territories will implement harmonised precursor laws, covering a nationally consistent list of precursor chemicals and equipment. This creates a uniformed, national framework to harden the chemical industry against infiltration by organised crime groups.

Secondly, the Ministers have agreed to build a national electronic end user declaration system, allowing law enforcement to track sales of precursor chemicals across the country in real-time. This database will be hosted by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

The implementation of a national electronic end user declaration system aims to help identify and convict criminals who are preying on industry by diverting chemicals, such as pseudoephedrine in cold and flu tablets, into illicit drug production. 

Thirdly, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and policing agencies will continue to strengthen their relationships, and improve information sharing about importations of high-risk precursor chemicals arriving in Australia. 

According to a press release announcing the new National Plan to cut off the ICE supply chain, serious and organised crime costs the Australian economy an estimated $36 billion a year, with the illicit drug trade continuing to be a major source of profit for criminal enterprises and networks.

The National ICE Action Strategy, which was released in December 2015, identified the need for stronger controls on the chemicals used to make drugs as one of the key actions needed to tackle Australia's ICE problem. 

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

Mike’s most recently published story, Seeds of Eden, is featured in the Sproutlings Anthology released in March 2016. 

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