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Drug data report finds illicit drug arrests and seizures are highest on record

Minister for Justice

Drug data report finds illicit drug arrests and seizures are highest on record

29 April 2014

New evidence released today in the Australian Crime Commission's Illicit Drug Data Report 2012–13 reveals seizures and arrests of nearly all drug types across the country were at record highs.

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan was at Melbourne's Alfred Hospital today to release the report which provides governments, law enforcement agencies and policy makers with a robust picture of the Australian illicit drug market.

"The information released today is as encouraging as it is challenging. Law enforcement is making significant inroads in the fight against illicit drugs. We're detecting more criminals and disrupting more illicit drugs before they hit the streets," Mr Keenan said.

"But there is much more work to be done and this report also provides critical evidence so that decision makers and law enforcement officers can develop further strategies to undermine the business models of organised crime and combat the threat of illicit drugs," Mr Keenan said.

A growing concern identified in this year's report is the increasing number of seizures of amphetamine type stimulants. These drugs are typically amphetamine or methamphetamine-based and they have street names including ice or meth.

"Ice is a devastating, insidious drug. It affects everyone from users, their families, and their communities, and the authorities who deal with the users," Mr Keenan said.

"The Illicit Drugs Data Report is a vital tool to understand and effectively respond to the challenges that ice, and all illicit drugs pose," Mr Keenan said.

"Since coming to Government we immediately put measures in place to specifically detect and disrupt illicit drugs before they hit the streets. We have introduced anti-gang strike teams in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia under our National Anti-Gangs Squad.

"These are specialist federal law enforcement officers embedded with state police to detect and disrupt the illicit drug trade and undermine the business models of organised crime.

"These teams feed information to our recently established Australian Gangs Intelligence Coordination Centre and that intelligence is coordinated by the Australian Crime Commission to track gangs operating across state and territory borders.

"We have also committed $88 million to Customs and Border Protection to increase inspections of high-risk cargo and mail, and also increase the intensity of examinations which will maximise the potential of stopping illegal drugs before they hit our streets.

"Further the Government has committed to using dirty money from proceeds of crime and unexplained wealth proceedings to fund strategies to tackle organised crime and the illicit drug trade.

"We will continue to work with States and Territories to make sure that we have a comprehensive national picture and response to the problem of illicit drugs because we are determined to undermine the business models of organised crime and combat the scourge of these drugs," Mr Keenan said.

Australian Crime Commission Chief Executive Officer Chris Dawson said today's report is more detailed than ever before with the inclusion of specific profiling data.

"For the first time, the report includes forensic profiling data of both border and domestic methylamphetamine and MDMA seizures, as well as profiling data of domestic heroin seizures," Mr Dawson said.

"This gives us a greater understanding of the illicit drug market, which enables us to better protect the community against the threat, harm and destruction that illicit drugs cause."

The full report is available by visiting https://www.crimecommission.gov.au.