Market assessment: VERY HIGH with an increasing market trend.
What is it?
Methylamphetamine is a harmful synthetic substance that is part of a larger group of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). In Queensland methylamphetamine is available in powder, capsule, pill, crystal (“ice”), paste or liquid forms.
The methylamphetamine market in Queensland
- Methylamphetamine continues to be the fastest growing illicit drug market in Queensland. Law enforcement and health agencies identified that this market remains the most significant drug market in Queensland, showing strong and consistent demand, high levels of organised crime involvement and causing significant harms to the user and the community.
- The last three years has seen considerable growth in the methylamphetamine market. Most notably, there has been a shift in the main form of methylamphetamine available and used in Queensland from predominantly powder form to crystal (ice).
- The number of methylamphetamine seizures and arrests continue to increase. Methylamphetamine has been detected in almost all areas of Queensland, with the majority of methylamphetamine trafficking charges occurring in the Brisbane region, closely followed by Central region.
- There has also been a shift away from clandestine domestic production — which previously accounted for most methylamphetamine on the Queensland market — to importations of high-purity final product (crystal methamphetamine) from overseas.
- The ready availability of ice in Queensland has attracted new users, including people who have not previously used drugs, and broadened the overall methylamphetamine user group.
- Methylamphetamine is reported to be easy/very easy to obtain in Queensland, and the frequency of methylamphetamine use has increase since our previous assessment.
Organised crime presence
- Organised crime groups are entrenched in the methylamphetamine market in Queensland.
- Interstate organised crime groups are targeting regional areas of Queensland for the supply of crystal methylamphetamine because of the higher profit margins associated with supplying these areas.
What you should know
Methylamphetamine, particularly ice, is a very harmful drug that poses significant risks to individual users and the Queensland community.
- Methylamphetamine has been linked to extreme weight loss, itchy skin, mood disturbances (including psychosis), insomnia, repetitious behaviour, violence and deaths. The number of deaths, overdoses, and drug-related episodes associated with methylamphetamine continues to trend upwards.
- Poly drug use — such as using ice in conjunction with other drugs — can increase the risk of experiencing adverse health effects.
- The purity of methylamphetamine has increased significantly since 2012, which creates greater risk for the user and increases the likelihood of addiction.
- The expansion of the ice market is having significant impacts on law enforcement and health resources. Queensland police have reported domestic violence, traffic accidents, armed robberies, serious sexual offences, attempted murders, murders and wounding associated with ice use.
- Health services, particularly hospital emergency departments, are seeing an increasing number of ice-related presentations. Several hospitals throughout Queensland have introduced new policies and procedures to help reduce the number of assaults on staff by people under the influence of ice.