Trends in Queensland’s illicit drug markets — 16.03.2010
CMC Director, Intelligence, Chris Keen, says while the good news is that there has been a decrease in the use of cannabis among the general Queensland population, overall the drug markets are raising serious concerns.
‘Cannabis use may have decreased generally, but the health risks are still high and have been underestimated by the public,’ Mr Keen said.
‘Cannabis is traditionally viewed as a ‘soft’ drug, but its use can lead to psychotic episodes and a significant level of criminality involved in the supply side of the market, including extortion and physical violence.’
‘Our research shows that cannabis use in Indigenous Cape York and Torres Strait Island communities is also increasing to the levels found in Northern Territory communities where around 60 per cent of residents use the drug regularly,’ Mr Keen said.
‘While the local supply networks don’t function like traditional organised crime groups, they are nonetheless ‘organised’ and operate for profit.’
‘Local drug dealers see the cannabis market in remote Indigenous communities as lucrative, with the cost of cannabis much higher than that in the wider community.’
‘The CMC commends the efforts of the Queensland Police Service and community leaders in responding to the cannabis problem in Indigenous communities through the ‘Weed It Out’ project.’
Since the CMC published its intelligence report there have been changes to some of the drug markets.
The size of Queensland’s methylamphetamine market was thought to have moderated following law enforcement strategies to limit access to pseudoephedrine which is used to manufacture the drug.
However, the CMC suspects that criminals have moved to alternative pre-cursors chemicals and supplies and this development will need to be monitored closely.
Mr Keen said the cocaine market had continued to increase since data for this report was collected and its risk to Queenslanders is now assessed as high.
‘Queensland’s cocaine use has increased and is now at its highest level on record, however, it remains small when compared with markets for other illicit drugs, such as ecstasy,’
Mr Keen said.
‘Recent ecstasy use in Queensland has more than doubled between 2001 and 2007. The swallowing of tablets has led to the incorrect perception by users that ecstasy is a ‘safe’ drug.’
‘However, taking ecstasy, like any drug, is dangerous and the risk is increased by the fact that ecstasy-type drugs are often not what they are purported to be.’
‘Taking drugs is like playing Russian roulette with your health and possibly your life,’ Mr Keen said.
The CMC report, Illicit drug markets in Queensland, is one of a series produced by the organisation to analyse organised crime markets in Queensland and the risks they present to the community.
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