PM Tony Abbott Wants The 'Growing Scourge Of Ice' Out Of Australia

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Bags of crystal methamphetamines found in the outskirts of Guadalajara
Bags containing crystal methamphetamines are seen inside a warehouse used to manufacture and store synthetic drugs in Zapopan, on the outskirts of Guadalajara October 19, 2011. Reuters/Alejandro Acosta

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has formed a new task force to stop the rising popularity of “ice” or crystal meth in the country. The national task force will help tackle the “growing scourge of ice” that has swept Australia.

At a press conference in Canberra, the prime minister said the highly addictive crystal meth has made it a challenge for authorities to curb its use. “The trouble with ice is it's far more dangerous and addictive than any previous illicit drug,” remarked Mr Abbott.

He called crystal meth as worse than heroin, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy. He believes the drug has become more addictive, dangerous and damaging. The task force is expected to develop an action plan and provide an interim report to Mr Abbott by the middle of the year.

The group will also help coordinate and evaluate efforts of the local, state and federal governments in fighting the spread of crystal meth. The task force will identify ways on how education, health and law enforcement.

Mr Abbott has pledged that he would ensure every state and territory would take the crackdown on crystal meth very seriously. He said that as a citizen and parent, he was appalled of what has been happening on the streets.

The Australian Crime Commission had released a report called The Methylampethamine Market in March containing details of how organised crime has been bringing drugs into the country. Assistant Health Minister and Justice Minister Micheal Keenan will oversee the task force. Former Victorian police commissioner Ken Lay will be in charge with coordinating the efforts of government.

Meanwhile, Sydney-based Noffs Foundation, an organisation for at-risk people, welcomed the creation of a new task force. Matt Noffs said he hoped the new task force will consider regulating methamphetamine. The foundation believes relying on law enforcement to curb crystal meth will not solve problem, reports Radio Australia

Noffs suggested that the regulation could include an “ice room” where people can access alternative drugs. He believes the solutions are already on the table and it was only a matter of time before the right people will see "harm reduction" as a viable method. 

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