Methamphetamine Pills
IN PHOTO: Bags of methamphetamine pills are seen during the 43rd Destruction of Confiscated Narcotics ceremony in Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok, June 26, 2014. Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom

The United Nations has warned Australia of Mexican drug cartels targeting the country to import more ice. The report by UN Office on Drugs and Crime said cartels involved in trafficking methamphetamine are actively seeking partners in Australia.

According to the report, ice usage in Australia has increased to 50 percent among users aged 14 years or older compared to 22 percent in 2010. Jeremy Douglas, the regional representative of UNODC Asia Pacific, said transnational criminal gangs focusing on the synthetic drug trade should be considered a challenge to governments.

SBS reports that an Australian Senate Committee has reported a sudden increase in the amount of smuggled ice in the current financial year at 2.9 tonnes compared to 1.8 tonnes in 2014. The committee has found that China is the main source of ice in Australia.

Ice seizures had reached 42 tonnes across Asia-Pacific with 42 tonnes in 2013 from 11 tonnes in 2008. Ice was the most frequently confiscated form of meth with more than 1.2 tonnes smuggled from China in 2012-2013. Hong Kong and Thailand were also sources of ice in Asia.

The report said Australia and New Zealand were identified as key regional markets in meth trade including the tablet form. Asia-Pacific represents an increasing share of the global ecstasy market with imports coming from Asia, Western Europe, South Africa and South America.

The Australian Crime Commission has previously released a report saying Australia’s drug trade is currently at a record high. Over 112,000 illicit drug arrests and 93,000 drug seizures were made in the country from 2013-2014, reports Business Insider.

“Methylamphetamine is wreaking havoc in every state and territory. It is ruining lives, families and communities,” said Chris Dawson, CEO of the Australian Crime Commission While he acknowledged that the ice drug trade is of primary concern, a record number of arrests involving steroids, cocaine, hallucinogen and amphetamine-type stimulants were also seen as alarming. The Abbott government has announced it will invest $20 million from 2015-2016 to renew the National Drugs Campaign in an effort to discourage people from using illicit drugs and raise awareness.

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