Pubdate: Thu, 05 May 2016
Source: West Australian (Australia)
Copyright: 2016 West Australian Newspapers Limited
Author: Daniel Mercer


Colin Barnett has suggested the war on the drug ice is all but 
unwinnable, saying its supply into the WA market is "not possible" to stop.

Speaking at a conference held by the WA Council of Social Services 
yesterday, the Premier painted a bleak picture of efforts to control 
the methamphetamine trade.

Mr Barnett said that unlike organically derived drugs such as heroin 
or cannabis that had to be grown as a crop, ice could be manufactured 
overnight. As a result, he said it was much easier to produce and 
harder for law enforcement agencies to control.

Compounding the equation was what he called the "overwhelming" 
attractiveness of the drug to criminal organisations given its 
relatively low cost to produce and high street value.

"The authorities - both Commonwealth and State - probably hate to say 
so but would almost have to concede it is not possible to control the 
supply of this drug despite the enormous efforts in border security," 
Mr Barnett said.

"There'll be no lack of effort at all by Federal and State 
authorities in trying to deal with that but we're dealing with 
something different. It's a pandemic almost in our community."

Lamenting the addictiveness of ice and the violence it induced among 
users, Mr Barnett signalled the Government was set to announce 
measures giving it greater ability to intercept the drug as it was transported.

WA Police said it was committed to targeting the "scourge" of ice and 
worked with State and Federal agencies on a range of strategies to 
disrupt the drug's supply and reduce its harm.

A spokeswoman for Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said while 
drug traffickers would continue to challenge law enforcement 
agencies, police were achieving "outstanding" results.

Shadow police minister Michelle Roberts labelled the Premier's 
comments as "defeatist" and "disappointing" and said they reflected 
the Government's failure to manage the ice issue.

She said the Government's approach was to "talk tough" on penalties 
for ice trafficking but it had "ignored" efforts to reduce demand for 
the drug and help those addicted to or affected by it.
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