Source: Advertiser, The (Australia)
Contact:  Fri, 26 June 1998
Author: Jeremy Pudney and John Merriman


"MOBILE" drug laboratories are being used to avoid police detection as more
Adelaide drug users turn to amphetamines, a new study has found.

The sophisticated but often unhygienic laboratories can be shifted and
housed in caravans, homes, sheds and even hotel rooms.

Detective Senior Sergeant Eddie Sudrabs of the Drug Task Force said
yesterday mobile drug labs were a relatively easy way to make money for
criminals and were hard to detect.

"Because they can be dismantled and moved so easily it is hard for police
to keep observations on the set-ups," he said.

"We have seized several mobile drug labs but they were not being used at
the time. They do exist and police are very, very conscious of them."

He said the increase in amphetamine production in the State was partly due
to the increase of technology in exchanging information, such as the

The South Australian Drug Trends study, released yesterday, revealed
amphetamine use was increasing in Adelaide and the drug was more popular
than heroin with first-time injecting drug users.

Amphetamine had been injected by more users than heroin, was "easy" to
obtain but often dangerously low in purity.

Drug users, police, health and social workers were surveyed for the
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) study.

NDARC spokesman Mr Paul Dillon said the level of amphetamine use in
Adelaide indicated local production. He said amphetamine was also cheaper
than heroin, selling for about $50 a gram compared to about $400.

"It's cheaper and it's also a stimulant drug; it's an up drug and seen as a
party drug," he said.

"You can use it in so many different ways."

The study also found heroin was easy to buy in Adelaide and was
increasingly used. While the majority of heroin users injected the drug,
heroin smoking had become increasingly common among young women and the
Vietnamese community. The Federal Government-funded study also found:

HALF of the drug users surveyed had committed a crime within the past four

COCAINE use had increased but was still not widespread because it was
"difficult" to buy.

YOUNG illicit drug users pooled money to buy drugs more cheaply.

CANNABIS was very easy to get and becoming more potent as more was grown

- ---
Checked-by: (Joel W. Johnson)