AFP drug crackdown a double edged sword

AFP drug crackdown a double edged sword

Methamphetamine Caps

Methamphetamine (ice) capsules similar to those being passed off as ecstasy capsules in the Brisbane area.


In recent months the Australian Federal Police have been rewarded with an increase in drug busts in response to their crackdown on illicit party drugs such as MDMA and cocaine.

The AFP has been increasing their funding into the war on drugs. Without a doubt, their efforts have yielded success with a continual increase of drug busts than previous years.

For many party goers who choose to ‘drop’ a pill as part of their night out, ecstasy and cocaine continue to be the drug of choice. However, the crackdown has crippled the MDMA (ecstasy) and cocaine supply in the Brisbane area inadvertently pushing users towards drugs such as methamphetamines (ice) a local Brisbane dealer admitted.

“Good pills (ecstasy) are getting hard to come by and I’m having to settle for ice crystals and caps,” he said.  What he has been seeing is a drastic drop in the quality and quantity of ecstasy available. He also admitted that many of his suppliers have been caught recently.

Ice, sometimes referred to as meth, is often bought in the form of white crystals or powder. The effects usually involve intense rushes of euphoria, increased activity levels and increased arousal which can last between four and twelve hours.  Users also experience increased alertness and reduced appetite during and after the effects have worn off.

Besides the possible permanent side-effects of prolonged use, the danger of ice is lies in the high propensity for addiction compared to other recreational drugs.

Professor Alan O’Connor, the Director of Emergency at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, considered ice to be one of the main drug related admissions on weekends.

“We see about 500 (patients) a year ending up here (RBH) because of drugs such as meth,” he said. These patients are usually admitted because of the psychosis attributed to ice consumption. These episodes of psychosis can lead users to hurt themselves or others.

Fairlie Mcllwraith, a senior research officer at the Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre, admitted that users sometimes turn to other substances if what they want isn’t available.

However, many recreational users are unaware of what they are consuming. An occasional user of recreational drugs, notably ecstasy, admits that she usually takes the word of her friends.

“I usually just ask my friends for pills and they go buy it for me. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t actually ecstasy,” she said.

This poses a serious problem for the AFP in their attempts at curbing the drug culture in Brisbane. Suppressing the supply of drugs is one thing, but to suppress the supply and inadvertently push users to something more dangerous is another.


Image: Harry Billows