Ice dealers operating their illicit trade in full view of the local community should be held to account for the crisis they continue to cause says Crime Stoppers SA – and the independent not-for-profit program’s latest campaign encourages people to take back control by anonymously providing information rather than staying silent.
The Make the Call. Cut the Supply. Stop the Hurt campaign – launched in partnership with the State Government and SA Police in February – specifically targets street-level dealers and dark net drug vendors.
Crime Stoppers South Australia Chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said “Drug dealers are often hiding in plain sight within a regional community like the Murraylands, with some people finding it easier to turn a blind eye and not speak out for fear of retaliation.”
“Regional communities are close-knit, which means that people tend to know who is selling drugs to their family, friends and colleagues. They might feel powerless when it comes to doing something about it or think it’s up to someone else, but let’s not kid ourselves about the damage that drug dealers continue to cause. Sitting back and watching dealers and online vendors destroy the lives of the people you care about should not be an option. We need people to make a difference by contacting Crime Stoppers,” Ms Hanlon said.
“Crime Stoppers is a safe, trusted link between the community and police. We don’t need to know who you are, just what you know. Even if you have little more than a suspicion about someone that still might be the piece of the puzzle that can make all the difference – so have the courage to make the call and choose to stay anonymous,” she said.
“Australians, including many South Australians, are increasingly using online marketplaces, social media and encrypted phone apps to buy and sell illicit drugs, with research showing that as a nation Australia is only second to the Netherlands when it comes to the number of online drug vendors per capita*.
Additional evidence of the rising problem is results from ongoing waste water analysis by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission** which now reports Adelaide as having the highest levels in the nation at almost 80 doses per 1,000 people every day.
Ms Hanlon said a national study also showed that the number of deaths related to the use of Ice doubled between 2009 and 2015.***
“While most deaths of Ice users are likely to be the result of overdose, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre reviewed coronial records of 1,649 meth-related deaths and found overdose was the most common cause of death at 43%, followed by heart disease at 22% and suicide at 18%. Nearly half of the deaths were in rural or regional locations, and 156 Ice users died at the wheel of a car or on a motorbike,” Ms Hanlon said.
“Country communities are anything but immune from the impacts of Ice, with the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey finding that rates of methamphetamine use were twice as high among people living in remote or very remote areas compared to rates among those living in major cities or regional areas. Young people aged 18–24 years old living in rural areas were also more likely to report recent Ice use than their city or regional counterparts,” she said.
“With methamphetamine use in South Australia tripling in the past four years we need people to step up now more than ever to achieve meaningful reductions in methamphetamine in South Australia, especially Ice – its most potent and dangerous form – and Crime Stoppers provides the mechanism to make that happen.”
How do you spot a drug lab?
- Suspicious items such as improvised heating and cooling mechanisms
- Materials such as cold and flu packets, empty pseudoephedrine blister strips, gas cylinders or butane fuel cans, stained coffee filters, pH testers or test strips, water pumps at a property
- An unusual chemical smell
- Plastic containers (with or without chemical labels) left laying around
- Laboratory glassware being carried into or at a location
- Fan or pump-type noise
- People never putting their rubbish out or, instead, burning their rubbish
- Little or no traffic at a property during the day, but frequent traffic late at night or at odd hours
- Windows blackened out, or extra effort taken to cover/reinforce doors and windows
- Unusual electrical work
- Hoses and pipes coming out of windows or doors
- Installation of extractor fans (especially in garages/sheds)
- Recently rented premises where the resident is rarely at home
- A new tenant who is willing to pay rent months in advance, using only cash
- New rental applicants who try to avoid background checks
As one element of an $8m investment to Stop the Hurt, the State Government has provided Crime Stoppers SA with $200,000 funding to implement a community-based campaign designed to encourage people to provide anonymous information about street-level and online dealers and manufacturers. The 6-month campaign engages metropolitan and regional communities through radio and TV advertising, online engagement, posters and regional roadshows.
If you have any information about criminals or criminal activity, then call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at www.crimestopperssa.com.au
People can remain anonymous and rewards are available.