Perth Meth Use Rampant Despite Record Drug Seizures

An examination of waste water treatment plants shows Aussies have used a staggering $9 billion worth of drugs over the past 12 months.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson has revealed West Australians now consume more than $27 million worth of methamphetamine every week.

Mr Dawson, pictured, told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia conference that ice use in WA continued to rocket despite record drug and criminal asset seizures.

The State Government’s aim for a 15 per cent reduction in illicit drug use over the next three years was a “scary target” that would be a “significant challenge” but one police would not shy away from, he said.

Mr Dawson said regional WA continued to have the highest rate of use nationally relative to population and that Perth was matching Adelaide as the nation’s meth capital, with most of the drug coming into Australia from places such as China.

This represents the estimated amount of meth consumed in Perth every week.

“In Perth, through wastewater testing, we are estimating between 27kg and 30kg of meth is consumed every week,” he said. “If you are a drug trafficker … (and) you are going to make $1 million out of every kilogram, why wouldn’t you come here?

“That is what is costing us as a community, apart from the human misery and harm, there is about $27 million spent on the consumption of meth in Perth city alone every week.”

Mr Dawson said the purity of meth consumed in WA had risen from about 10 per cent two decades ago to more than 70 per cent. He said the drug’s contribution to crime in WA had also continued to rise. A study of detainees at the Perth lock-up over the past decade shows the number who had meth in their system had risen from about 15 per cent in 2009 to more than 70 per cent today.

“We know it has been an increasing problem and it is continuing to trend that way,” Mr Dawson said.

“Basically, seven to eight of 10 prisoners and people who police charge that go through the Perth Watch House are using meth.”

He said police would continue to focus on stopping the supply of meth into WA and tracking the proceeds of drug trafficking.

In 2017-18, WA Police seized more than $11 million cash and 1400kg of meth — double the amount of money and treble the amount of meth compared with the previous 12 months.

“One of the strategies we are using is to follow the money,” Mr Dawson said. “This must be a methodology that will continue and I expect it will continue to be the approach.

“I put to you if you don’t have an immediate member of your family, or a neighbour or someone who works for you that has either a direct addiction or a child or a friend that is addicted to meth in WA, it would be unusual.

“Some of you have that within your immediate families.

“I have very close friends who have had their children who are now adults addicted for many years.”

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