CLIMATE change, our relationship with China and the arrival of refugees in Australia, whether by boat or in much larger numbers, by commercial air flights, are important issues. No one is saying otherwise. But governments need to be putting more time into the basics, the fundamentals of life, which affect all of us on a daily basis. And the impact of illicit drugs on our communities is a case in point. Hardly a crime goes through the courts these days that drugs are not a factor and increasingly it’s the usage of the methamphetamine Ice that’s showing up.
It’s a huge and growing problem. Ah yes, you might say, but it’s not a Federal Election issue. Law and order is a state issue. But, surely if the problem is on the rise in Gippsland and elsewhere in Victoria, it must be a real problem in other parts of Australia as well. A local health professional who has worked in the outback aboriginal communities of Western Australia has seen the scourge of Ice destroying those communities as well but without any psychiatric support services to follow up after these vermin have spread their wares in these remote locations. What are these people thinking about when they set up their clandestine labs in garages, back sheds and laundries to produce their chemical cocktails? It could only be a blind drive for money without thinking about the immense harm they are causing to families and individuals.
Longer prison sentences are probably not the answer for anyone else but the Mr Bigs because the rest of those involved in this most unfortunate trade are probably victims themselves. What we want to hear from government, State and Federal, is what they are going to do about it and some quick-fix announcement about “no tolerance” or “minimum sentences” isn’t going to cut the mustard. There needs to be some serious investigation and resourcing done to meet the challenge posed by Ice and we all have a part to play in warning our children and friends not to try what is one of the most addictive drugs ever to hit the streets.