National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

National Leadership Forum on Ice – Compendium of Jurisdictional Achievements (6)

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6. Targeting Domestic Supply

National Action

National Strategy to Prevent the Diversion of Precursor Chemicals into Illicit Drug Manufacture (National Precursor Strategy) – is an Australian Government initiative that contributes to the supply reduction strategic priority of the National Illicit Drug Strategy by addressing diversion of chemicals used to make illicit synthetic drugs. Its focus includes: National Precursor Working Group - was established in 2002. This Working Group brings together 45 members from Australian Government, State and Territory law enforcement agencies, forensic and health services, and the pharmaceutical and chemicals industry. The Working Group informs the implementation of the National Precursor Strategy. Initiatives the group is assisting with include: PACIA Code of Practice for Supply Diversion into Illicit Drug Manufacture - establishes a common system of practice for Australian scientific suppliers and chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors to prevent the diversion of chemicals and scientific apparatus into illicit drug production. The Code encourages participation between law enforcement, government and industry in the aim of identifying criminals involved in such diversion.

National Guidelines on Clandestine Drug Laboratories - standard protocols on response, safety, training, decontamination and agency roles in respect of clandestine drug laboratory investigations.

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Australian Government

The Law and Justice Legislation Amendment (Serious Drug Offences and Other Measures) Act 2005: ACC actions on Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) include: Training - Training of forensic specialists, and judicial and prosecutor awareness-raising.

New Zealand

Classification of methamphetamine - In 2003, methamphetamine was classified as a class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act (previously it was a class B2). This involves more severe penalties for importing, manufacture, supply or possession of methamphetamine.

Legislative bid to extend paraphernalia controls - It is planned to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act in 2007 to further control methamphetamine paraphernalia.

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NSW

Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Drug Testing) Act 2006 introduced random roadside drug testing to allow Police to conduct on-the-spot saliva tests for methamphetamines, ecstasy and cannabis, as well as compulsory drug testing after a fatal accident.

Drug Misuse and Trafficking Amendment Act 2006 - introduced to ban ice pipes and establish new penalties for the endangerment of children by exposure to illicit drug manufacture and to crack down on the supply, use and manufacture of methamphetamines.

Police Powers Legislation Amendment Act 2006, passed by Parliament in November 2006 gives Police the power to use drug dogs to randomly stop and search any vehicle for drugs to reduce drugs like ice form being transported around NSW and brought in from interstate.

Crimes and Courts Legislation Amendment Act 2006, passed by Parliament on 22 November 2006, introduced a new offence for possession of a tablet press. These can be used to produce tablets containing amphetamine type substances.

In early 2006, pseudoephedrine was rescheduled to require that all pseudoephedrine products must be stored behind the counter or away from publicly accessible areas, must be administered by a pharmacist, and purchasers must provide identification. Since April 2006 a prescription is required to buy bulk packs (all pseudoephedrine liquid products containing more than 800mg of pseudoephedrine and all solid dose products containing more than 720 mg of pseudoephedrine).

Crimes Legislation Further Amendment Act 2000 - created new offences of possessing precursors for the manufacture or production of prohibited drugs. The maximum penalty for an offence is a $220,000 fine or 10 years imprisonment. The Act also made it an offence to supply large amounts of precursor chemicals for cash.

NSW Police Chemical Drugs Intelligence Unit, which commenced in 2006, has been provided with improved technology to quickly analyse drug seizures and track down the source of drugs.

Passive Alert Drug Detection Dogs (PADD) to assist in anti-drug operations in popular night time entertainment precincts and dance events.

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Victoria

Major Crime Management Model – In 2006, Victoria Police introduced a new major crime management model that equips Victoria Police to meet current and future challenges in dealing with crime. In regards to Amphetamine Type Substance three main areas have responsibility for investigation: The DTF and CLS both conduct targeted and proactive investigations focused on supply reduction associated with organised crime and recidivist offenders. The C.L.S. also provides training for police members in the detection and safety management of clandestine laboratory sites. All investigators attending a clandestine laboratory site must wear protective clothing and abide by strict policy and procedures.

The DCTD in conjunction with the DTF and C.L.S. performs the chemical diversion role and acts in a liaison role with the chemical and pharmaceutical industry to report suspect chemical purchases or potential purchases. Advice is also given regarding security.

Purana Taskforce – The Victoria Police Purana taskforce (also part of the MCMM), initially established to investigate Melbourne's recent spate of gangland killings, now has responsibility for investigating organised crime in general. Much of the current focus for the Purana taskforce is in the area of drug trafficking, with a particular focus on ATS.

In additional to a number of murder charges being filed, to date the Purana Taskforce has arrested a large number of criminal identities on high level drugs charges. These are expected to cause significant disruption amongst organised criminal networks.

Industry Code of Conduct – In 1996 the then Drug Squad in partnership with the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association and the Scientific Suppliers Association of Australia developed and published a "Code of Conduct” for Australian chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors. This document was developed in an attempt to prevent the diversion of precursor chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of ATS.

The document includes categories of drugs and materials that have been used in the illicit manufacture of ATS and requires industry stakeholders to sell these chemicals to account customers only and complete an end user declaration. The document also includes a requirement to notify law enforcement agencies of suspicious orders or enquiries. This document is a voluntary code of conduct only and there is nothing binding the industry stakeholders to adhere to it.

Combating the Illicit Diversion of Pseudoephedrine – A working party consisting of representatives from Victoria Police, Department of Human Services, Pharmacy Board (Victoria), Pharmacy Guild (Victoria) and Pharmaceutical Society (Victoria) has been meeting to work towards addressing the issue of the illegal diversion of pharmaceuticals containing pseudoephedrine.

This working party has targeted the problem by addressing the purchases of pseudoephedrine products for illicit purposes at pharmacies instead of attempting to data capture all purchases of pseudoephedrine products.

The working party has developed two posters: one for display in the rear of the pharmacy which advises the pharmacist and staff of the problem of pseudoephedrine sales and provides contact details to the Drug Task Force and the other for public display advising that, due to the issue of illegal diversion, only one packet of pseudoephedrine based tablets will be sold per customer.

Passive Alert Drug Detection (PADD) Dogs – To aid in the investigation of low level drug use and trafficking, particularly in and around licensed premises and the dance/rave scene, Victoria Police now have use of a team of Passive Alert Drug Detection (PADD) Dogs.

While the PADD dogs are not taken inside venues, they are now used regularly as part of anti-drug operations in the popular night time entertainments precincts, as well as at the larger dance events held regularly in Melbourne. Predominantly, PADD dogs operations target patrons lining up outside nightclubs and dance events.

At the recent New Year's Day "Summadayze” Dance Party, held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, the PADD dogs assisted in the detection of three drug traffickers and 32 persons in possession of illicit drugs. The majority of these instances involved ATS.

Drug Impaired Driving – Concern at the contribution of the use of drugs other than alcohol to road trauma in Victoria has been expressed for some time. For the period 2001 to 2004, Amphetamine Type Substances (ATS) have been found to be present in 4.3% of the drivers killed in vehicle collisions on Victorian roads. Recent research carried out by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine has found that a diver that has an ATS present at any level is 2.2 times more likely involved in a collision than a drug free driver. This represents a slightly high risk of harm than a driver that has an alcohol concentration of .05 where the driver is 2 times more likely involved in a collision than an alcohol free driver.

In December 2004, Victoria commenced a trial enforcement program of random drug testing of drivers for the presence of cannabis and methamphetamine. From the time the trial commenced in December 2004 to the end of September 2005, 10,546 drivers where screened for the presence of the two drugs. Of the 10,546 drivers tested, one or both of the two drugs were confirmed to be present in 213 drivers, a rate of 1 positive for every 50 drivers tested. Of the 213 drug positive drivers, methamphetamine was found to be present in 204 drivers. This represents a rate of 1 methamphetamine positive driver for every 51 drivers tested. This compares with the random alcohol testing of driver program positive rate of one driver over the alcohol limit for every 250 drivers tested.

These results suggest that the level of methamphetamine use within the Victorian community is a significant issue. These results also suggest that community attitudes toward alcohol impaired driving have shifted but community attitudes toward the effect of other substances on ability to drive safely has not yet been adequately addressed.

New legislation – The Victorian Government has introduced new police powers and new laws to crack down on amphetamines dealers and manufacturers.

Project Reduction – A recent survey of offenders processed by police in the inner western Melbourne suburb of Footscray indicated that as many as 60% did not reside in the area and had no legitimate reason for visiting, such as attending a treatment centre, meeting a legal representative or visiting family members. Essentially, the only reason these offenders attend the area is to commit crime and procure illicit drugs.

A new local response, codenamed Project Reduction, entails police making a request to the magistrate's court for offenders who fit specific criteria to have a condition attached to their court order that prohibits them from entering the city of Maribyrnong for a prescribed period of time. Where offenders are detected who "'t live in the area, but who have a legitimate reason for being in the area, police will not make the request. Where a request is made, the offender will still have the opportunity to rebut the request at court.

The concept of Project Reduction has been criticised by certain groups in the community, mostly due to a concern that the strategy will lead to offenders simply committing crime in other parts of the city. In lieu of this, offender movement will be thoroughly monitored by crime analysts in order to determine the level of dispersion and displacement. It is hoped that by restricting access to open air drug markets, local police can have a direct impact on the level of drug related criminal activity.

Queensland

Ice Breaker Strategy - a taskforce to inform and guide a strategy to tackle the manufacture, dealing and possession of ice in the community; tighter controls to restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine medicines in cooperation with pharmacies; as well as close cooperation with General Practitioners to ensure appropriate prescribing of pseudoephedrine medicines.

The development of a CD-ROM and poster – "Clandestine Drug Laboratory Safety Awareness” based resource that aims to assist police in a first response situation to identify the indicators and risks associated with a clandestine drug laboratory, as well as the necessary steps to follow.

Ongoing awareness-raising in the community through the use of information pamphlets and stationery of the risks associated with clandestine laboratories. This awareness is enhanced through the Project "Putting the Brakes on Speed” which incorporates both a general information brochure on clandestine laboratories together with an industry specific brochure on the diversion of precursor chemicals and scientific apparatus. This is combined with the marketing of the Chemical Diversion Desk and legislative requirements pertaining to precursors and scientific apparatus.

Legislative amendments made to the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 and Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 to specifically address precursors and scientific apparatus.

Queensland Police Service enforces the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 by targeting recidivist and high-level synthetic drug and cultivated drug traffickers, distributors and runners of precursor chemicals, and confiscating the assets and wealth derived from illicit drug enterprises.

Passive Alert Drug Detection Dogs (PADD) assist in anti-drug operations in popular night time entertainment precincts and dance events.

Tasmania

Tasmania Police Drug Investigation Services continues to direct activities towards the investigation and detection of offences involving ATS, including those occurring within nightclubs and licensed premises.

Amendments to Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 have strengthened controls over precursor chemicals and legislative response to ATS manufacture and trafficking.

Public Order Response Teams have been introduced by Tasmania Police, to strengthen the capacity of geographic districts in identifying and responding effectively to antisocial behaviour, prevent crime and offences in public places and support early intervention strategies throughout the State.

Response capability for investigation and location of clandestine laboratories based on the National Guidelines to assist Jurisdictional Responses to Clandestine Drug Laboratories has been reviewed. This includes specialist training to contain, render safe and dismantle hazardous sites as well as provision of general awareness-training to other general duties police.

Random drug driving testing was introduced in Tasmania in December 2005. The testing enables Tasmania Police to conduct an oral fluid test to detect the presence of illicit drugs including ATS. The legislation also provides for confirmatory testing.

Under the provision of the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001, legislation is in place prohibiting possession and use of smoking devices for use of controlled substances.

South Australia

Passive Alert Detection Dogs (PADD) are currently being researched for use to assist in conducting drug searches in public places. Although dogs are used regularly in drug searches as part of criminal investigations the use of PADD is a potentially sensitive issue and appropriate Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are necessary to compliment any final relevant legislation. Complementary policy and legislation is necessary to ensure that the use of PADD is effective whilst not being offensive to the general community. The issue of specific legislation and SOP's is currently being processed

The Drug Driver Testing Trial - A random drug driving testing trial commenced in South Australia in July 2006 and will run for approximately 12 months. The trial enables police to conduct roadside saliva tests to detect the presence of methamphetamine, ecstasy and cannabis (specifically THC).

Ice Pipes – The manufacture, sale and supply of 'ice' pipes was banned in South Australia in 2004 after being declared to be dangerous goods under Section25 (1) (a) of the Trade Standards Act, 1979.

Chemical Diversion Desk – Based in the State Intelligence Branch, its primary responsibility is the monitoring of suspicious chemical and equipment purchases. It is also involved in targeting the manufacture of illicit drugs.

Drug Investigation Branch – The Drug Investigation Branch (DIB) works in partnership with National and State Law Enforcement Agencies to provide an integrated specialist service to investigate Level 2 and Level 3 drug crime that is beyond the ability of other Service's within South Australia Police (SAPOL). DIB is also responsible for running a Clandestine Laboratory course every year within SAPOL. All members of DIB are trained in laboratory response techniques and procedures for dealing with clandestine laboratories.

Operation Mantle – SAPOL conducts Operation Mantle, across six metropolitan local service areas specifically targeting street level dealing, with a focus on methamphetamines.

Working Group on the Security of Pseudoephedrine Products – Comprises representatives from SAPOL, the Australian Medical Association, the South Australian Pharmacy Guild, the Pharmacy Board of South Australia, pharmacy companies, Drug and Alcohol Services SA and local warehouses. It was formed in response to an increase in prescription forgeries and break-ins on pharmacies after the rescheduling of pseudoephedrine and has a responsibility to develop appropriate crime reduction policies.

SAPOL Psychostimulant Working Group – Comprises members from within SAPOL policy, training and operational areas to oversee the appropriate dissemination of national psycho stimulant resources within SAPOL and ensure that the information is integrated into relevant training programs and SAPOL General Orders.

Bank SA Crime Stoppers – An Information brochure "See something, Hear something, Say something about Amphetamines” has been developed to alert the community to the dangers of illegal drug production and on how to identify and report suspicious behaviour or activity that may indicate illegal drug activities such as illicit drug manufacture, occurring.

The Controlled Substances (Serious Drug Offences) Amendment Act 2005 – Portions of the Act became operative on 8 December 2005 with the remaining sections yet to be proclaimed. The Act will address offences relating to controlled drugs, controlled precursor substances and controlled plants.

Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (Acts Endangering Life or Creating Risk of Serious Harm), Section 29 – This section contains legislation potentially relating to issues associated with children located at clandestine laboratories. It has been successfully used to prosecute such a case.

Statutes Amendment (Liquor, Gambling and Security Industries Act 2005) – This Act which became operative on 8 December 2005, amended the Security and Investigation Agents Act 1995 to authorise random alcohol and drug testing of crowd controllers to detect if they are using illicit drugs including methamphetamines.

Northern Territory

Passive Alert Drug Detection Dogs (PADD) to assist in anti-drug operations in popular night time entertainment precincts and clubs.

Information sessions have been delivered to pharmacies to alert pharmacy staff to the issues that arise from the diversion of pseudoephedrine medications into the illicit drug market.

Training is provided to all recruits, Detective Training Programs and other in-service courses on the detection and appropriate OH&S issues surrounding clandestine laboratories, with a dedicated Clandestine Laboratory course held for police specialists bi-annually. The NTPFES utilise specially trained members including Police Officers, Fire Officers and chemists to respond and make safe all clandestine laboratories.

NT Police actively target clandestine laboratories and distributors of ATS type substances. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Unit has been working closely with appropriate industry based chemical suppliers to reduce the availability of precursors.

Two specifically targeted strategies are also in place:

Western Australia

The Misuse of Drugs Act (1981) (WA) and the Misuse of Drugs Act Regulations (1982) (WA) were amended in January 2005 to prohibit the diversion of precursor chemicals and equipment for use in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine.

The use, sale and supply of drug use paraphernalia such as 'ice pipes' has been banned under Section 23R of the Consumer Affairs Act (1971) (WA).

Amphetamine Information and education sessions are conducted for a variety of stakeholders:
The WA Police Organised Crime Division attends all clandestine laboratory investigations, represents Western Australia Police at a number of amphetamine-related working groups such as the National Precursor Working Group, provides support to the National Clan Lab Database project and collaborates with industry groups such as the Pharmacy Guild and suppliers.

Australian Capital Territory

Legislation commenced in May 2005 which introduced offences for the possession of precursor chemicals, including pseudoephedrine. ACT Policing supports the introduction of Project Stop and is working with ACT Health to address issues that may impede the introduction of the initiative.

Developing Guidelines based on the draft National Guidelines to assist Jurisdictional Responses to Clandestine Drug Laboratories to meet legislative and operational requirements.

ACT Police participated in a major training exercise to identify and dismantle clandestine laboratories in conjunction with Victoria Police.

Page currency, Latest update: 16 May, 2007