BENDIGO police are calling on the public to help curb the growing use of methamphetamine, the drug commonly known as ice.
Acting Inspector Dave Collins said there had been a huge increase in ice users committing crimes.
“And these are serious offences – serious assaults, burglaries, stealing from cars, and robberies,” he said.
“We’ve identified that we do have an issue in the community and that it’s linked to our crime.”
Acting Inspector Collins said ice was definitely the drug causing police the most concern.
He described it as a “terrible drug” and was sad to hear about recent ice-related assaults on Bendigo Health staff.
“That’s Australia-wide, you see all hospitals saying the same thing,” Acting Inspector Collins said.
“They’re on the end of it more than we are.
“Ultimately a lot of the people that come into our custody because of a result of assaults or something, or fits or things like that, end up in hospital.
“And when they come out of it, it’s the poor doctors or nurses who cop it all.”
Acting Inspector Collins said he was recently watching a TV program about America’s experience with the drug.
“It was out of control,” he said.
“And then I realised at the end of the show that it was back in 1995.
“We’re in 2012, so what have we got to look forward to if we get that bad?
“They were shooting people because they couldn’t stop them with anything else.
“I hope we don’t get to that stage.” Acting Inspector Collins said everyone could play a part in tackling the problem.
“We want people to talk to us,” he said. “People can ring Crime Stoppers and remain anonymous.
“But, on the flip side, if people want to leave their contact details so we can ring them back, I can then get my expert to ring them. Because there might be something minor that the person knows but thinks it’s not relevant.”
Acting Inspector Collins said ice was a problem affecting the entire nation, not just Bendigo.
“It’s everywhere,” he said.
“We’re no worse off – everybody’s in the same boat.
“And the problem we’ve got is it’s not only affecting the big communities, the large communities like Bendigo, but it is also affecting the smaller communities and we’re seeing that more.”
The Bendigo Advertiser will continue the Break the Ice campaign with a report about a family that’s been torn apart by the drug.
A Bendigo mother talks about how she once considered running over her son because his ice addiction was ruining everyone’s life.
She’s desperate to get her son back and wants the courts to impose harsher penalties on both drug users and traffickers.
Full story – tomorrow
Who to call if you need help...
Family Drug Help 1300 660 068
Family Drug Support 1300 368 186
Directline (Alcohol and Drug referrals and telephone counselling) 1800 888 236
Lifeline 13 11 14