THE drug ice is becoming an epidemic in Gladstone and across the nation, according to Gladstone CIB chief Detective Senior Sergeant Luke Peachey.
The comments come after a man admitted to a Gladstone court this week that he had stolen goods to the value of $21,000 to fuel his ice addiction.
Det Snr Sgt Peachey said his major concern was the fact that people were found these days with large quantities of the drug.
"A few years ago we would expect to find a half to a gram of ice when we searched an offender," he said.
"These days it is not unusual to find people with 20, 30 and 50g. The quantity of available drugs is a major concern.
"And we normally find that many property offences are the result of offenders having to steal to keep up their habit."
Two officers from the Brisbane-based specialist Illicit Laboratory Investigation Team were called to an Elizabeth St residence on Wednesday after a search uncovered suspect material which had been found when Gladstone police were investigating a drug-related incident.
The police said that during the 6.45am search they found chemicals known to be used in the manufacture of illegal drugs.
Investigations into that incident are continuing.
Det Snr Sgt Peachey said the use of ice created major issues of violence, which he believed was the main reason for the creation of a taskforce by the Federal Government.
He said a few years ago it was normal to find one or two methamphetamine traffickers in a year, "but we are now having to deal with 20 or 30 each year.
"That's how bad the problem has become".
Lure of quick cash draws offenders in
Det Snr Sgt Peachey said a specialised drug squad was desperately needed in the Capricorn police district.
"That would mean that instead of having general detectives, we would have a specialised squad - it would be a start to trying to combat the problem."
The last major operation undertaken by Gladstone detectives resulted in 14 people being charged with drug trafficking.
"Many of the people involved had good jobs, but the lure of quick cash seems to be a problem," Det Snr Sgt Peachey said.
He said detectives would not let up on their battle with dangerous drugs.
"However, we rely heavily on information from members of the public - from people who are fed up with the behaviour of these people."