POLL: How would you end the scourge of ice in our community?
UPDATE 5.40am, April 3: ENDING the scourge of ice might have police and politicians stumped and our community may well be divided on the best way to tackle the issue.
Hundreds of people have had their say in an ongoing web poll asking the best way to solve the ice issue, with options ranging from tougher sentencing to legalising and regulating illicit drugs.
So far, tougher sentencing has the strongest vote, with 28% of poll participants backing that option. However, legalisation is not far behind with 24% saying that would be the best option.
The other three options aren't wildly far behind either. A total 20% of participants so far back improved education about the dangers of drugs, starting from a young age; 14% think we need better health and support services to help turn users' lives around and 11% would prefer better guidance and support services for young people.
Have you had your say yet?
How would you solve the ice epidemic
This poll ended on 14 April 2015.
Tougher sentencing - "lock the up and throw away the key"
Better education, starting at a young age, to keep people away from drugs in the first place
Better guidance and support services for children and young people to keep them away from drugs
Better health and support services to get people off ice and back into their lives
Start looking at a combination of legalisation, decriminalisation and regulation of drugs, supported by medical services so it can be managed socially
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
UPDATE 2.20pm: POLICE and politicians might be stumped on how best to tackle the ice epidemic, but our readers have a few ideas.
Comments on our website and Facebook page have proposed ideas ranging from tougher sentencing of ice users through to legalising and regulating the drug, with proceeds then used to help people.
We've gathered together a few of the suggestions here into a poll. If you have a solution you can't see here, head to our comments section and let us know.
POLICE on the Northern Rivers have arrested a person a day for ice crimes this year, but while authorities hash out solutions, local communities sink deeper into despair.
Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay met with Page MP Kevin Hogan and Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash yesterday to discuss ways to curb the drug's destructive impact.
The trio revealed an increasing number of families were imploding, children were facing severe neglect and teens as young as 13 were using the drug.
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"This year alone we've arrested 89 people for the supply and possession of this drug," Det Insp Lindsay said.
Mr Hogan, Senator Nash and Det Insp Lindsay admitted there was no quick fix, and could not pinpoint exactly how the drug's vicious social cycle could be halted.
"There's no silver bullet in this. It's not something we can arrest our way out of," Det Insp Lindsay said.
"It is a huge challenge for us as a community and it's time, I think, for the whole community to stand up and say 'enough is enough, we're not going to let this drug destroy our way of life'.
"It causes people to become so violent, aggressive, illogical, anxious - all those behavioural patterns that are becoming so difficult, not only for police, but frontline health services (and) other members of the community."
Mr Hogan agreed ice use was escalating locally, likely driven by the drug's relative affordability and ease of access.
He said growing numbers of local families were being torn apart by the addictive drug and was adamant a speedy response was needed.
- Seven percent of Australians aged 14 or older have reported using amphetamine/ methylamphetamine at least once.
- More than 60% of Australia's highest risk criminals are involved in the market.
- International importation of the drug continues to grow.
- Ice poses the highest risk to the Australian community of all illicit drugs.
Det Insp Lindsay said ice use in Casino continued to pose a particular problem for police, who believed organised criminal elements, such as outlaw motorcycle gangs, were largely responsible for its distribution.
Senator Nash said she was continually hearing about a "severe escalation" in the use of ice in regional Australia.
She said communities needed to band together with police and governments to address what was not just a criminal issue, but a worrying public health challenge.
According to Senator Nash, education was key and will be part of an eventual national strategy to reduce the drug's prevalence in society.