The NSW Police will send 100 officers into rural areas to fight the “ice epidemic”.
This is despite the fact that cocaine use in NSW is at a 15 year high and between 2013 and 2016 use of meth/amphetamines in NSW halved.
There is a dire need to address the impact of meth/amphetamines use in rural communities but sending 100 police in is not the answer.
Everywhere there has been a war on drugs, it’s failed.
Drugs of all types are now cheaper and more readily available than ever before.
Police, courts and prisons are not the answer.
This latest move from the NSW Police will further marginalised and destabilise the lives of rural, unemployed and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people.
Young people aged 18–24 years old living in rural areas where unemployment is higher than in cities and towns are more likely to use meth/amphetamines than their city or regional counterparts.
Meth/amphetamine use is 3.1 times higher among unemployed people compared to those who are employed.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people report higher meth/amphetamines use compared to non-Indigenous Australians.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people already make up a quarter of the prison population, subjecting them to further over policing will only make this shameful statistic worse.
Instead of wasting money subjecting marginalised communities to heavy handed and ineffective policing we should be allocating resources to addressing unemployment and intergenerational poverty and trauma.
The NSW Police point to the link between meth/amphetamines and organised crime as reason for extra police resources, but the same link exists for cocaine and ecstasy.
Meth/amphetamines use is associated with psychosis and violence, so is cocaine usage.
Why then aren’t the police allocating the same resources to target cocaine users in regional areas and Sydney?
Why are the Liberal government and the NSW Police Force silent about a 15 year high in cocaine useage?
Singling out meth/amphetamines use generates positive headlines in the right wing news whose bread and butter is demonsing disadvantaged and unemployed and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The NSW Police Force aren’t serious about helping rural communities ravaged by drug use they’re serious about generating positive headlines.