A new report has suggested the majority of Australia’s methamphetamine is being imported from a small district in the south of China.
According to security think tank The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the Lufeng District, sometimes referred to by locals as “the city of ice”, is responsible for a disproportionate amount of Australia’s ice supply.
The report highlighted the need for government policy to focus on early intervention of ice users, rather than directing resources to tackle the problem too late in the supply chain.
One example of such an idea was ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s ‘dob in an ice dealer’ national hotline, which was allotted $1 million near the end of his term as prime minister.
Instead, the report pushed the importance of “disrupting the problems” of ice addiction, “not treating the symptoms of the problem”.
The report also noted the difficulty of halting the ice supply chain when ingredients can be sourced legally, or produced in China, which houses the highest number of chemical ice factories in the Asia Pacific.
Earlier this year, raids in the Lufeng district uncovered and confiscated 2.4 tonnes of ice, while 28 suspects were arrested.
In 2014, another 2.9 tonnes of ice were confiscated in a single raid.
Slowing the production of ice in Lufeng is also made difficult by the high levels of corruption in the area, a direct result of the huge amount of money to be made from the drug.
Chemical labs are disguised as factories and can be easily relocated if the need arises, reports News.com.au.
The ASPI report suggested more needs to be done to cut off drug supply at an earlier stage, and a nationally integrated harm reduction scheme needs to be implemented.
The report comes before the Federal Government’s National Ice Task Force findings are released in the next few weeks.