Hard drug scourge
Thursday, 17th October, 2013
By By Darrin Manuel
John Williams has laid the city’s drug problem before Parliament, saying Broken Hill was facing a “drug epidemic”.
The Nationals Member for Murray-Darling delivered a Private Members Statement on Tuesday, highlighting the impact drugs are having on communities, in particular the city of Broken Hill.
He said it was unfortunate that the city appeared to have caught up with the rest of the world in the drug stakes.
“Broken Hill has not previously faced a drug epidemic but the community is certainly facing one now,” he said.
“Fortunately, Broken Hill Police are aware of the situation but it is up to the community to respond to this situation.”
Mr Williams’ statement is backed up by recent comments from Barrier Local Area Command crime manager, Mick Stoltenberg, who said police have noticed a spike in drug-related activity and the use of methamphetamine in particular.
“The reports of drugs being located by police on offenders has increased. This has also been supported by the large amount of information that is being passed onto police about people who are involved in drugs,” said DI Stoltenberg.
“This just proves that law-abiding citizens have had enough of those that chose to peddle their poison and destroy lives.”
Citing worrying statistics recently published in the BDT, Mr Williams said a tougher stance was now needed from the government in dealing with criminals higher up in the drug chain.
Hepatitis C cases in the region have tripled between 2010 and 2012, and the Far West Local Area Health District saw a 73 per cent jump in demand for clean syringes.
“As legislators, the government needs to look at the penalties for people in our community who are providing a means for our young people to kill themselves, by introducing these drugs to our vulnerable youth,” Mr Williams said.
“The manufacturers and distributors of these drugs do not face adequate penalties. The penalties are too light. We need to hit them hard.
“We also have to make our young people in our community aware of the long-term effects of drug taking, how it can ruin their life and how many young people in the community are destroyed by the use of drugs.
“It is a problem across the State. Every Member of Parliament faces this problem and it is time we took appropriate action to ensure that the penalties for committing a young person to death are relevant to the crime.”