Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop writes a fortnightly column for Mamamia.
Ice is an illegal and powerful stimulant which causes disproportionate harm in the community. It can trigger psychosis and long term psychological issues and is linked to violent attacks, assaults, road accidents and burglaries.
Ice literally breaks down pathways between neurons in the brain and ice users feel no compulsion to eat or sleep and often arrive at emergency departments having gone days without food or rest.
Research shows that Australians use more ice and methamphetamine per capita than any other country – up to 200,000 in the past year alone.
The Coalition Government is working to tackle the ice problem. In April we announced a National Ice Taskforce, headed by former Victorian police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, which will develop recommendations for a coordinated national strategy. The Taskforce’s interim report was taken to COAG, where state and territory leaders agreed to focus on six areas: law enforcement; targeting primary prevention; improving access to early intervention, treatment and support services; supporting local communities to respond; improving support for frontline workers; and consolidating data and research.
Taskforce research reveals almost 265,000 Australians reported using some form of ice/methamphetamines in the past 12 months. In Western Australia, the percentage is almost three times higher than other states and territories.
Read more about this: Is “ice” more dangerous than any other illegal drug?
Over the last couple of weeks I have spent time in my home state campaigning in the seat of Canning for the by-election with Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie. Doorknocking last week, we met with an off-duty police officer who raised ice-fuelled violence as one of the biggest law and order issues in the area.