Illicit drugs cost Aussie economy 3.28 billion USD annually: gov't report

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-28 23:21:09|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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CANBERRA, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The impact of Illicit drugs, led by the use of methamphetamine, is costing the Australian economy 4.4 billion Australian dollars (3.28 billion U.S. dollars) in healthcare, economic losses and crime annually, according to a report released by the federal government on Sunday.

While methamphetamine, also known as "ice", carries a street value of up to 600,000 Australian dollars (447 million U.S. dollars) per kilo in Australia, according to the "Australian methamphetamine user outcomes report" by Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC).

The report showed that drug use was not only harming users and their families, but the greater Australian economy as well.

In a statement released on Sunday, Australia's Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said ice was a scourge on society, with usage increasing by almost 25 percent between 2007 and 2013.

"The report confirmed that crystal methamphetamine, or ice, is fast becoming the preferred choice of illegal drug, with a 23 percentage point increase in its use among users from 2007 to 2013," Keenan said.

"The total number of methamphetamine users has also continued to rise, up 11 percentage points for police detainees in the period 2011 to 2014, and 13 percentage points for prison entrants from 2012 to 2015."

According to the report, those who use ice are more likely to be single, male and childless and come from low socio-economic areas.

Keenan said that methamphetamine was the highest consumed illicit drug across all regions of Australia, making it one of the biggest dangers facing the government and Australian society in 2017.

"The government is taking action to tackle this national problem by bringing law enforcement together with education and health, and utilising more data to increase our understanding of drug use in Australia, and pinpoint where we need to focus additional efforts," he said.

"We are also investing almost 300 million Australian dollars (223.5 million U.S. dollars) to support actions resulting from the National Ice Action Strategy to improve treatment, after care, education, prevention and community engagement." he added.