Methamphetamine Use in Australia

From Wikipedia.

Methamphetamine is an illegal substance sought after by many in Australia to give oneself a ‘high’ or a ‘rush’ in their body.[1]

Methamphetamine has many names not only in Australia, but also around the world. These include Chalk, Crypto, Getgo, Tweak, and Cristy, although the two most common ones in Australia today are Speed and Ice.[2]

Users of this drug often feel senses of exhilaration and arousal as the brain is flooded with monoamines which kill receptors and leaves them wanting more as the drug is the only way they can have these sensations after methamphetamine, and kills the remaining receptors.[1]

Methamphetamine was synthesized in Japan during 1893 from a drug called ephedrine;[3]and since then has changed into a variety of different forms.[3]

Australia has a drug scene which is increasing with the demand for drugs like methamphetamine since the start of the 2000. As of April 2017, Australia has the highest methamphetamine addiction rate in the world.[4]

History of Methamphetamine in Australia

Methamphetamine was synthesized in Japan by a chemist named Nagai;[3] however, it did not come into prominent public view until the early 1990s when the Australian Federal Police (AFP) was warned of a new drug called “Ice” coming from overseas. During 1991, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia pooled their resources together to seize 80 kilograms of the methamphetamine drug which was believed to be manufactured in China.[5]

Since then, methamphetamine has been readily made available in many forms to have a spike in 2001 to 2003 where the Australian Customs detected increasingly large quantities crossing the Australia Border.[6] This is portrayed with the statistics of seizures from 1996 to 1997 being 156 kilograms increasing over tenfold to 1.8 tonnes during 2001 to 2002.[7]This trend has been continuing to the present day. Today, the drug his in high demand all across Australia, and with this the authorities have been seizing large quantities on a regular basis.

During November 2014, the AFP successfully intercepted and seized Australia’s second largest drug bust which weighed in at 2.8 Tonnes, which included 1.917 tonnes of MDMA and 849 kilograms of methamphetamine.[8] This made the bust be the largest methamphetamine seizure and the second largest MDMA bust by the AFP[8] since the first seizure in 1997.[5]

Legislation, policies and punishments

Western Australia New South Wales Victoria Tasmania
Amount in grams to be charged with possession of a prohibited substance Over 4.0 grams [9] Over 3.0 grams [10] Over 0.75 grams [11] N/A**
Amount in grams to be charged with intent to sell and supply a prohibited substance Over 2.0 grams [9] N/A** N/A** N/A**
Amount in grams to be charged with the intent of trafficking a prohibited substance Over 2.0 grams [12] Over 3.0 grams[12] Over 3.0 grams[12] Over 25.0 grams[12]

** Information in regards to selling and supply also, possession of a classified substance is classed differently in each state. Some have small trafficable quantities, trafficable, large trafficable and commercial trafficable quantities as legislative policies.

Western Australia New South Wales Victoria Tasmania
Penalties after prosecution of being charged with possession of a prohibited substance 2 Years Maximum Imprisonment and / or $2,000 fine [9] 2 Years Maximum Imprisonment[10] 1 Year Maximum Imprisonment[11] 2 Years Maximum Imprisonment[13]
Penalties after successful prosecution of being charged with sell and supply a prohibited substance 5 Years Maximum Imprisonment and / or $20,000 [9] N/A*** N/A*** 4 Years Maximum Imprisonment[13]
Penalties after successful prosecution of being charged with trafficking a prohibited substance 25 Years Maximum Imprisonment and / or $100,000 fine [9] 15 Years Maximum Imprisonment [10] 15 Years Maximum Imprisonment [11] 21 Years maximum Imprisonment[13]

*** Intent to sell and supply comes under trafficking laws in some states in Australia depending upon the amount of prohibited substance.

Usage of Methamphetamine in Australia

Between 2009 and 2010 there were 41,087 illicit drug offenses in Australia. Between 2013 and 2014 this number increased by over 25 percent to 50,854 drug offenses;[14] furthermore, drug use increased from 22,842 to 28,409 over the same period of time.[14]
This portrays an increasing trend in the amount of drug use in Australia and drug offenses. However, since methamphetamine has become more available in the drug scene in Australia, it has developed and stronger forms of methamphetamine such as Crystal Methamphetamine has in turn increased in the usages over the past decade.[15]
In studies conducted by the Australian Government, between 1998 and 2010 there has been a slight decrease in the methamphetamine drug use in Australia;[16] furthermore, between 2007 and 2010 methamphetamine use in males decreased from 9.8% to 6.8%.[16]
Since 2007, the trend has decreased in association to drug use with methamphetamine; however, after 2010 the trend according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate an increase in drug use and drug offenses occurring in Australia.[14]

Risk groups in Australia

Methamphetamine use is an increasing problem in Australia, as it becomes more readily available. In a study of injecting drug users, 53% of a group of 914 candidates reported that methamphetamine was their first drug injected into their bodies; however, the study continued to convey the point that it is a young adults’ drug.[17] During the last six months, 87% of injecting drug users under the age of 25 were reported to have used methamphetamine in the last 6 months, with 25 to 35-year-olds at 80% and 35 years and above at 74%.[17]

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that males were more likely than females to use methamphetamine (8.2% to 5.9% respectively) and 20- to 29-year-olds were most likely to have used methamphetamine recently.[16] The study also found, for people aged 14 years or older, the highest level of recent methamphetamine use was found among those who stated they were homosexual/bisexual (7.1%).[16]

Methamphetamine use was also high among unemployed people (4.8%), those who had never been married (3.8%) and single people without children (3.4%).[16]

See also


  1. Jump up to:a b ISBN 9781922084583. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. Jump up^ “Watch Truth About Drugs Documentary Video & Learn About Substance Addiction. Get The Facts About Painkillers, Marijuana, Cocaine, Meth & Other Illegal Drugs.”.
  3. Jump up to:a b c Grobler, SR; Chikte, U; Westraat, J (2011). “The pH Levels of Different Methamphetamine Drug Samples on the Street Market in Cape Town”ISRN Dent2011: 974768. PMC 3189445Freely accessiblePMID 21991491doi:10.5402/2011/974768.
  4. Jump up^ “Australia is flailing in the face of a meth epidemic”The Economist. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  5. Jump up to:a b “Four Corners – 20/03/2006: Chronology: The Emergence of Methamphetamine in Australia”.
  6. Jump up^$FILE/CrystalMeth%20and%20Index.pdf
  7. Jump up^ “The methamphetamine situation in Australia: A review of routine data sources – Resource – NDARC – National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre”.
  8. Jump up to:a b “Police seize 2.8 tonnes of drugs in Australia’s second largest bust”. 29 November 2014.
  9. Jump up to:a b c d e “MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1981”.
  10. Jump up to:a b c
  11. Jump up to:a b c$FILE/81-9719a091.pdf
  12. Jump up to:a b c d
  13. Jump up to:a b c “Tasmanian Legislation Online”.
  14. Jump up to:a b c
  15. Jump up^ Degenhardt, L; Roxburgh, A; Black, E; Bruno, R; Campbell, G; Kinner, S; Fetherston, J (2008). “The epidemiology of methamphetamine use and harm in Australia”. Drug and Alcohol Review27 (3): 243–52. PMID 18368605doi:10.1080/09595230801950572.
  16. Jump up to:a b c d e
  17. Jump up to:a b Degenhardt, Louisa; Kinner, Stuart A.; Roxburgh, Amanda; Black, Emma; Bruno, Raimondo; Fetherston, James; Fry, Craig L. (1 July 2008). “Drug use and risk among regular injecting drug users in Australia: does age make a difference?”. Drug Alcohol Rev27 (4): 357–360. PMID 18584384doi:10.1080/09595230701750643.