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The Scourge of ICE!

I feel a need to step outside of my normal Newsletter content today and talk about something that is pretty significant.

All over the place now I am hearing discussions about ICE. It is in the news, on talk back radio, on the web and even friends are starting to reveal how their lives are being affected.

I have a sense that we are on the edge of a crisis. For those of you who have not had much connection to the drug Crystal Methamphetamine, then I will give you a bit of a run down.

This drug is really intense and basically puts the user into a form of “hyper drive”. A friend’s son who has come through a 2 year addiction (and I am cautious about saying he is completelyICE through the addiction) said to me, “I love it. You feel so incredible when you are on it. You can do anything.” His addiction has cost his family a great deal of grief and many thousands of dollars.

It seems that when users take it once, they are already hooked.

Why is it worse than other street drugs? Put simply, addicts can become out of control and display super human strength, making them a frightening prospect for Police. They can also become incredibly violent.

This presents incredible danger. First, an ICE user has the potential to really hurt people. Second, Police sent to control or arrest them can get hurt and third, those Police, in a desperate situation may be compelled to use firearms.

In a workplace, a person using ICE can do incredible work at a high intensity but their awareness can be almost nil. Their potentially “out of control” behaviour can get someone hurt or killed.

Plus, we should consider the prospect of people driving on ICE. This is a deeply serious situation.

So what can be done about it?

Yesterday, I was listening to a visiting American Judge who was running a program for offenders to help them handle their behaviour and get their lives back on track. He was not talking about ICE users. But he said something incredible. He said that when we are growing up, and we do something that is not right, we face the consequences of our actions immediately. We are spoken to by parents and/or teachers, perhaps given a punishment and then given something to do to make up for our offence. We learn something immediately from our mistake.

Once we step into life though, we commit and unlawful act and it is dealt with months later. Perhaps the learning, the shock and the change to behaviour do not come with it. After all, a huge percentage of offenders, given the lapse of time, go into court with an intention to cloud the issue, create confusion, justify and minimise in the hope of getting off with a light sentence.

So, after much contemplation, I have a question? Should we go for zero tolerance on the ICE issue?

What would happen if our government brought in legislation and it was given a great deal of promotion before it was to come into effect, for example January 1st, 2016.

What if that legislation basically stated that any person caught selling ICE would be shipped off to a Manus Island type facility for 2 years. No questions asked, no opportunity to plea for leniency. Then, when the person comes back they face court and the punishments handed down are all related to making amends, good quality community service.

I wonder if this would drastically cut the supply of the drug.

Now I have to be really up front here and state that I have never been a big fan of regulation. I much prefer education. But I feel this is a situation where there is grave danger. And the offenders who are selling the drug know what it does. They are aware of the potential consequences.

What do you think?

15 Responses to The Scourge of ICE!

  • John

    I agree 100% on your view of how to deal with this.

    Dealers should be sentenced immediately in line with minimum sentencing laws i.e. 5 years.

    Addicts should be taken into custody and treated for their addition.
    If they have committed crimes against people, such as assault, murder ect, they should be sentenced immediately and all costs associated with their crime should be taken out of the dealers financial gains who sold them the drugs in the first place.

    If the dealer does not have any financial assets, then they should be sentenced to additional community service to recover the costs associated with the crime committed by the addict.

    If I sell an illegal firearm to a criminal and he kills somebody, I have absolute responsibility for that action.

    If I sell illegal ice to an addict and he kills somebody, I share that same responsibility.

    Treat the dealers more aggressively that the addict and we may turn the tables on this social epidemic.

    • Agree 100%, Jail the Dealer/Sellers, treat the users

    • I reckon we have the systems in place Kim, like remand centres, but they are overloaded. So using these detention facilities as remand places could be good. I feel remand is essential to taking the supply chain out of action, or at least disrupting it. But perhaps it is too big. I agree with your example of the firearm. Such a fascinating thing to contemplate. I suppose what gives it all more importance is taht Marijuana and Heroin users are docile and non threatening. Ice users are a different story and present significant additional dangers.

  • Hi John,

    I think it is a excellent idea and I do think it would drastically cut the supply and therefor the effects this terrible drug seems to be having on todays society. We need to get tough NOW before it becomes an epidemic. To many lives are being ruined.

    Cheers Kerry.

  • Thanks John, as a father of two teenagers all of this is in front of me and is very scary! Some great suggestions that unfortunately will fall on deaf ears. Perhaps you should send this to Jacqui Lambie!

    I also think that the instant punishment should start from today not January in some time too far off! The traffickers know that they are doing wrong! Send them to Indonesia, they know how to handle drug traffickers!

  • While your proposition sounds reasonable on the surface there are significant civil rights issues that are being trampled on. Most of us in the western world are presumed innocent till proven guilty and have the rights to a reasonable defense (among a slew of others) This is the law of the land and should not be dumped or quickly amended because another in the never-ending societal problems raises its ugly head. There will always be temptations and serious issues like this, some worse than others; there will always be societal deviants and mistakes made in the policing of policy. It is a slippery slope with due process the great loser. More emphasis on education and equalizing economic opportunity, in my mind would be a better place to start.

    • I agree Graham. It is a real challenge. I sort of suggested this idea to bring into the discussion the fact that, right now, this is exactly what we do to asylum seekers. Most of them a good and decent people. If we are going to put anyone in those places, I’d rather send of those who want to pollute the world with terrible substances and give them time in an extremely remote location to contemplate their actions. But alas, they too have rights. What to do?

  • While I am greatly concerned by the current ice epidemic, I feel the proposed responses are targeted only at the symptoms of the problem, and will fail to address the causes which are far deeper.

    Dealing with the socioeconomic issues that lead to drug use and addition, while more complex and difficult to address, must provide a better option. Ideas like looking to plans for decriminalising some forms of drug use and more importantly providing safe spaces for addicts to use and seek treatment without the fear of persecution have been shown around the world to be far better and more effective options.

    Mandatory sentencing has been tried many times, by many different countries, for many different issues, with only one consistent outcome – the failure to address the issue at hand. I feel that similar to many other safety issues, we really need to be willing try different ideas and methods. An ever greater focus on policing and punishment is not the answer.

    • Good points David – as counter intuitive as it may sound, like with road safety, work safety and other social problems, increased regulation and punishment does tend to increase risk taking and subsequent harm – particularly when you force the problem underground. Downstream solutions simply shift the problem elsewhere (the delta illusion) – upstream solutions are the only way to control this.

    • Thanks David. Hurdles in every direction. But I guess life without hurdles would not be a very interesting life. One of my greatest teachers once said that he thought society’s biggest problem is boredom. I am inclined to agree. Too many people, through their education, and basically sentenced to a life of boredom.

  • Great article John. This is one of those wicked problems for which there are no solutions, if you come up with a simple answer then it is bound to be wrong. It has already taken many experts on the subject to decide that they don’t know very much about the problem let alone how to tame it. Whatever we do then we have to be mindful of the by-products or just simply transferring the risk elsewhere where it might become even more insidious. From what I am hearing there is more ICE in prison than on the streets! There will always be traffickers willing to take the risk and authorities open to corruption.

    • The great quandaries of life hey David. I agree. I feel it probably rolls all the way back to education in a sense as we perhaps need to do more to support kids to adopt a mindset of seeking out their passions and going for them. I get a strong sense that uninspired people hit boredom easily and then start making silly decisions. Perhaps many resent that they feel uninspired. And I feel it is important to help people to be ok that their inspiration may, and probably will, change throughout their life.

      • Agree 1million%. I know I am generalising but look at the people this is most affecting. You would know also what happens to some young professional sports people with too much time and money. I found myself in a medical centre recently and it quickly occurred to me that most people there didn’t need more drugs – just hope, a job, some exercise, healthy food and a great big hug!

  • I have to agree with you John, a suitable punishment should be sharp immediate and publicised to dispel all those who may consider dealing in that product.

    for those already addicted mandatory rehabilitation may be the appropriate path.

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