Australia rolls out campaign to fight 'ice' scourge

February 22, 2016 11:01 am 

CANBERRA, Feb. 22 — The Australian government is asking ordinary people to help in its fight against the "ice epidemic" by blowing the whistle on local drug dealers.

The initiative, known as the "Dob in a Dealer" campaign, invites communities to call up a hotline if they know or suspect someone is manufacturing or trafficking drugs starting on Monday.

The idea is the brainchild of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who announced the partnership with Crime Stoppers australia in August last year before losing the leadership.

"The campaign will be rolled out to ice-stricken communities across the country, calling on residents to say enough is enough and to rid their streets, parks and neighborhoods of criminals profiteering from the misery of ice," Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter Terrorism, Michael Keenan, said on Monday.

The program has been rebooted on a national scale after the Victorian branch of Crime Stoppers had tremendous success with its statewide campaign.

Former Prime Minister Abbott said the initiative resulted in a "100 percent to 400 percent" rise in community-assisted drug intelligence in areas across the state, which the police can then use to assist their investigations.

The latest statistics indicate that around half a million Australian adults are currently using the drug "ice," a crystalized, purer version form of methamphetamine, which has devastated many regional communities across the nation.

"(The) Dob in a Dealer campaign will help ensure our communities are no longer the end-game for international drug kingpins," Keenan said in his statement on Monday.

"These community campaigns will rely on local intelligence to undermine criminal business models operating throughout our towns and cities, which are ultimately supporting a lucrative ice market for transnational crime gangs.

"We will continue these efforts because the Coalition is committed to doing all we can to help local communities clean up their own towns from the devastation of illegal drugs."

In December last year, the Australian government committed 215 million U.S. dollars over four years to "treatment, after care, education, prevention, support and community engagement" relating to drugs, following a special taskforce report that found the best way to tackle the scourge was to reduce demand. (PNA/Xinhua)

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