Bundaberg Police conduct 30 drug raids in under 30 days

CEO of Bridges drug and alcohol treatment service Sharon Sarah says amphetamines - including ice - have overtaken cannabis as Bundy's most problematic drug besides alcohol.
CEO of Bridges drug and alcohol treatment service Sharon Sarah says amphetamines - including ice - have overtaken cannabis as Bundy's most problematic drug besides alcohol. Mike Knott

BUNDABERG police have investigated more than 30 drug-related incidents in the region this year alone and are urging people to share anything they know with Crime Stoppers.

Drug labs come in all shapes and sizes and information provided by community members is important to help police detect and safely dismantle them. The number of drug laboratories seized in Queensland has steadily increased over the past 20 years.

The numbers coincide with a sharp rise in ice use both in Bundy and across Australia, and local resources are swamped, according to the chief executive officer of Bundaberg drug and alcohol treatment service Bridges, Sharon Sarah.

"We see people from all walks of life, all ages with all sorts of problems, but we have certainly seen an increase in people presenting with ice addictions and family and friends seeking help for their loved ones," Ms Sarah said.

"Around 29 per cent of people who present to us for treatment say their primary drug problem is stimulants, like methamphetamine. Three years ago it sat around eight per cent.

"On Monday morning we got five calls before 9.30 from people specifically about ice. It's now surpassed cannabis as a primary drug of concern."

One of the biggest challenges for Bridges is recruiting staff who are trained in these issues.

"It's a national problem and so the national resource has been depleted," Ms Sarah said.

"You might only have one chance when you see someone to get them to change their lifestyle; coming in is just the start - you need to keep them coming back and reinforcing good behavior. It's very complex and for that you need highly skilled staff.

"The government intends to increase support but it's not yesterday or tomorrow, the problem is now.

"The police are doing a great job - but as long as there is a demand [for drugs], people will make it."

You can call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or Bridges Health and Community Care on 1300 707 655.

Topics:  drugs ice methampetamine

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