Are Canadians Responsible for Australia’s ‘Ice’ Epidemic?

Are Canadians Responsible for Australia’s ‘Ice’ Epidemic

Canadians are now the second largest source of illicit drugs being brought into Australia, next only to Chile. Some of their smuggling methods are very unique.

Last week, the Australian publication Nationalpost reported that Canada is now the second largest source of illicit drugs entering Australia, next only to Chile. In 2010, Canada was only the 5th largest source – which is quite a rapid growth.

Though trafficking drugs from Canada to Australia is logistically difficult, as they are practically on opposite sides of the world. The monetary gain is apparently worth the risk for those who are selling drugs (mainly cocaine and methamphetamine) to Down Under.

It appears that Canadian traffickers are purchasing kilograms of cocaine from South American countries, and then looking to sell it where they can get the most money. 1kg of cocaine can be sold in Australia for up to $250,000, which is up to five times the price they can get for it in Canada. But how are they getting it half way around the world?

In October 2013 an elderly Australian couple embarked on a trip to Canada that they had won from a seemingly authentic tour company, AusCan Tours. The tour included an all-expenses-paid trip to Canada and a set of new luggage for each of them.  At some point during the couple’s stay in Canada, their new luggage was swapped for identical looking luggage – albeit one pretty large difference.

On arriving back in Australia, the couple reported some ‘concerns’ about their new luggage to the customs officers, and upon inspection the officers were surprised to find 3.5kg (7.7pounds) of methamphetamines in the lining of each the bags – worth approximately $7 million. Luckily, the couple wasn’t charged, and a 38-year-old Canadian man was arrested at Perth airport, and finally convicted this past June.

And while this is not the easiest or most common way to smuggle drugs, it does show how creative these smugglers need to be to get drugs so far around the world. And while the traffickers are making heaps of money, Australia is dealing with a huge rise in drug use. The 2014 UN 2014 World Report for Illicit Drug Use showed Australia topping the list for the largest amount of recreational drug users around the world, and is currently facing an ‘ice’ (purest form of methamphetamine) epidemic. The country is seeing a rise in crime, addiction and of course drugs seized at the border. Nearly one third of all offenders in the last year had methamphetamines in their system, and drug rehabilitation centres have seen an increase of meth users seeking treatment – up 10% from the previous year.

If only the traffickers could somehow realise the devastation they are causing to so many lives by making drugs accessible to more and more people. But again, if they are willing to risk spending the rest of their own lives in jail to make a quick buck – it is unlikely that they are going to care much about the life of someone they don’t know whose cocaine or meth addiction they have contributed to.

Both methamphetamines and cocaine are highly addictive substances. At The Cabin Chiang Mai, over 34% of our clients in the last 12 months were treated for meth and/or cocaine addiction. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse, contact a professional for help today.