Illicit drugs

Illicit drugs

Illicit drugs are an ongoing priority for ACT Policing as they place an unnecessary financial, social and health burden on the community. To make a profit, local drug dealers need to make continued sales and increase their customer base. They prey on vulnerable people (often troubled young people), who commonly turn to crime to fund the cost of the addiction.

ACT Policing rely on the community for information to help us detect, prevent and enforce against illicit drug crime. If you have seen or know about illicit drug growing, manufacturing or dealing in the ACT, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via the online reporting form. If you see a crime occurring call police immediately on 131 444.

Crime Stoppers allows members of the community to provide anonymous information to police about criminal and suspicious activity. Crime Stoppers provides rewards of up to $1000 for information that leads to an arrest.

If you see something, say something.

Already the campaign has contributed to a significant amount of drugs being removed from our community.

Media Release: Ten people facing court on drug  trafficking charges.

Manufacturing illicit drugs

Drug manufacturing poses a significant risk to the community and can occur in a variety of locations including houses, cars, motels and rural properties. Often the chemicals used in drug manufacturing can be extremely volatile and toxic.

Look out for signs which may indicate a home or commercial premises is being used for illicit drug production including:

  • blocked out windows
  • strange chemical container laying around
  • extensive and excessive security systems
  • people coming and going at odd hours of the day and night
  • odd pipes or hoses through windows
  • strange smells.

Clandestine laboratories

Clandestine laboratories are used for the production of illicit drugs such as methylamphetamine, heroin and pseudoephedrine. The types of laboratories can vary, from elaborate setups for large scale production to small laboratories that are often used once then discarded.

There are signs that a clandestine laboratory might be operating in your neighbourhood including:

  • persistent chemical smells
  • chemical/fertiliser/empty pill/capsule containers in rubbish
  • pool-cleaning equipment around a house with no swimming pool
  • excessive chemical containers for premises
  • suspicious run-off in to drains.

Cannabis manufacturing

Growing and manufacturing of cannabis often occurs in what is more commonly known as a ‘grow house’. This may include a shed, backyard, house or rural location.

Large scale grow houses are often complex involving large hydroponic setups and equipment.

There are tell-tale signs that may alert you to cannabis growing in your neighbourhood including:

  • people moving in at odd hours (late at night/very early morning)
  • trades people arriving at odd hours and carrying suspicious items such as circuit boards, three phase (large) electrical cables, insulation batts or heavy plastic sheeting
  • hardware for growing plants such as electrical transformers, lights and shades, large quantities of plastic pots, large plastic tubs, irrigation piping, large quantities of fertiliser
  • lights switching on and off but residence appears vacant
  • curious or unusual interior lighting
  • fans or water continuously running
  • odour of cannabis
  • odd habits from residents like not collecting mail or returning home during work hours to collect mail
  • unattended gardens and no garbage collection.

Dealing illicit drugs

ACT Policing actively targets people who are supplying and selling drugs in the ACT. Significant penalties apply in relation to possessing and distributing illicit drugs; make sure you know the law.

Look out for signs that drug dealing may be occurring in your area including people:

  • having suspicious meetings at locations without a real reason for being there
  • exchanging cash and/or packages in a secretive nature
  • having unexplained wealth or expensive items such as cars, electronic goods or clothes
  • always using cash to pay for items or carrying large sums of cash
  • making secretive phone calls or owning multiple phones
  • always having visitors who appear to be random or out of place.

Synthetic drugs

Synthetic drugs include:

  • Synthetic cannabinoids (with street names like Kronic, Spice, Kaos, Voodoo, Mango)
  • Mephedrone (4-MMC) (with brand names like miaow-miaow, bubbles and meph)

The synthetic substances are chemically similar to and/or mimic the effects or are variants of prohibited drugs, including cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine. Synthetic substances can take the form of dried shredded material containing chemical additives, pills, liquid or powder or crystal form. These substances are often labelled ‘not for human consumption’.

For healh effects of synthetic cannabinoids visit the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website.

It is illegal to possess and sell synthetic drugs. Make sure you understand the ingredients in the products sold in your store as you could be selling synthetic drugs.

Do you:

  • know if ALL of the ingredients are legal?
  • Know who made it?
  • Know what it will do to people who take it?
  • Know the penalty for selling an illegal substance?
  • Want to be liable if a person is injured or dies from using a synthetic drug purchased in your store?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, don’t sell it.

There are penalties including fines of up to $55 000 and/or five years imprisonment for the sale of synthetic drugs.

Fines of up to $22 000 and/or two years imprisonment apply for the possession of synthetic drugs.

ACT Policing actively patrols businesses to identify the sale of illegal synthetic drugs. If you are concerned that products in your store may be illegal, visit the Department of Health website to view the list of drug substances requiring import or export authorisations.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is responsible for regulating therapeutic goods. Any product for which therapeutic claims are made must be listed, registered or included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) before it can be supplied in Australia.

ACT Policing Online News

Constable Kenny Koala

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