National News

Aust demand fuels record drug seizures

sniffer dog drugs

Australia's enormous demand for illicit drugs has resulted in a record number of seizures and arrests with 10 tonnes of supply intercepted in the past 18 months.

The 2015/16 illicit drug data report shows the number of seizures has jumped 85 per cent over the decade from 62,000 in 2006/07 to a record 115,000 in 2015/16.

The weight of illicit drugs seized in 2015/16 was 21 tonnes.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan, releasing the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission figures on Friday, said supply would continue to infiltrate Australia unless the demand for drugs was reduced.

The fight against drugs was a long way from being won, he said.

"Whilst we have this enormous demand for illegal drugs in Australia, supply will find its way in," Mr Keenan told reporters in Sydney.

"No matter how efficient our law enforcement efforts are, no matter how many drugs we take off the streets, no matter how many people we arrest, no matter how many proceeds of crime we seize from organised crime gangs, we must do something to dampen the demand for illicit drugs."

Australian police were being sent to source countries to stop drugs being imported to the country.

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission boss Chris Dawson said the drug ice, or methamphetamine, was increasingly being imported from overseas rather than made in Australia.

There was still ice being manufactured in Australia, but the decline suggested attempts to stamp it out were working, he said.

It was the drug authorities were most concerned about.

"It appears still to us that methamphetamine remains the highest drug of harm to Australians of illicit nature," Mr Dawson told reporters.

"It is the one that is causing a lot of volume crime in the community."

The report shows there were record drug detections at the Australian border for cannabis, cocaine, GBL, GHB and ketamine.

Most detections were made in the international mail system.

The number of drug arrests has increased almost 90 per cent over the decade, hitting a record 155,000 in 2015/16.

© AAP 2017

Image: AAP/Joel Carrett