DEADLY DRUG ‘ICE’ FINDS ITS WAY INTO PAPUA NEW GUINEA

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DEADLY DRUG ‘ICE’ FINDS ITS WAY INTO PAPUA NEW GUINEA

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 6, 2008) - A dangerous and illegal drug known only to be used in overseas countries was increasingly used in Papua New Guinea last year.

The drug which is nicknamed "Ice" for crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride has reportedly been used by foreigners in nightclubs in three centers in the country.

However, many nationals were also seen using the drug which is either smoked, injected or snorted. The National Drug Squad, surprised at the discovery, has developed a plan to carry out special operations to quell the use of the drug before many people start using it.

A police investigator from the National Drug Squad said "ice’’ was used by foreigners in some nightclubs in Port Moresby, Lae and Rabaul.

"Many locals, mainly young girls and men, were seen among these foreigners who would have used the drug too," the policeman said. He said the discovery had caught the attention of the National Drug Squad. "We have planned major operations this year which will be targeted on finding out who is supplying ice in the country and who is using it," the policeman said.

The police investigator said they had also identified several areas where this drug was used and had plans to raid them.

In Australia in 2004, 3.2 percent of Australians aged 14 years and older had used amphetamines for non-medical purposes in the previous year and more than 38 percent of this group reported the type of amphetamine they used was ice.

"Ice" is a powerful synthetic drug that speeds up the activity of the central nervous system and can lead to dependence once used.

Use of the drug can result in restlessness and anxiety, aggression, hostility and violence, chronic sleeplessness, panic attacks and hallucinations, euphoria and talkativeness, abrupt shifts in thought and speech, according to Australian medical information. Long-term use can lead to severe depression, paranoia, convulsions, hallucinations, dental problems (from grinding teeth) and lung and kidney disorders which can prove fatal.

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