THE Queensland Police Service has hailed Crime Stoppers’ Synthetic Drugs Awareness campaign as a major contributor in helping to reduce the possession and distribution of synthetic drugs across the state.
The New Synthetic Drugs: Real Damage campaign set out to educate Queenslanders on the damaging effects new synthetic drugs are having on the community.
52 reports of the illegal product were made to Crime Stoppers Queensland throughout the five month campaign.
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As a result of the reports, two offenders have been arrested and charged on other dangerous drug and utensil charges. Three reports have led to drug seizures which are currently pending scientific analysis, and twenty reports remain under investigation.
Crime Stoppers CEO Trevor O’Hara said the campaign’s website received almost 41,000 new visits and was pleased with the results.
“New synthetic drugs, which are often promoted as ‘safe, legal highs’, have been causing widespread damage in Queensland over the past five years,” Mr O’Hara said.
“The New Synthetic Drugs: Real Damage campaign was introduced to remind people that all synthetic drug products have, or intend to have, similar effects as other dangerous drugs and are illegal.
“It’s satisfying to see that this message is being heard by Queenslanders – 40,976 visits were made to the website, and historically we would receive an average of four reports per month relating to new synthetic drugs. Since the campaign started in February, we have seen an increase to an average of more than 10 reports per month.
“We need to remain vigilant though to ensure these products continue to be eradicated in our communities,” he said.
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the campaign has helped to change community attitudes towards the drugs.
“In addition to calls received through the Crime Stoppers’ hotline, our officers have reported a number of incidents in which community members have approached station counters to report matters or request information on health and legislation.
“The consensus from our officers is that the Queensland community is now more aware that synthetic drugs are illegal and can have serious health implications. It’s also their belief that less of the products are being sold and stocked in the state.”
Anyone who knows information about the sale, trafficking or consuming of new synthetic drugs, can make an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, visit www.stopthedamage.com.au or download the Crime Stoppers Queensland app.