Ice incidents skyrocket in Coffs Harbour, Grafton
THE Grafton and Coffs Harbour region has been hit hard by the ice epidemic, with the region recording the highest percentage increase in amphetamine possession incidents in the state over the past decade.
In a submission to the NSW Government's Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug 'Ice', NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data revealed that over the past 10 years, there has been a 930 per cent increase in the number of amphetamine possession incidents recorded by NSW Police across Coffs Harbour and Grafton.
The increase was the highest in NSW, with Far West and Orana recording the second highest increase over the past ten years with 692 per cent.
The Coffs Harbour and Grafton region also had an above-average rate of amphetamine incidents last year, with about 116 incidents per 100,000 people.
In comparison, the NSW average of amphetamine incidents is about 91 per 100,000 people.
Speaking at the inquiry, BOCSAR acting executive director Jackie Fitzgerald said an almost 1000 per cent increase in amphetamine incidents over the past decade was "remarkable".
"The increase in Coffs Harbour (and Grafton) is remarkable, similarly in (the state's) far west...where there's been a 700 per cent increase, from 31 to 245 incidents," Ms Fitzgerald said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
BOCSAR statistics from 2007 to 2017 also shows that in the Coffs Harbour and Grafton region there has been a 46.3 per cent increase in incidents of possession or use of amphetamines over the past five years, well above the NSW average of 17.8 per cent.
According to the BOCSAR submission, inner Sydney has the highest recorded rate of amphetamine possession, but incidents in regional NSW has been showing higher rates of increase.
The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug 'Ice' will investigate the nature, prevalence and impact of the drug in NSW.
The inquiry is led by commissioner Dan Howard and will hear from police, public health, drug and social justice experts in Sydney, before heading to Lismore and Nowra later this month.