METHAMPHETAMINE and drug use is a growing problem in the region – and experts say a major part of the drug’s rapid growth started in Gympie.
A 2017 report on The Sydney Methamphtemaine Market by the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund and written by University of New South Wales researchers revealed the most common method used to synthesise the drug in New South Wales “originated in Gympie in 1995”.
The process, called the hypophosphorous method, “rapidly overtook production using hydriodic acid and red phosphorous in popularity” as a faster and more efficient reaction. The problem has not improved around the region in the 24 years since.
Queensland Police data reveals a 40 per cent jump in Gympie drug offences since the start of the century.
In the nine years from October 2010 to last month, 5912 drug offences were reported in the Gympie region – compared to 4218 in the nine years from September 2001-September 2010.
In this same period the number of selling-supplying offences soared from 89 to 271, and drug possession crimes increased by 29 per cent.
In 2016 police data revealed arrests for possession of the drug ice had exploded by 300 per cent.
Smaller parts of the region like Goomeri, Imbil, Kilkivan and Tiaro had the biggest problems on a per capita basis.
In 2017, State Government statistics revealed the region was one of three places which together accounted for 34 per cent of the state’s ice use among parents.
And the social price is high.
This month a bloody syringe was discarded uncapped by a meth user near a Gympie high school. John Paul Birch, 46, pleaded guilty and admitted he entered the school grounds to inject himself.
Last month, 24-year-old Gympie woman Renee Frances Male was jailed after pleading guilty to the drug-linked knifepoint robbery of a family home while in the grip of a seven month ice-fuelled frenzy.
In September, 33-year-old ice junkie from Fisherman’s pocket, resident Timothy John St John, pleaded guilty to multiple crimes including stealing and wrecking the car of a struggling mum with three autistic children.
In May, Goomboorian’s David John Politanski, 35, disrupted southeast Queensland rail services when he parked too close to the rail line. He pleaded guilty to charges including possessing methamphetamine and driving under the influence of a drug.