Illegal Drug Labs Pose Safety Risks For Years
Queensland, Australia (News4us.com) April 12, 2011
The Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor and Queensland Police Minister Neil Roberts today launched new national guidelines on remediating sites used to manufacture illicit drugs.
The two Ministers today visited a mock clandestine drug laboratory at Oxley that is used to train Queensland Police, to get a better idea of what law enforcement agencies have to deal with.
“The damage caused by illicit drugs doesn’t stop with the arrest of a perpetrator,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Deadly chemicals are used to make illegal drugs such as MDMA and methylamphetamine and even after drug making equipment is removed, unstable and dangerous substances can remain.”
“The residue of drug manufacturing can pose risks for many years. That includes potential health and safety problems for neighbours and new residents, including children.
“Clandestine drug laboratories can also damage our natural environment through soil and water contamination and the disposal of toxic waste in public spaces,” he said.
“The Gillard Government recognised the need for a national approach to cleaning up sites that have previously been used for making drugs,” Mr O’Connor said.
In co-operation with State and Territory governments and law enforcement agencies across Australia, the Commonwealth Government has developed the Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines.
The guidelines provide a step-by-step process to determine whether a site is contaminated, and assist in making decision about the remediation of contaminated sites.
Queensland Minister for Police Neil Roberts welcomed the new guidelines, which he says will be useful to law enforcement agencies in Queensland.
“We’re seeing more covert drug labs discovered as Queensland Police step up their efforts against the drug trade,” Mr Roberts said.
“Here in Queensland, police discovered 297 clandestine labs in 2009/10 – almost double the number found the previous year.
“About 70% of these illegal labs were found in residential areas, so it’s vital that we act to mitigate any environmental and health risks and ensure that Queenslanders, particularly children, are not exposed to dangerous chemicals,” Mr Roberts said.
The number of clandestine drug laboratories seized across Australia has reached record highs, and that’s likely to continue with a sustained police focus on drug manufacturing operations.
The Australian Crime Commission is currently assembling its 2009/10 report about drug detection across Australia. It is expected to find that clandestine drug laboratory detections are continuing to rise, with about 600 detections reported nationally.
Information provided by the public can provide important details on where drug manufacturing activity might be taking place and key individuals involved in this serious criminal activity.
Communities can help to rid our community of illegal drugs by reporting suspicious activity to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Some key indicators of clandestine laboratory activity may include:
• blacked out windows
• evidence of chemical supplies or chemical waste on premises
• strong chemical smells coming from premises
• frequent visitors at irregular times and
• excessive ventilation or security measures.
The Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines are available at www.ag.gov.au.
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