Gympie ice arrests shoot up by 300%

GYMPIE arrests for possession of the drug ice have increased 300% in five years.

Latest figures point to a huge increase in the drug's prevalence in the community or an equally stunning increase in police effectiveness in detecting offences, or a combination of both.

Crime statistics released by police this week show the issue is also massive on a per capita basis in the region's smaller townships and in nearby areas, from Goomeri and Imbil to Tiaro, Kilkivan and the Cooloola Coast.

Some people evidently faced multiple possession charges in the one year.

In Gympie, 45 people were charged with 69 ice possession charges in 2015, compared to 15 people on 21 charges in 2011.

The Gympie figures peaked in 2014, when 57 people faced 98 possession charges during the 12-month statistical period.

Supply, production and trafficking charges also reached a peak in 2014.

At the Cooloola Coast, Tin Can Bay district police reported a four-fold increase from two people (facing three charges) charged in 2011 to eight (facing nine charges) in 2015.

A smaller statistical base in towns like Goomeri, Imbil, Kilkivan and Tiaro made comparisons possibly less significant but still showed a high rate of detections per capita.

In Imbil, four people faced six ice possession charges last year compared to one person facing two charges in 2011.

Goomeri police reported seven charges in 2013, up from five a year in 2011 and 2012.

In Kilkivan there were two charges laid in 2015 compared with one in 2012. Tiaro figures remained stable at one of two a year.

The story was similar in the nearby Fraser Coast region where police reported 39 people charged on the Fraser Coast in 2011 and 146 in 2015.

Random and profile-targeted drug testing also appears to have greatly boosted police awareness of likely offenders.

Assistant Queensland police commissioner Mike Keating last year said ice and cannabis were the two most common drugs being detected in roadside drug tests.

Ice facts

What is ice?

Ice is a powerful and addictive stimulant which speeds up messages in the nervous system. It is a type of methamphetamine which is generally stronger and more addictive, with more harmful side effects than the powder form, known as speed.

Other names: Crystal meth, crystal, glass, shard.

How is it used: Ice is generally smoked or injected with effects felt in three to seven seconds, sometimes smoked or snorted (with a longer delay in feeling effects).

Side effects:

Ice psychosis, associated with high doses, can be characterised by paranoid delusions, bizarre, aggressive or violent behaviour.

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