Our students have done it tough this year – tougher than we ever had it. I’m not sure the old adage ‘back in my day’ quite cuts it anymore; Year 12 is hard enough, but faced with a global pandemic, and the State Government’s lockdowns and border restrictions, it’s only right they’re allowed to blow off some steam.
As with all things though, we need to apply some sensible limits. With illicit drugs more widely available on the dark web than ever before, we need to make sure we’re protecting our young people from the drug smugglers and dealers who would put them in harm’s way for a quick profit.
This weekend, sit down with your kids – have a conversation with them, and get them to have a conversation with their friends. Ask them to consider the choices they’re making, not just for themselves, but for their friends and family too.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is monitoring a number of online market places and sellers on the dark web, and the Australian Border Force is standing ready at our borders to stop, search, and seize any illicit substances that might be imported.
Of course we all know it’s unlawful to buy illicit drugs over the dark web, but in a moment of stupidity – or false confidence – kids can place an order online for something that’s going to get them in a lot of trouble. It might take away their future; it might take away their life.
New laws passed by the Morrison Government in August gave the AFP more powers to go after crime on the dark web. Some people may think their activities are anonymous, or that it won’t happen to them – but so did everyone else now sitting in Arthur Gorrie Correctional before they saw the flashing red and blue and got a knock on the front door.
Make no mistake – under the Morrison Government, our law enforcement agencies are getting some outstanding results.
In 2020 alone, the AFP seized more than five tonnes of methamphetamine and three tonnes of cocaine. More than nine tonnes of MDMA were seized by the AFP between 2014 and 2020. Nationally, the weight of all illicit drugs seized increased by 45 per cent last financial year – to a staggering 38.5 tonnes – a 314 per cent increase in the weight of all illicit drugs seized nationally over the last decade, with an estimated street value of almost $10 billion.
By taking $10 billion out of the illicit economy, we’re denying funds to the same syndicates that murder, torture and assault a range of people, both in Australia and overseas.
Violence on Australian streets perpetuated by outlaw motorcycle gangs and mafia groups is often linked to illicit drug trafficking, and innocent bystanders have been known to be caught in the crossfire.
Illicit drug use also puts at risk the lives of first responders and frontline healthcare workers. On a daily basis, nurses, paramedics and state police are faced with dangerous individuals affected by illicit drugs.
This holiday season, it’s important for everyone to understand how illicit drug use may effect themselves, and their communities.
Our students have done it tough this year, but buying, selling, or using illicit drugs will only make it tougher. My message is simple – party safely, and don’t jeopardise your future job prospects, your health, your life, or the vibrancy of our community by getting involved with drug smugglers and organised criminals.