A RISING wave of crime has been linked to an emerging drug culture among Portland’s young men.
A recent string of arrests and convictions have followed the shooting death of Troy Hocking last October over an alleged drug debt, including charges against three friends of Hocking as well as another man, Dylan Robertson, being charged with Hocking’s murder.
Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said the men’s involvement is a Portland drug turf-war was emblematic of an emerging drug culture amongst Portland’s young men.
Portland Ambulance team leader Aaron McKindley said there had been a noticeable increase in the number of call-outs in relation to overdoses of methamphetamine, specifically ice (crystal methamphetamine hydrocholoride) , in the past 12 months, and the clientele for the drugs were predominantly young men.
“We see the emergency end of it, obviously people that use the drug don’t always need an ambulance, but we see people that have gone too far and they’re usually younger men and new users, sadly,” Mr McKindley said.
The number of ambulance call-outs requiring police assistance has also risen sharply, due to the highly aggressive nature of users.
“Other illicit drugs usually make you sleepy, but ice makes them really agitated and aggressive… we have a certain protocol we follow, but it’s still a real threat to staff.
“Our policy is we don’t attend a scene without police if it’s unsafe… and that’s a real drain on resources,” he said.
Glenelg Southern Grampians Drug Treatment service manager Bev McIlroy said there was strong evidence of more amphetamine and methamphetamine use in the region, and more people are seeking treatment.
“There is anecdotal evidence that people are using amphetamines and methamphetamines if they cannot get access to other drugs, such as prescription medication,” she said.
Read more in Monday’s Portland Observer.