HEROIN is set for a devastating comeback on Sydney streets and could trigger a major surge in overdoses, drug experts warned yesterday.
While a recent heroin drought led to a drop in overdoses in Australia, an influx of pure heroin from East Asia is expected to flood the local market, sparking grave fears of more drug deaths.
The quantity of heroin imported to Australia has almost doubled in the past two years, jumping from 40kg in 2005-06 to about 70kg last financial year, the latest statistics show.
A dramatic increase in poppy production in Afghanistan and Burma due to favourable weather conditions has been blamed for the increased supply of pure heroin, which experts say is destined for Sydney, which is renowned as Australia’s heroin capital.
The Australian National Council on Drugs yesterday warned low grade heroin supplies were being supplemented by higher concentrations.
“The increase in purity has a potential problem for more overdoses,” the council’s executive director Gino Vumbaca said.
“Sydney is the market where it comes to and there’s an increase in usage patterns.”
The UN has recently confirmed Burma had dramatically increased poppy yields.
“They’re expecting a lot of heroin to be produced and sold and the destination will be Sydney and Melbourne,” Mr Vumbaca said.
The trend has angered Australia’s leading drug support group which held a memorial service in Canberra this week – attended by more than 100 people – to pay tribute to family members lost to drug overdoses.
“We haven’t solved the problem, we haven’t done anything to make long-term solutions,” a Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform spokesman said.
The heroin issue was also raised at a national drug strategy conference on the Gold Coast yesterday with experts saying supplies were certainly on the rise.
National Drug and Alcohol Research Council spokeswoman Louisa Degenhardt said internal research showed drug users confirmed that heroin supply was increasing.
“A greater proportion said it was very easy to get compared to last year,” she said.
Source www.news.com.au Oct 2007