Mossman school ice rumours unfounded: police

Tuesday February 24 2015, 4:55pm

Disturbing rumours of methamphetamine (also known as ‘ice’) being dealt at Mossman State High School are unfounded, say police. 

The Newsport has received information indicating that methamphetamine was being sold around or in the school by current or former students, but has been unable to verify the claims. 

Mossman State High School principal Deborah Kachel and Mossman Criminal Investigation Branch detective sergeant Trevor Perham said there was no evidence to indicate that ice dealing was going on at the school. 

“We’ve only heard about the rumours on social media today, but if parents have evidence of anything illegal they should contact the school immediately.”

Det Sgt Perham also expressed concern that the rumour was becoming so widespread. 

“I think this goes to show that you should treat everything you see on social media with a bit of scepticism,” he said. 

“We don’t have any reports on hand to say that there is any activity at the schools above the average, which is nil - I don’t know where that information has come from.

“People can post one thing and if it’s a juicy story others reply to it and share it, and all of a sudden there is a situation that doesn't necessarily reflect reality.

“There are, every year, some occurrences of students taking cannabis to school and we deal with that along with school administration.”

Discussion on social media - including local discussion and trade pages on Facebook - paint a picture of a Douglas Shire gripped by an ice epidemic.

It follows similar hysteria last week in Cairns when reports on social media of a child being abducted by a man in a white van turned out to be unfounded. 

Despite quashing rumours of drug dealing at Mossman State High, police did say that ice use has increased across Australia and that Douglas Shire is experiencing the same levels of drug abuse as other areas.

One of the key reasons for the boost of the drug’s popularity was a change in its formula by many producers, altering it from a powder (called ‘speed’) to larger, chunkier clear crystals (giving rise to the ‘ice’) moniker.

While the ‘speed’ form of methamphetamine must be dissolved and injected, ‘ice’ can be smoked in a pipe, similar to marijuana. 

This removes much of the social stigma associated with being a ‘meth junkie’.

“As for the overall presence of methamphetamine in Douglas Shire, we are seeing an increase over the last two years,” Det Sgt Perham said. 

“It’s become more acceptable to smoke it out of glass pipes, this had removed a lot of the stigma - people used to see it as a drug of junkies.”

Despite the softening view on smoking ice, the drug remains extremely dangerous and socially damaging.

Sergeant Damian Meadows of Port Douglas Police station said that the drug had the capacity to ‘destroy small communities’, particularly vulnerable and isolated communities like those in Cape York. 

“All illicit drugs cause problems but ice has a particular risk - it’s a problem whether you have 1 per cent of the community or 10 per cent using it, it has divided communities in the Cape and it has the potential to destroy small communities,” Sgt Meadows said. 

He also urged residents whose lives were affected by methamphetamine to contact police and use the SupportLink service, which puts people in contact with counselling, therapy and other services for a wide range of issues.

Det Sgt Perham said the police’s efforts against methamphetamine were ongoing. 

“We collate intelligence and target drug users and suppliers,” he said. 

“Anyone with information that can help protect their community from methamphetamine should contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000, and can do so anonymously.”