According to police the rapid increase of back yard drug laboratories in residential areas poses increased risks of very powerful vapour explosions.
In Victoria alone the number of laboratories found has increased from 19 in 2002 to 112 in 2009.
Cannabis oil, amphetamines, ICE and GBH are the main illicit drugs manufactured in the laboratories.
Explosions and house fires expose neighbours to injury and toxic gases.
(Source: Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper 14 May 2010).
Australian Crime Commission reported that detected drug laboratories tripled in the last 10 years from 131 in 1998/9 to 356 in 2007/8.
Most laboratories were in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
(Source: Illicit Drug Data Report 2007/8, Australian Crime Commission)
This information confirms the growing risks to the community of toxic chemicals used to make illicit drugs.
It confirms the high Australian illicit drug use is driving higher demand and increasing risks in the wider community.
These higher and rising community risks need to be highlighted together with other risks like drug induced road trauma in the true costs of higher illicit drug use.
Australia now needs to reduce its drug using population to worlds best practice by court ordered and supervised rehabilitation to reduce these increasing risks.