Minority of mine workers put majority at risk with drugs

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IN THE wake of a damning Crime and Corruption Commission report, a national resource industry employer group chief has warned any form of drug use on mine sites could put lives at risk.

Australian Mines and Metals Association chief Steve Knott praised Western Australian police efforts in focusing efforts to stop drugs at airstrips used by workers for BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

He said it was pleasing police found only a very small group of mine workers doing the wrong thing.

"Unfortunately this small minority potentially puts the majority of their colleagues at serious risk," Mr Knott said.

"Remote mine sites, large construction projects and FIFO villages are not places where you would want to work alongside a colleague under the influence of drugs."

He welcomed any Queensland police initiatives that would help keep drugs off mine sites.

The CCC recently released a report about synthetic drugs and their prevalence in regional communities after two men in Mackay died from allegedly smoking synthetic cannabis.

Acting CCC chairman Dr Ken Levy said most consumers falsely believed synthetic drugs were safer than other illegal drugs.

"The reality is that criminals are using deceptive marketing to further their criminal enterprises and users of these substances are simply creating a market for organised crime to exploit," Dr Levy said.

"These drugs are not safer or any less illegal than traditional illicit drugs.

"In some respects, the synthetic drugs are more dangerous because their chemical ingredients are unknown."

CCC intelligence found synthetic drugs were on the rise in regional areas, particularly in central and northern Queensland.

The CCC explained the rise in synthetic drugs was often the result of the combination of a shortage of other illicit drugs and the presence of high levels of disposable income, such as in mining communities.




Topics:  drugs mining queensland

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