Do we have drug problems?
by Michelle Pini
12th May 2015
A LARGE drug bust in Warrandyte and conviction of a local man late last year has shone a spotlight on whether there is a local drug problem, a hot topic of debate among residents recently.
Richard James Pollard, 32, of Warrandyte, was found guilty of commercial trafficking and sentenced in the County Court to 11 years jail with a non-parole period of seven years, four months in October last year.
The court heard Pollard trafficked a range of illegal drugs via the website Silk Road and distributed them by express post, including MDMA, ice, cocaine, ketamine and other assorted substances in what Judge Paul Lacava described as a “sophisticated drug-trafficking business”.
Pollard’s assets, including tens of millions of dollars in the electronic currency of bitcoins, were also seized by police. Pending appeals, it is believed these will be sold and monies raised will be directed to the state’s consolidated fund, which is used for recouping costs and issuing compensation to victims of crime by the Department of Justice.
According to Sergeant Henderson of Warrandyte Police “drugs are a problem everywhere, but we don’t see a large aspect of drug-taking and drug-dealing here”.
Sgt Henderson, who has also worked in inner-city areas, told the Diary that problems associated with alcohol and teenage binge drinking constituted a bigger local issue, and while illicit drugs are readily available throughout Melbourne, Warrandyte is relatively drug-free and “does not have a deeply-rooted drug issue”.
Sergeant Henderson attributes Warrandyte’s active sports club culture as being responsible for the town’s ability to remain largely unaffected by the ice epidemic faced by other Melbourne suburbs.
His advice for parents is: “Avoid the big divide – keep open lines of communication, without judgement, with your kids.” At the same time, he said it was not advisable to be friends with your teenage children, “You need to remain vigilant and aware of symptoms of drug-use as well as the company kids keep.”
What are your thoughts? Does Warrandyte have a drug problem? Join in the poll online at www.warrandytediary.com.au