TOP COP: How the Coast’s drug reality has changed over years
THE faces may change but the problems related to drug abuse have stayed the same since Glen Dehnert joined the police force in 1990.
Across the Maryborough drug enforcement team Detective Senior Constable's career, he has seen the drug trends change.
From clandestine labs in back yards producing speed and gooey at 10 per cent purity to organised crime running ice with a potency up to 80 per cent - Sen-Constable Dehnert has seen it all.
He spoke to the Chronicle as part of News Corp's special investigation, The Ripple Effect, into drugs and their effect on the community.
While marijuana was still the most prevalent drug on the Fraser Coast, he had noticed a significant increase in the number of people who say they use it for treatment of chronic pain.
"But ice has a greater potency and it gives a greater and longer lasting high," he said.
In more recent times, he said ice's affordability had affected the community.
"You can get a hit of ice for as low as $20, which is generally related to easier access to it," he said.
This has led to an increase in thefts from the region's supermarkets and retail stores to pawn the stolen goods to get a hit of ice for the day.
Sen-Constable Dehnert said another change was nowadays it was not uncommon to find older people in the community using methamphetamine.
According to the seasoned police officer, there had recently been a rise in the number of people abusing opioid-based prescription drugs, including fentanyl.
Sen-Constable Dehnert said the number of break-ins in an area was often related to drug use.
"You will always have break-ins but if there is a huge spike you know someone is on the gear with a bad habit they can't support by stealing goods and resort to looking for cash or jewellery," he said.
Sen-Constable Dehnert explained his greatest frustration in his job related to an old police saying.
"You spend 99 per cent of time dealing with 1 per cent of the population, and it's generational and then sometimes we deal with the offspring of the 1 per cent," he said. "People are playing Russian roulette. Engage in illicit drugs and at some point you will be involved in an incident which will not only affect your life but others and the lives of family members - there is the ripple effect."