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Seizure of drugs hits high in Australia

The Australian Customs Service made a record 1125 seizures of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) at the Australian border in the past 12 months, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, said today.

Releasing an analysis of seizures for 1999-2000, Senator Vanstone said the 1125 seizures represented an increase of 16 per cent over the previous year (968 seizures), and an increase of 40 times over 1994-95 (27 seizures).

Most border seizures were of anabolic and androgenic steroids which, although restricted imports in Australia, are available "over-the-counter" in some countries. Most seizures of these steroids, which are banned in high-level sporting competitions, were of one or two bottles of tablets or capsules.

Senator Vanstone said that in 1999-2000 Customs had completed 17 prosecutions with results ranging from a guilty plea with no conviction recorded to a fine of $7500.

"These seizures indicate the success by Customs in detecting PEDs at the border. I am advised that Australia is a world leader in terms of border detections," Senator Vanstone said.

"However PEDs do not have to cross an international border to be available in Australia. Most researchers agree they are also readily available through diverted products made in Australia or stolen products, and that the principal use is for image-enhancement.

"It’s clear that State and Federal authorities in Australia have an important role in monitoring illegal use, and considering supply control programs, education programs, suitable penalties, and effective manufacturing and distribution controls.

"I’m delighted therefore that the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy agreed last month to work out how these measures might be implemented."

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