PAPUA New Guinean police officers have received training on how to deal with the threat of amphetamines entering the country as calls are made for tougher anti-drugs legislation.

The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) led an awareness program across the nation in early September, educating police officers and other front-line workers about the potential impact of these substances.

Opening the workshop, RPNGC acting deputy police commissioner Raphael Huafolo said that while the use of amphetamines in PNG may not be common, there were strong grounds to suggest tough legislation was needed to counter the threat.

The RPNGC is working with communities to inform them of the harmful effects of amphetamine type substances, while key government agencies were also being trained to detect and disrupt trade in the substances.

Deputy Commissioner Huafolo called for a more coordinated effort from all stakeholders.

After cannabis, amphetamines, including methyl amphetamines, are the second most widely used illicit drug in the world.

Methyl amphetamine is a synthetic stimulant drug and a type of amphetamine-type stimulant that is illegal in most jurisdictions.

Known more commonly as “ice”, Methyl amphetamine poses a high risk to communities through higher incidents of violent crime, social impacts including tensions of sourcing money for substance use, declining participation in community life, child neglect, relationship instability, and increase risk of health related harms.

The awareness program focused on how amphetamine-type stimulants will challenge communities in relation to the demand on community services, associated physical and mental health issues and damage to families through violence and fragmentation of family structures.

Workshops were delivered in Port Moresby, Lae, Madang and Kokopo, with presenters including representatives of Australian police.