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Illegal Vic drug labs reach 10-year high

AAP logoAAP 3/08/2016 By Helen Velissaris

Illegal drug lab numbers in Victoria are at their highest level in 10 years.

Some 161 labs were found in the state in the 2014/15 financial year, up from 114 the year before, according to the latest Illicit Drug Data Report released on Thursday.

Victoria had the second-highest number of labs in the country, with methylamphetamine the most common drug produced in the state.

Almost 40 per cent of drug arrests in Victoria were related to meth.

That's the highest rate in any state or territory in 2014/15.

Addict-based labs, where small amounts of drugs are made for personal use, increased by 61 per cent in Victoria.

Nationally, most of the labs were found in residential areas, but there was an increase of labs in public places, rural and commercial or industrial locations.

Victoria Police are increasing roadside drug tests year-on-year and running operations targeting supply chains.

"We recognise that reducing the supply of illicit drugs including methamphetamine, and bringing to justice those who profit from the illicit drug trade, are critical components of an overall approach to the problem," Victoria Police said in a statement on Thursday.

Australian Federal Police's Victorian state manager says the rise in drug seizures shows a successful change in the way they target drug supply in the country.

"I think what we're doing better these days is that we're not seizing the drugs without knowing which syndicate, and we know more of the syndicates around Australia now that we're targeting proactively," AFP Commander John Beveridge said on Thursday.

Australia-wide the number of national illicit drug seizures has increased 91.7 per cent and arrests have increased 70.5 per cent over the past decade.

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