> Skip to content

Article  •  16 June 2016

 

Supplying the demand

Busted author Keith Moor outlines the truths behind Australian ecstasy use.

In Busted, bestselling writer, Walkley Award-winner and organised-crime expert Keith Moor takes us behind the headlines of the world’s biggest seizure of ecstasy. After getting a lucky break from the actions of a diligent customs officer, the Australian Federal Police swooped on the traffickers. And as they brought in the suspects, the powerful Calabrian mafia was exposed as being at the heart of it all.

Straight from the pages of Busted, here Moor takes a look at the disturbing ecstasy-consuming habits of Australians.

There are two main reasons why Melbourne is the place where the two world’s biggest ecstasy busts were made.

One of them is that international organised-crime gangs are well aware that Australian drug users are prepared to pay much more for illegal drugs than users elsewhere in the world – and that party-loving Australians are huge consumers of ecstasy in particular. You can get an ecstasy tablet in Europe for the equivalent of $6 or so, whereas the going rate for them in Australia is about $40. United Nations figures released in 2014 reveal Australians are easily the world’s biggest users of ecstasy per capita. The fact that Australians are wealthy enough to pay top dollar for ecstasy, and that so many of them use it, makes it an attractive place for organised-crime gangs to ship the product to.

The seizure in Melbourne in 2007 of a world-record 15 million ecstasy tablets with a street value of $440 million, and the bust of 5 million pills seized in Melbourne in 2005, were major coups for the Australian Federal Police. But the sad fact is that so many more pills are getting in undetected, or being made in Australia, that neither of the massive Melbourne busts caused an ecstasy drought on the streets. Most teens and those in their twenties and thirties know where and how to buy ecstasy and speed tablets – and do so in huge numbers.

Australian Crime Commission figures reveal there was a 556 per cent increase in the number of pill-producing clandestine laboratories detected in Australia between 1998 and 2008. More than 2 million Australians have taken ecstasy and amphetamine-based pills. That’s despite the fact that such pills are often laced with potentially lethal substances such as the nerve-numbing horse tranquilliser ketamine, morphine, anti-anxiety medication and a substance used to treat dogs and cats for incontinence. I watched as ecstasy tablets seized from a dealer were analysed at the Victoria Police forensic science centre. The pills contained a deadly cocktail of various chemicals capable of causing cancer, strokes, heart and anxiety attacks, high blood pressure and psychiatric disorders.

Many pills sold as ecstasy in Australia don’t actually contain any MDMA, the major chemical component of ecstasy. MDMA is expensive and hard to get so most makers in Australia use speed and other dangerous chemicals instead. There is no quality control in the filthy backyard laboratories that produce ecstasy and fake ecstasy tablets. The low-life bikies and greedy gangsters who make them don’t care what they put in them. You could take six ecstasy tablets on Friday night and have enough energy to rave until dawn. You could take three on Saturday night and not feel any different. You could take one on Sunday and die. Such is the unpredictability of the ecstasy and speed tablets that have swept the rave and nightclub scene in Australia and elsewhere.


Busted Karin Slaughter

FBI Special Agent Will Trent finds himself in trouble. A new, exclusive straight to digital short story from the No.1 Bestseller.

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Article
The 15 best meal planning tips for busy families

15 meal planning tips for busy families from The Family Meal Solution.

Article
Quiz: discover which Discworld book you should start with

This quiz will help you find the best starting point for your Discworld journey based on your personality and reading preferences.

Article
6 books that will show you a new side of Australian history

These six books will deepen your understanding of our country’s past by showing you a different side of Australian history.

Article
Love Dolly Alderton? This is what you should read after Everything I Know About Love

Wondering what to read after Everything I Know About Love? If you’re a fan of Dolly Alderton’s first book, then you’ll love her second book: Ghosts. Learn all about it and discover more similar titles.

Article
7 locations from Sixty-Seven Days readers can visit in real life

These 7 real locations from Sixty-Seven Days are the perfect places to visit while reading the book. Immerse yourself in this romantic drama by exploring the same places the characters visit in the novel.

Article
A doctor shares the key things you should know about histamine intolerance

What are the symptoms of a histamine intolerance? What even is a histamine intolerance? And how do you get rid of one? Dr Will Bulsiewicz breaks it down in The Fibre Fuelled Cookbook.

Article
Meet the 6 most important characters from The Summer I Turned Pretty

Meet the characters from The Summer I Turned Pretty books. Learn about the main characters and important family members who play a role in the trilogy.

Article
Quiz: Which The Summer I Turned Pretty character am I?

Take this quiz to find out which character you’re most like from The Summer I Turned Pretty.

Article
Quiz: Which James Patterson Character Are You?

Love James Patterson’s characters? Find out which one you’re most like!

Article
Author shares the one theme nobody has noticed in new children’s book

All about Gabrielle Wang's new book, Zadie Ma and the Dog Who Chased the Moon.

Article
Try a new genre with an audiobook

Want to try something new? These popular audiobooks from different genres will help you explore new subjects and themes while listening. You might just discover an unexpected favourite!

Article
10 exciting new thriller books released this year

Love thrillers? Check out some of the best new thriller books of 2022.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles