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German-Czech alliance fights crystal meth surge

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Photo: DPA
16:46 CET+01:00
Germany and the Czech Republic launched their own drugs war on Thursday, with agreements to work together to try to combat the increasing sale of crystal methamphetamine in the border region.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich met his Czech counterpart Jan Kubice in Prague to discuss joint measures that might be taken to try to stem the flow of the highly addictive stimulant.

"It is a danger for our young people," said Friedrich. Drug-related criminality in border areas had reached "almost epidemic levels," said Kubice.

He also said the Czech laws would soon be tightened - currently the possession of up to two grammes of meth is treated as a minor infraction. This limit could be reduced to 0.5 grammes, something which Friedrich said would be an improvement.

"At a certain stage there can be no pardon, because then dealers are at work - they are ruining our young people," he said.

He said welcomed the increased importance he said the Czech government was placing on fighting the drugs trade. Friedrich also said he wanted to expand the talks to include Poland, where he said many of the raw ingredients necessary to manufacture meth were bought.

"It is important to go to the source," he said.

Joachim Herrmann, Bavaria's state interior minister said the matter had become a great concern for people on the German side of the border.

The Czech Republic was Europe's "number one drug kitchen," said Herrmann.

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Experts have suggested at least 4.6 tonnes of crystal meth, highly addictive and cheap, are consumed each year in the Czech Republic. The drug can have catastrophic physical and psychological effects on users.

It has been spreading through the south and eastern areas of Germany which border on the Czech Republic, with 46 kilos confiscated on the German border last year.

DPA/The Local/hc

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