Former Curtis worker jailed for dealing meth
HE was 19 and had a job earning $91,000 a year.
But working on Curtis Island at Gladstone wasn't always glamorous for Kristopher John Chalmers - in fact it was there he was first exposed to a world of hard drugs that yesterday landed him in jail.
After his contract ran out, unemployed, he started selling methamphetamines to around eight customers to fund his new habit for the drug.
A co-worker on the island introduced him to meth, but it wasn't until after he was made redundant he became a regular user.
Yesterday Chalmers, now 20, appeared in Rockhampton Magistrate's Court charged with one count of trafficking dangerous drugs, to which he pleaded guilty.
He was caught at a motel earlier this year where police seized drugs and drug paraphernalia, along with his mobile phone.
On that phone were messages over a 79-day period from December 2013 to February 2014 that documented drug deals and negotiations to try and obtain a sizeable amount to on-sell.
Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller said it was unclear how much profit Chalmers was making, but he was mostly selling it in quantities of $100 at a time.
Defence barrister Tom Polley said his client was not running a business, but was selling the drug to support his own habit which escalated rapidly after he was made redundant.
But in sentencing, Justice Duncan McMeekin said there was clearly a commercial aspect to the operation.
Chalmers was sentenced to four years in jail, suspended after 16 months with an operational period of five years.
A Bechtel spokesman told The Observer the company did screen for illicit substances.
"Random drug and alcohol testing is performed across Bechtel's sites on a daily basis," he said.
The use of crystal methamphetamine has at least doubled in Australia in recent years.
And people in a remote area are twice as likely to have used it, according to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey report, which showed ice was becoming more common in remote and very remote areas.
Penington Institute chief executive officer John Ryan said twice as many people are using ice across Australia than they were a few years ago.
"Not only are there now far more ice users, but they are using far more often. Purity level is up which means its more addictive and the come-down is worse," he said.
"Heroin use is declining and it far less available in regional and remote communities. Not so ice. Ice use is up and it's now into areas that heroin never got to.
"There a critical shortage of drug treatment options for people, especially outside the big smoke."