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HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Addicts Swap Meat for Drugs Down Under

Australia has seen a surge in meat thefts, and business owners suspect it's drug related

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The newest "drug currency" Shutterstock

By Bryan Le

02/26/13

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Australian butchers have reported a trend of disappearing cuts of meat, which they believe are being traded in for drugs. “People are getting desperate and it’s a sign of the times because it’s a high-value product,” says Terry O'Hagan, the general manager of Goalt Coast's Super Butchers stores. “We’ve been told meat is now currency for drugs.” Super Butchers' six Gold Coast locations have been hit at least once a fortnight, with one thief reportedly nabbing an armful of top-shelf rib fillets worth $500 ($515 USD). “Why would you need all that meat? It is a couple of months’ worth,” says O'Hagan. “I feel it was stolen to sell.” Last year, the city of Dubbo, Australia, reported a similar streak of steak thefts, which were allegedly being swapped for prescription drugs. “Some people prescribed the drug for pain relief are prepared to swap it for meat,” said Dubbo Magistrate Andrew Eckhold at the time. “This is something happening in Dubbo that I have never seen in other areas.” Authorities haven't confirmed that the recent thefts are drug-motivated. But all kinds of specialty items have been used as drug currency across the world—in the US, addicts were recently blamed for Tide detergent disappearing from pharmacy shelves.

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