Addicts Swap Meat for Drugs Down Under

By Bryan Le 02/26/13

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

The newest "drug currency" Shutterstock

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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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter