ORANGE police acknowledge recreational drug-taking with alcohol at licensed premises and public venues is a concern in Orange.
“It is an issue, but Orange is no different to anywhere else at the moment,” Canobolas Local Area Command Superintendent David Driver.
He was responding to comments made by Australian Hotels Association (AHA) chief executive officer Paul Nicolaou, who spoke to Orange publicans this week about the challenges faced by the local liquor industry.
Superintendent Driver said he was not familiar with changes to police powers announced by Premier Barry O’Farrell this week, which included being able to use drug detection dogs in Kings Cross without first obtaining a warrant.
“Police already have those powers under the Law Enforcement Powers and Responsibility Act,” he said.
Orange police Inspector Michael White said marijuana was the drug most commonly detected during police searches in Orange at the moment.
“And there is ecstasy out there but it would be behind marijuana,” he said.
Inspector White said cocaine was rarely seen by police in Orange, however meth amphetamines were part of the city’s recreational drug culture.
Earlier this week, Mr Nicolaou said the hotel industry was working hard to address issues of violence around licensed premises.
He said drugs being brought into licensed premises and consumed with alcohol was a major challenge for the industry, affecting the behaviour of patrons.
However, Superintendent Driver said, as part of the responsible service of alcohol, bar staff were required to determine if a person was under the influence of drugs while drinking alcohol.
Mr Nicolaou said recreational drug use was a contributing factor to antisocial behaviour in and around licensed premises across the state, and Orange was no exception.