ILLICIT drug use across the South East has been identified as a key issue as drug driver detection continues to grow.
Statistics show that for the period between July 1 last year and June 26 this year, Limestone Coast Police recorded a drug driving detection rate of 18.8pc.
For the same period the police's detection rate for drink drivers was 1.1pc.
Limestone Coast Police Superintendent Trevor Twilley said the high level of drug detection could be due to a
number of factors.
"Whilst the level of drug driver detection is high, this increase could be attributed to more of my members being trained to undertake drug driving tests," he said.
"It may be that it was an issue previously but we didn't have the technology or trained members to detect drug drivers, whereas now we do."
Supt Twilley said the use of drugs was not restricted to one sector of the community.
"There were nine people detected drug driving within the Limestone Coast over a recent weekend and their ages varied from 20 years old to 54," he said.
"Six were positive to cannabis, two were positive for methamphetamine and one for both cannabis and methamphetamine.
"Our community is not immune to the presence of drugs and police continue to be disappointed with those who make the decision to drive while under the influence of illicit drugs.
"Drug drivers not only put themselves at risk, but also the lives of other community members."
Supt Twilley said drug use was not just an issue for police.
"The effects of drugs not only impacts on crime, but also family relationships, the health system and other areas," he said.
"It's not just a police issue ... we work very closely with other service providers and our counterparts in Western Victoria.
"It is a whole community issue and we need to work collaboratively to address it."
"To anyone wishing to seek the service of drug counsellors - we have these services available in our community."
Supt Twilley said Limestone Coast Police had been monitoring a community awareness and education program in Mildura called Project Ice.
The project is aimed at countering the influence of crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice in the community.
"We have been watching Project Ice and are awaiting evaluation of that project." he said.
Anyone with information regarding the use or sale of drugs should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.