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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> Crime and justice >> Drug offences

The traffic in, and abuse of, illicit drugs results in significant social and financial costs to both individuals and the community. To minimise the harm associated with illicit drug activity, there is close cooperation between the Australian Government, the state and territory governments, the various police services and other law enforcement agencies. Included in these is the ACS which has, among other things, responsibility for the enforcement of laws controlling the import and export of illicit drugs. These agencies direct particular attention to monitoring the various types and forms of illicit drugs and identifying emerging patterns of use through the analysis of law enforcement data on illicit drug seizures and arrests.

As table 11.13 shows, in 2001-02 by far the largest category of drug arrests involved cannabis offences, with 55,494 arrests, or 75% of the national total. Queensland recorded almost a third of these arrests (17,068). The next largest category of arrests involved amphetamine offences ('speed'), with 8,063 offenders, or 11% of the national total.

11.13 DRUG ARRESTS(a) - 2001-02

Drug type
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA(b)
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

NUMBER

Cannabis(c)
12,121
6,692
17,068
9,812
7,156
1,540
822
283
55,494
Cocaine
462
87
20
12
25
1
2
3
612
Heroin and other opioids
884
1,808
263
63
165
34
2
20
3,239
Amphetamine-type stimulants
2,043
1,608
2,007
475
1,725
89
56
60
8,063
Hallucinogens
26
32
12
12
7
1
3
-
93
Steroids
39
2
43
-
-
1
1
2
88
Other drugs(d)
1,048
982
3,313
176
451
237
1
10
6,218
Total
16,623
11,211
22,726
10,550
9,529
1,903
887
378
73,807

RATE PER 100,000 ADULT POPULATION

Cannabis(c)
183.4
138.4
465.8
647.3
373.9
326.2
416.0
88.4
284.2
Cocaine
7.0
1.8
0.5
0.8
1.3
0.2
1.0
0.9
3.1
Heroin and other opioids
13.4
37.4
7.2
4.2
8.6
7.2
1.0
6.2
16.6
Amphetamine-type stimulants
30.9
33.2
54.8
31.3
90.1
18.9
28.3
18.7
41.3
Hallucinogens
0.4
0.7
0.3
0.8
0.4
0.2
1.5
-
0.5
Steroids
0.6
-
1.2
-
-
0.2
0.5
0.6
0.5
Other drugs(d)
15.9
20.3
90.4
11.6
23.6
50.2
0.5
3.1
31.8
Total
251.5
231.8
620.2
696.0
497.9
403.1
448.8
118.0
377.9

(a) The arrest data for each state and territory include AFP data.
(b) SA data are not comparable to data published in previous years due to differences in extraction and validation methods.
(c) The SA, NT and ACT figures include infringement notices.
(d) 'Other drugs' includes phencyclidine (PCP or 'angel dust'), diazepam, lignocaine, benzocaine, dothiepin, flunitrazepam, other prescription drugs, and any drug not included in the other categories.
Source: Australian Crime Commission, 'Australian Illicit Drug Report, 2001-02'.

While the number of cannabis arrests and infringement notices declined in the period 1996-97 through to 2000-01, the figures for 2001-02 showed a small increase. The upward trend in arrests associated with amphetamines peaked in 2000-01, before falling marginally in 2001-02. Heroin arrests peaked during 1998-99, before falling from this high point: 3,239 persons were arrested in 2001-02 compared to 7,396 in 2000-01, a 56% decrease (graph 11.14).

Graph - 11.14 Selected drug arrests



Information on the widespread problems arising from drug abuse in Australia, and on how these problems are being approached, is presented in the Australian Illicit Drug Report produced by the ACC.

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