Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Property offenders use illicit drugs at earliest age

Media Release

05 April 2001

Research released today by the Australian Institute of Criminology, reveals that among sentenced property offenders the average beginning age for regular use of cannabis was 14.7 years. This compares to 18.4 years for use in the community as a whole.

In releasing the report, Age of Illicit Drug Initiation, by Doug Johnson, Dr Adam Graycar, AIC Director, said that "Those who use drugs and commit crime are likely to have started using drugs earlier than drug users who do not have criminal careers".

"Generally, education and prevention programs are designed to be applied to the whole population of young people, yet this examination has shown that people do not initiate drug use at the same time in their lives", said Dr Graycar. "This fact implies the need for prevention programs which target particular populations rather than 'one size fits all'", he said.