Australian Institute of Criminology

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The link between drugs and crime

Media Release

16 March 2003

"The link between illicit drugs and criminal offending continues to be strong. 81% of males detained by police for property crimes test positive to a drug", said Dr Adam Graycar, Director of the AIC, in releasing the 2002 annual report of the Drug Use Monitoring Australia (DUMA) program.

The DUMA program at the Australian Institute of Criminology uses voluntary urine samples and questionnaires to gather information on drug use and crime from those detained by police around Australia. This unique collection provides data on patterns of drug use, local drug markets, criminal activity, and treatment.

"DUMA which operates in NSW, SA, WA and Qld has been in operation for four years and has over 9,000 records which provide hard quantitative data on drug-related crime in specific areas", said Dr Graycar.

Key findings from 2002 DUMA report:

  • 60 percent of adult males arrested for a property offence tested positive to a drug, excluding cannabis.
  • 40 percent of adult males arrested for a violent offence tested positive to a drug, excluding cannabis.
  • Over half report that they had been arrested on a prior occasion in the past 12 months.
  • During 2002, DUMA detected a decrease in percent testing positive to cocaine in the Sydney sites of Bankstown and Parramatta. Consistent with previous years, little or no cocaine was detected in the other sites.
  • During 2002, DUMA detected an increase in percent testing positive to opiates in Brisbane and Southport, while other sites remained relatively stable, although slightly up from levels seen in 2001.
  • During 2002, amphetamine use remained fairly stable across sites, with a slight increase in percent testing positive in Brisbane and a slight decrease in the percent testing positive in East Perth.