Australian Institute of Criminology

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Report connects drug use to crime

Media Release

18 June 2007

A new report by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has shed further light onto the connection between the use of illegal drugs and crime.

"This important study has found that people in police detention for various offences are four times more likely to be illicit drug users than the general population," Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator David Johnston said.

"This report vindicates the Australian Government's tough on illicit drugs stance, showing the importance of working towards reducing this drug use amongst the community." "Continued work towards the reduction of available drugs on the streets can only lead to a real reduction in crime in our community."

The results of the study have been made public today, with the release by the Minister of the 2006 Annual Report from the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program of the Australian Institute of Criminology.

The report of the results of 4,555 interviews conducted in 2006 with police detainees, shows that of the 77% who agreed to a urine test, over half of the adults tested positive to cannabis, a quarter tested positive to methylamphetamine and almost 10% tested positive to heroin.

"I welcome these important findings. Of particular concern is the high use of cannabis, which is not, as some people would have you believe, a 'safe drug'. The findings of this study help to confirm this," Senator Johnston said.

Most alleged offenders who were interviewed were male (84%) and two out of five are aged between 21 and 30 years (40%). Almost half have less than 10 years of formal education and almost two-thirds obtained money through government benefits.

A separate paper, on intimate partner violence has also been released by the AIC today.

Fact sheets with a range of information accompany this release.