Australian Institute of Criminology

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Methamphetamine use on rise

Media Release

03 November 2011

A new report from the Australian Institute of Criminology’s Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program shows a significant increase in the use of methamphetamine, or ice, among police detainees.

The latest DUMA data shows that the continuing decline in methamphetamine use since 2004 has ended, with rates of use among police detainees increasing in both 2010 and 2011.  Twenty one percent of police detainees in 2011 tested positive to methamphetamine—up from 16 percent in 2010 and 13 percent in 2009.

Detainees interviewed by DUMA researchers in police stations and watch houses across all Australian states were asked if the number of people selling methamphetamine had changed over the past three months. In 2011, a larger proportion of detainees believed that there were more dealers selling the drug than was reported in 2010 and 2009.

In 2011, half of all methamphetamine users (51%) believed that the number of people selling the drug had ‘increased’ recently, compared with only 39 percent of detainees in 2010 and 36 percent in 2009.

Police detainees who used methamphetamine were also asked whether the quality of methamphetamine had changed in the previous three months. The proportion who believed the quality of methamphetamine had improved increased from 18 percent in 2009 to 26 percent in 2011, whereas the proportion who believed the quality had declined fell by almost a third from 47 percent in 2009 to 30 percent in 2011.

Manager of the AIC’s Crime Monitoring Program Jason Payne said that the data was consistent with findings  released this year by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre  and the United National Office of Drugs and Crime  (UNODC).

“UNODC indicated that use of amphetamine-type substances has been increasing in a number of countries throughout the world which meshes with the DUMA results into patterns and changes in local drug market activity,” Mr Payne said.

AIC media contact: Colin Campbell 02 6260 9244 / 0418 159 525