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Amphetamine use increasing among Australian police detainees

CrimBrief The Official Blog of the AIC

30 May 2014

Current data from the Australian Institute of Criminology’s (AIC) national long-term drug use monitoring program of police detainees reflects both the high availability and steady rise in amphetamine use.

While the AIC data sources are quite separate from the Australian Crime Commission’s annual Illicit Drug Data Report released earlier this month, the trends reflect a concerning increase in the use of amphetamines in Australia

Since 1999, the AIC’s Drug Use Monitoring Australia (DUMA) program has surveyed drug use among Australian detainees on a quarterly basis via collection and analysis of urine samples and the conduct of interviews.
Since 2009 we have observed a fairly steady rise in amphetamine use among detainees across Australia.

We see variability in use of amphetamine across Australia. Amphetamine use appears to be particularly common among Kings Cross detainees, where the most recent first quarter 2014 survey shows 61 percent of urine samples test positive to amphetamine.

High rates of amphetamine use are also observed in detainees from East Perth (43% of urine samples test positive to amphetamine) and Brisbane (41%). The lowest rates of use are recorded among Adelaide (23%) and Surry Hills (26%) detainees. A variety of factors may underlie these differences including local availability of amphetamine or illicit drug user preference.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 reflecting an overabundance of the substance, Australian detainees rate amphetamine availability at an 8.

On average, Australian detainees rate the current quality of amphetamine at a 7, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 reflecting excellent quality or high purity.

Nationally, Forty-six percent of property offenders sampled and 47 percent of drug offenders sampled tested positive for amphetamines. Twenty-eight percent of violent offenders tested positive to amphetamine, as did 20 percent of driving offenders.

Given that amphetamine use, in particular methamphetamine use, has been associated with an increased risk of violence and aggression, a rise in use among the Australian detainee population is of concern.

The 2014 UN Office of Drugs and Crime Assessment also reflect these trends

By AIC research manager Matthew Willis

Posted: 30 May 2014 | | | | | |