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National DUMA summary 2013–14

Between July 2013 and December 2014, data were collected at six sites across Australia—Adelaide, Bankstown, Brisbane, East Perth, Kings Cross and Surry Hills. This section reports the results of these collections for adult detainees at an aggregate level.

Sample and demographics

Table 2 National DUMA sample, by age and gender, 2013–14a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Age (yrs)
18–20 311 11 71 11 382 11
21–25 548 19 131 20 679 20
26–30 516 18 142 22 658 19
31–35 482 17 111 17 593 17
36+ 955 34 189 29 1,144 33
Total 2,812 644 3,456
Min/max age 18/77 18/64 18/77
Mean age (median) 32 (31) 31 (30) 32 (31)

a: Excludes cases where gender was unknown

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Table 2a National DUMA sample, by location, age and gender, 2013–14 (%)
Adelaide Bankstown Brisbane East Perth Kings Cross Surry Hills All sites
Males (Age in yrs)
18–20 11 10 10 12 11 6 11
21–25 24 10 18 20 19 14 19
26–30 17 18 20 19 14 10 18
31–35 15 18 16 19 18 14 17
36+ 33 43 35 30 39 56 34
Min/max age 18/74 18/75 18/77 18/71 18/60 18/53 18/77
Mean age (median) 32 (30) 35 (33) 33 (31) 32 (30) 33 (33) 35 (37) 32 (31)
Females (Age in yrs)
18–20 15 7 9 10 19 18 11
21–25 14 17 23 22 11 27 20
26–30 20 28 24 23 11 9 22
31–35 16 14 18 17 22 27 17
36+ 35 34 27 29 37 18 29
Min/max age 18/63 18/64 18/60 18/57 18/51 18/43 18/64
Mean age (median) 32 (31) 32 (29) 31 (29) 31 (29) 32 (32) 28 (30) 31 (30)

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • 3,456 adult detainees participated in DUMA interviews at Adelaide, Bankstown, Brisbane, East Perth, Kings Cross and Surry Hills police stations or watch houses;
  • 81 percent of detainees were male;
  • on average, detainees were 32 years of age (see Table 2);
  • there was some variation in age distributions between the sites, which may be due to demographic differences in the general population at the sites (see Table 2a);
  • the number of detainees interviewed in the 2013–14 period was less than in previous collection periods, due to the hiatus in the first and second quarter of 2013 and the reduction in the number of data collection sites; and
  • the age and gender composition was comparable with previous collection periods.

Education, housing and employment

Table 3 National DUMA sample, by education, housing, employment and gender, 2013–14a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Education
Year 10 or less 1,178 42 250 39 1,428 41
Year 11 or 12 566 20 126 20 692 20
TAFE/university not completed 317 11 87 14 404 12
Completed TAFE 598 21 142 22 740 21
Completed university 148 5 39 6 187 5
Total 2,807 644 3,451
Housing
Owned or rented by self 1,199 43 286 45 1,485 43
Someone else’s place 1,082 39 242 38 1,324 38
Shelter or emergency 33 1 7 1 40 1
Incarceration facility/halfway house 39 1 6 1 45 1
Treatment facility 30 1 4 1 34 1
No fixed residence 294 10 83 13 377 11
Other 127 5 14 2 141 4
Total 2,804 642 3,446
Employment
Full-time 731 26 58 9 789 23
Part-time 294 10 66 10 360 10
Have job but not currently workingb 290 10 71 11 361 10
Looking for work 861 31 180 28 1,041 30
Not looking for work 531 19 185 29 716 21
Full-time homemakers 29 1 66 10 95 3
Studying 46 2 16 2 62 2
Retired 30 1 2 0 32 1
Total 2,812 644 3,456

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Due to illness, leave, strike, disability or seasonal work

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Education

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • year 10 or less was the highest education level attained by 41 percent (n=1,428) of detainees. This was followed by those who had:
    • completed TAFE (21%; n=740);
    • completed year 11 or 12 (20%; n=692);
    • commenced TAFE/university studies but did not complete them (12%; n=404); and
    • completed university (5%; n=187);
  • males most commonly reported their highest level of education as having completed year 10 or less (42%; n=1,178), followed by having completed TAFE (21%; n=598), having completed year 11 or 12 (20%; n=566), having commenced TAFE/university studies but not completed them (11%; n=317), and having completed university (5%; n=148); and
  • females most commonly reported their highest level of education was year 10 or less (39%; n=250), followed by having completed TAFE (22%; n=142), having completed year 11 or 12 (20%; n=126), having commenced TAFE/university studies but not completed them (14%; n=87), and having completed university (6%; n=39) (see Table 3).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • there was no change in the percentage of detainees who had completed year 10 or less, TAFE or university;
  • there was a two percentage point increase in the percentage of detainees who had completed year 11 or 12 (18% cf 20%);
  • there was a two percentage point decrease in the percentage of detainees who had commenced, but not completed, TAFE or university (14% cf 12%); and
  • there appeared to be little change in the education attainment levels of the detainee population from the 2011–12 collection period.

Housing

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • the majority of detainees (81%; n=2,809) reported residing in stable accommodation (private or social housing) in the 30 days prior to their arrest, which was owned or rented by themselves (43%; n=1,485) or by someone else (38%; n=1,342);
  • a small percentage of detainees (11%; n=377) reported having no fixed address;
  • males most commonly reported residing in stable accommodation which was owned or rented by themselves (43%; n=1,199) or by someone else (39%; n=1,082). Ten percent of males reported having no fixed address (n=294); and
  • females most commonly reported residing in stable accommodation which was owned or rented by themselves (45%; n=286) or by someone else (38%; n=242). Thirteen percent of females reported having no fixed address (n=83) (see Table 3).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • there was a six percentage point decrease in detainees who reported residing in stable accommodation in the 30 days prior to their arrest (87% cf 81%), made up of a one percentage point decrease in those who owned or rented themselves (44% cf 43%) and a five percentage point decrease in those residing in someone else’s home (43% cf 38%);
  • this decrease was also reflected in the five percentage point increase in detainees who reported having no fixed address (6% cf 11%).

Employment

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • less than a quarter of detainees (23%; n=789) reported being in full-time employment at the time of their arrest;
  • 10 percent (n=360) reported being in part-time employment;
  • the remaining 67 percent (n=2,307) of detainees were not working at the time of their arrest and were:
    • looking for work (30%; n=1,041);
    • not looking for work (21%; n=716);
    • not working, as they were on leave from work or due to illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment (10%; n=361);
    • full-time homemakers (3%; n=95);
    • studying (2%; n=62); or
    • retired (1%; n=32);
  • males most commonly reported that they were unemployed and looking for work (31%; n=861), that they were in full-time employment (26%; n=731), that they were unemployed and not looking for work (19%; n=531), that they were in part-time employment (10%; n=294), or that they were not working due to being on leave, illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment (10%; n=290); and
  • females most commonly reported that they were unemployed and not looking for work (29%; n=185), that they were unemployed and looking for work (28%; n=180), that they were not working due to being on leave, illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment (11%; n=71), that they were in part-time employment (10%; n=66), or that they were full-time homemakers (10%; n=66) (see Table 3).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • there was a six percentage point increase in detainees who were unemployed and not looking for work (15% cf 21%) and a two percentage point increase in detainees who were unemployed and looking for work (28% cf 30%); and
  • there was a three percentage point decrease in detainees employed on a full-time basis (26% cf 23%) and in detainees who were not working as they were on leave from work, or due to illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment (13% cf 10%).

Criminal justice contact

Table 4 National DUMA sample, by criminal history and gender, 2013–14a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Prior charge history (past 12 months)
Yes 1,249 48 258 43 1,507 47
No 1,375 52 338 57 1,713 53
Prior prison history (past 12 months)b
Yes 581 22 117 19 698 21
No 2,083 78 502 81 2,585 79
Currently on parolec
Yes 331 17 76 18 407 17
No 1,629 83 352 82 1,981 83
Currently on probationc
Yes 149 8 35 8 184 8
No 1,812 92 393 92 2,205 92
Currently on community service orderc
Yes 68 3 13 3 81 3
No 1,892 97 415 97 2,307 97

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Calculated as anyone who reported being released from prison up to 365 days ago

c: From third quarter 2013 to first quarter 2014, only those who had served time in prison were asked this question. From second quarter 2014 onwards all detainees were asked this question. Detainees who skipped the question in third quarter 2013 to first quarter 2014 have been treated as missing data as it cannot be known how they would have answered this question

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Table 4a National DUMA sample, by prison history and gender, 2013–14
Male Female Total
Released from prison n % n % n %
Never been to prison 1,455 55 383 62 1,838 56
Up to one year ago 581 22 117 19 698 21
More than one year, up to two years ago 185 7 40 6 225 7
More than two years, up to four years ago 164 6 31 5 195 6
More than four years, up to six years ago 70 3 20 3 90 3
More than six years, up to eight years ago 49 2 4 1 53 2
More than eight years, up to ten years ago 51 2 7 1 58 2
More than ten years ago 109 4 17 3 126 4
Total 2,664 619 3,283

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • 47 percent (n=1,507) of detainees reported having been charged on a separate occasion in the past 12 months;
  • 21 percent (n=698) of detainees reported being released from prison in the past 12 months;
  • 17 percent (n=407) of detainees reported being on parole, eight percent (n=184) reported being on probation and three percent (n=81) reported being on a community service order (see Table 4);
  • 20 percent (n=621) of detainees reported being released from prison in the past one to 10 years and four percent (n=126) of detainees reported being released from prison more than 10 years ago (see Table 4a);
  • by site, 29 percent (n=349) of Brisbane detainees reported being released from prison in the past 12 months, followed by 20 percent (n=219) of East Perth detainees and 12 percent (n=77) of Adelaide detainees. Seventy-two percent (n=453) of Adelaide detainees reported never having served time in prison on a sentence, followed by 53 percent (n=597) of East Perth detainees and 48 percent (n=586) of Brisbane detainees; and
  • there were small samples sizes at the New South Wales sites—31 percent (n=16) of Surry Hills detainees reported being released from prison in the past 12 months, followed by 17 percent (n=17) of Kings Cross detainees and 13 percent (n=20) of Bankstown detainees. Seventy-three percent (n=116) of Bankstown detainees reported never having served time in prison on a sentence, followed by 62 percent (n=64) of Kings Cross detainees and 43 percent (n=22) of Surry Hills detainees (see 2013–14 DUMA findings: Site results).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • the rate of recidivism, as measured by the percentage of detainees who reported having been charged with at least one offence in the previous 12 months, increased by three percentage points (44% cf 47%). However, despite the increase, the 2013–14 rate remained lower than the 2009–10 rate of 51 percent. It should be noted that the data collected does not include any information relating to the outcome (conviction or otherwise) of charges from the previous 12 months;
  • rates of incarceration in the past 12 months increased by five percentage points (17% cf 22%), having remained stable from 2009–10 to 2011–12. However, it should be noted that the survey question from which this result was calculated changed in 2012 and now asks detainees who have served time in prison to report how long ago they were released, rather than whether they had been in prison in the last 12 months.

Offending

Table 5 National DUMA sample, by offence and gender, 2013–14a
Male Female Total
Charges Detainees’ MSOb Charges Detainees’ MSOb Charges Detainees’ MSOb
Charges recorded n % n % n % n % n % n %
Violent 1,462 19 843 30 214 12 134 21 1,676 18 977 29
Property 1,395 18 519 19 494 28 177 28 1,889 20 696 20
Drug 1,014 13 243 9 228 13 59 9 1,242 13 302 9
DUIc 92 1 73 3 13 1 8 1 105 1 81 2
Traffic 558 7 147 5 80 5 20 3 638 7 167 5
Disorder 621 8 209 8 110 6 40 6 731 8 249 7
Breach 1,753 23 713 26 423 24 187 30 2,176 23 900 26
Other 676 9 33 1 190 11 8 1 866 9 41 1
Total 7,571 2,780 1,752 633 9,323 3,413

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Detainees may have been charged with multiple offences; each detainee was categorised according to the most serious offence (MSO) they were charged with (see Technical Appendix)

c: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Table 5a National DUMA sample, by location and charges, 2013–14 (%)
Charges recorded Adelaide Bankstown Brisbane East Perth Kings Cross Surry Hills All sites
Violent 24 39 17 16 17 17 18
Property 16 13 21 22 20 23 20
Drug 10 10 18 7 25 25 13
DUIa 1 2 1 1 6 4 1
Traffic 7 5 6 9 3 2 7
Disorder 14 7 7 6 11 17 8
Breach 21 20 17 34 14 9 23
Other 7 3 13 6 5 3 9

a: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Charges recorded

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • an average of three charges, and a median of two charges, were recorded per detainee, and 76 percent (n=2,599) of detainees had three or less charges;
  • a total of 9,323 charges were recorded;
  • aggregated across all sites, charges were recorded in the following categories in order of prevalence:
    • breach (23%; n=2,176);
    • property (20%; n=1,889);
    • violent (18%; n=1,676);
    • drug (13%; n=1,242);
    • disorder (8%; n=731);
    • traffic (7%; n=638); and
    • DUI (1%; n=105);
  • a further nine percent (n=866) of charges were recorded as ‘other’ charges and not classified into the categories listed above;
  • males most commonly had breach charges (23%; n=1,753) recorded against them, followed by violent (19%; n=1,462), property (18%; n=1,395) and drug charges (13%; n=1,014);
  • females most commonly had property charges (28%; n=494) recorded against them, followed by breach (24%; n=423), drug (13%; n=228) and violent charges (12%; n=214) (see Table 5);
  • the prevalence of charges varied between data collection sites:
    • violent charges were more prevalent among detainees at Bankstown (39%; n=99) and Adelaide (24%; n=316) compared with the remaining sites, where violent charges comprised 16 or 17 percent of charges recorded;
    • property charges were more prevalent among detainees at Surry Hills (23%; n=24), East Perth (22%; n=650) and Brisbane (21%; n=931) compared with Adelaide (16%; n=212) and Bankstown (13%; n=33); and
    • drug charges were more prevalent among detainees at Kings Cross (25%; n=49), Surry Hills (25%; n=26) and Brisbane (18%; n=808) compared with the remaining sites, where drug charges comprised seven or 10 percent of charges recorded (see Table 5a).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • there was no change in the percentage of property charges recorded for data aggregated across Australia (20%), indicating that the decline in property offences seen in the 2011–12 and 2009–10 collection periods may have slowed or ceased;
  • property charges increased by three percentage points at East Perth (19% cf 22%) and Kings Cross (17% cf 20%);
  • property charges decreased by between three and five percentage points at Adelaide (21% cf 16%), Brisbane (26% cf 21%) and Bankstown (16% cf 13%);
  • there was a small decline in the percentage of violent charges recorded for data aggregated across Australia (19% cf 18%), continuing a period from 2008 in which the percentage of violent charges has remained relatively stable at around 18 or 19 percent;
  • the percentage of violent charges increased a small amount (between 1 and 3 percentage points) at Kings Cross (14% cf 17%) and Adelaide (23% cf 24%), and a substantial amount (11 percentage points) at Bankstown (28% cf 39%). The increase seen at Bankstown was made up of an 11 percentage point increase in charges for common assault (8% cf 19%) and small increases in charges for murder and serious assault, offset by small reductions in charges for stalking, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery, and selling, possessing or using prohibited weapons or explosives; and
  • the percentage of violent charges decreased by between two and four percentage points at East Perth (20% cf 16%) and Brisbane (19% cf 17%).

Most serious offence (MSO) classification

Detainees may have been charged with multiple offences. Detainees were categorised according to the most serious offence (MSO) they were charged with (see Technical Appendix). Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • aggregated across all sites, detainees’ MSOs were categorised as:
    • violent (29%; n=977);
    • breach (26%; n=900);
    • property (20%; n=696);
    • drug (9%; n=302);
    • disorder (7%; n=249);
    • traffic (5%; n=167); or
    • DUI (2%; n=81);
  • a further one percent (n=41) of detainees were categorised in the MSO of ‘other’ as they could not be categorised in the MSOs listed above;
  • males were most commonly categorised in the violent MSO (30%; n=843), followed by MSOs that were breach (26%; n=713), property (19%; n=519), drug (9%; n=243) and disorder (8%; n=209); and
  • females were most commonly categorised in the breach MSO (30%; n=187), followed by property (28%; n=177), violent (21%; n=134) and drug (9%; n=59) (see Table 5).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • there was a one percentage point increase in detainees whose MSO was violent (28% cf 29%), breach (25% cf 26%) or property (19% cf 20%); and
  • there was a three percentage point decrease in detainees whose MSO was DUI (5% cf 2%).

Drug use

Table 6 National DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and gender, 2013–14a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Provided urineb
Yes 1,265 71 286 73 1,551 71
No 527 29 108 27 635 29
Test results
Cannabis 587 46 121 42 708 46
Cocaine 26 2 5 2 31 2
Amphetaminesc 432 34 144 50 576 37
Methamphetamine 396 31 134 47 530 34
MDMA 17 1 3 1 20 1
Other amphetamines 26 2 9 3 35 2
Opiatesd 222 18 87 30 309 20
Heroin 88 7 31 11 119 8
Methadone 49 4 30 10 79 5
Buprenorphine 87 7 45 16 132 9
Other opiates 63 5 25 9 88 6
Benzodiazepines 284 22 90 31 374 24
Any drug 903 71 233 81 1,136 73
Any drug other than cannabis 643 51 195 68 838 54
Multiple drugs 447 35 135 47 582 38

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Percentages have been calculated for the quarters in which urine samples were requested, which in 2013 was quarters 3 and 4 and in 2014 was quarters 1 and 3 (see Technical Appendix for further detail)

c: Includes methamphetamine, MDMA and other amphetamines

d: Includes heroin, methadone, buprenorphine and other opiates

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • of those detainees who were asked to provide a urine sample, 71 percent (n=1,551) complied;
  • of the 1,551 detainees who provided a urine sample, 73 percent (n=1,136) tested positive for at least one drug type;
  • the drugs detected were, in order of prevalence:
    • cannabis (46%; n=708);
    • amphetamines (37%; n=576) including methamphetamine (34%; n=530), other amphetamines (2%; n=35) and MDMA (1%; n=20) (detainees can test positive to multiple substances);
    • benzodiazepines (24%; n=374);
    • opiates (20%; n=309) including buprenorphine (9%; n=132), heroin (8%; n=119), other opiates (6%; n=88) and methadone (5%; n=79) (detainees can test positive to multiple substances); and
    • cocaine (2%; n=31);
  • males most commonly tested positive to cannabis (46%; n=587), followed by amphetamines (34%; n=432), benzodiazepines (22%; n=284) and opiates (18%; n=222); and
  • females most commonly tested positive to amphetamines (50%; n=144), followed by cannabis (42%; n=121), benzodiazepines (31%; n=90) and opiates (30%; n=87) (see Table 6).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • there was a reduction in the overall number of urine samples collected due to methodological changes (see Technical Appendix;
  • the urine provision compliance rate decreased by five percentage points (76% cf 71%);
  • there was a four percentage point increase in detainees testing positive to at least one drug type (69% cf 73%). This continues the increase in positive drug tests reported in 2011–12, suggesting that drug use among Australian detainees could be on the rise;
  • there was a 13 percentage point increase in detainees testing positive to amphetamines (24% cf 37%), mainly due to an 11 percentage point increase in detainees testing positive to methamphetamine (23% cf 34%);
  • there was a two percentage point increase in detainees testing positive to benzodiazepines (22% cf 24%) and a one percentage point increase in detainees testing positive to cocaine (1% cf 2%); and
  • there was a one percentage point decrease in detainees testing positive to cannabis (47% cf 46%) and in detainees testing positive to opiates (21% cf 20%).

Cannabis

Table 6a Characteristics of detainees who tested positive to cannabis, 2013–14a
Positive Not positive
n % n %
Gender
Male 587 46 678 54
Female 121 42 165 58
Age (yrs)
18–20 113 62 70 38
21–25 153 54 132 46
26–30 148 46 172 54
31–35 109 40 162 60
36+ 185 38 307 62
Most serious offence category (MSO)
Violent 192 44 248 56
Property 151 47 173 53
Drug 71 46 82 54
Opiatesd 9 26 26 74
Traffic 23 37 40 63
Disorder 59 51 57 49
Breach 191 49 195 51
Other 9 50 9 50

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Figure 1 Adult detainees who tested positive to cannabis, by year (%)

Note: Includes five long-term DUMA sites—Adelaide, Bankstown, Brisbane, East Perth and Kings Cross

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2002–14 [computer file]

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • 46 percent (n=708) of detainees tested positive to cannabis;
  • test positive rates for the different age groups were, in descending order:
    • 18 to 20 years (62%; n=113);
    • 21 to 25 years (54%; n=153);
    • 26 to 30 years (46%; n=148);
    • 31 to 35 years (40%; n=109); and
    • 36 years and over (38%; n=185);
  • test positive rates by MSO were, in descending order:
    • disorder (51%; n=59);
    • breach (49%; n=191);
    • property (47%; n=151);
    • drug (46%; n=71);
    • violent (44%; n=192);
    • traffic (37%; n=23); and
    • DUI (26%; n=9) (see Table 6a); and
  • by site, 53 percent (n=243) of East Perth detainees tested positive to cannabis, followed by 44 percent (n=108) of Adelaide detainees and 43 percent (n=303) of Brisbane detainees. Small numbers of urine samples were collected at the New South Wales sites, with 45 percent (n=31) of Kings Cross detainees testing positive to cannabis, followed by 36 percent (n=15) of Surry Hills detainees and 24 percent (n=8) of Bankstown detainees (see 2013–14 DUMA findings: Site results).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • The overall test positive rate for cannabis declined one percentage point (47% cf 46%), continuing the decline, seen over previous collection periods, from the peak of use recorded across five long-term sites in 2002 and 2004 (57%; see Figure 1).
  • There were small fluctuations both upward and downward in the test positive rates by age and MSO. The most substantial difference was a nine percentage point decrease in the test positive rate for detainees whose MSO was drug (55% cf 46%).

Box 1 The influence of cannabis dependency and use on criminal offending

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia, which is reflected in the test positive rates of the 2013–14 collection period (46% nationally). It has been reported that cannabis users are more likely to participate in criminal offending than non-cannabis users (Bennett, Holloway & Farrington 2008). However, the nature of the association between cannabis use and offending is unclear. A study conducted using 2013 DUMA data examined the association between cannabis use and offending by comparing the frequency of use and dependence on cannabis of detainees who reported that cannabis had contributed to their offending, with cannabis-using detainees who reported it had not.

Of the 1,149 detainees interviewed in 2013, 50 percent (n=578) reported they had used cannabis in the 30 days prior to their arrest and 31 percent (n=356) reported they had used cannabis in the 48 hours prior to their arrest. Cannabis was, on average, consumed on 13 of the 30 days prior to arrest; 12 percent of cannabis-using detainees reported daily use. Cannabis was, on average, consumed three times per day. Of the 685 detainees who reported using cannabis in the 12 months prior to their arrest, 37 percent (n=254) reported they were dependent on cannabis.

Of detainees who reported using cannabis in the 30 days prior to their arrest (n=571), 18 percent (n=100) reported that they thought cannabis contributed ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’ to the events leading up to their current police detention. Specifically, 30 detainees reported that they were high on cannabis at the time, 12 detainees reported that they needed money to buy cannabis, nine detainees reported that they were ‘hanging out’ for cannabis and 55 detainees cited other reasons (detainees could provide multiple responses). Those other reasons included being detained for possession or supply of cannabis (n=36), mental health issues connected to cannabis use (n=6) and behavioural or cognitive changes attributed to intoxication (n=7).

Detainees who attributed their criminal offending to cannabis use reported a higher number of days of use in the 30 days prior to their detention than those who did not attribute their offending to cannabis use (22 days cf 15 days). Users who attributed offending to cannabis use also reported higher frequency of use per day than did detainees who did not report cannabis as a contributing factor (4 times per day cf 3 times per day). In addition, 26 percent of dependent cannabis users identified cannabis use as a contributing factor, compared with eight percent of non-dependent cannabis users.

For further detail, see Findings from the DUMA program: The influence of cannabis dependency and use on criminal offending, through the eyes of police detainees (Goldsmid 2015).

Amphetamines

Table 6b Characteristics of detainees who tested positive to amphetamines, 2013–14a
Positive Not positive
n % n %
Gender
Male 432 34 833 66
Female 144 50 142 50
Age (yrs)
18–20 56 31 127 69
21–25 105 37 180 63
26–30 131 41 189 59
31–35 110 41 161 59
36+ 174 35 318 65
Most serious offence category (MSO)
Violent 135 31 305 69
Property 157 48 167 52
Drug 76 50 77 50
Opiatesd 5 14 30 86
Traffic 19 30 44 70
Disorder 29 25 87 75
Breach 147 38 239 62
Other 5 28 13 72

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Figure 2 Adult detainees who tested positive to amphetamines, by year (%)

Note: Includes five long-term DUMA sites—Adelaide, Bankstown, Brisbane, East Perth and Kings Cross

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2002–14 [computer file]

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • 37 percent (n=576) of detainees tested positive to amphetamines;
  • test positive rates for the different age groups were, in descending order:
    • 26 to 30 years (41%; n=131);
    • 31 to 35 years (41%; n=110);
    • 21 to 25 years (37%; n=105);
    • 36 years and over (35%; n=174); and
    • 18 to 20 years (31%; n=56).
  • test positive rates by MSO were, in descending order:
    • drug (50%; n=76);
    • property (48%; n=157);
    • breach (38%; n=147);
    • violent (31%; n=135);
    • traffic (30%; n=19);
    • disorder (25%; n=29); and
    • DUI (14%; n=5) (see Table 6b); and
  • by site, 39 percent (n=176) of East Perth detainees tested positive to amphetamines, followed by 38 percent (n=265) of Brisbane detainees and 27 percent (n=66) of Adelaide detainees. Small numbers of urine samples were collected at the New South Wales sites with 61 percent (n=42) of Kings Cross detainees testing positive to amphetamine, followed by 43 percent (n=18) of Surry Hills detainees and 26 percent (n=9) of Bankstown detainees (see 2013–14 DUMA findings: Site results).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • the test positive rate for amphetamines increased 13 percentage points (24% cf 37%). This continues the rise in the test positive rate reported in 2011–12 and brings the rate above the previous peak of 35 percent reported across five long-term sites in both 2003 and 2004 (see Figure 2); and
  • the increase in the test positive rate for amphetamines was evident across all age groups and MSO categories. In particular, there was a 15 percentage point increase in test positive rates for detainees in the 18 to 20 year age group (16% cf 31%) and a 17 percentage point increase for detainees whose MSO was property (31% cf 48%).

Heroin

Table 6c Characteristics of detainees who tested positive to heroin, 2013–14a
Positive Not positive
n % n %
Gender
Male 88 7 1,177 93
Female 31 11 255 89
Age (yrs)
18–20 3 2 180 98
21–25 8 3 277 97
26–30 21 7 299 93
31–35 33 12 238 88
36+ 54 11 438 89
Most serious offence category (MSO)
Violent 16 4 424 96
Property 38 12 286 88
Drug 21 14 132 86
Opiatesd 0 0 35 100
Traffic 5 8 58 92
Disorder 6 5 110 95
Breach 30 8 356 92
Other 1 6 17 94

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Figure 3 Adult detainees who tested positive to heroin, by year (%)

Note: Includes five long-term DUMA sites—Adelaide, Bankstown, Brisbane, East Perth and Kings Cross

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2002–14 [computer file]

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • eight percent (n=119) of detainees tested positive to heroin
  • test positive rates for the different age groups were, in descending order:
    • 31 to 35 years (12%; n=33);
    • 36 years and over (11%; n=54);
    • 26 to 30 years (7%; n=21);
    • 21 to 25 years (3%; n=8); and
    • 18 to 20 years (2%; n=3);
  • test positive rates by MSO were, in descending order:
    • drug (14%; n=21);
    • property (12%; n=38);
    • breach (8%; n=30);
    • traffic (8%; n=5);
    • disorder (5%; n=6); and
    • violent (4%; n=16) (see Table 6c).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • the test positive rate for heroin decreased by two percentage points (10% cf 8%), continuing the small downward trend seen across the 2009–10 to 2011–12 collection periods (see Figure 3); and
  • test positive rates decreased for detainees whose MSO was drug (22% cf 14%) or property (19% cf 12%).

Cocaine

Table 6d Characteristics of detainees who tested positive to cocaine, 2013–14a
Positive Not positive
n % n %
Gender
Male 26 2 1,239 98
Female 5 2 281 98
Age (yrs)
18–20 1 1 182 99
21–25 1 0 284 100
26–30 7 2 313 98
31–35 13 5 258 95
36+ 9 2 483 98
Most serious offence category (MSO)
Violent 3 1 437 99
Property 12 4 312 96
Drug 8 5 145 95
Opiatesd 0 0 35 100
Traffic 1 2 62 98
Disorder 1 1 115 99
Breach 6 2 380 98
Other 0 0 18 100

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Figure 4 Adult detainees who tested positive to cocaine, by year (%)

Note: Includes five long-term DUMA sites—Adelaide, Bankstown, Brisbane, East Perth and Kings Cross

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2002–14 [computer file]

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • two percent (n=31) of detainees tested positive to cocaine. This figure is consistent with previous years (see Figure 4); and
  • given the small sample size, caution should be exercised in making comparisons between age groups and MSO category, but the following was noted:
    • detainees in the 31 to 35 age group had the highest test positive rate (5%; n=13).
    • detainees whose MSO was drug or property had the highest test positive rates (5%, n=8; and 4%, n=12 respectively) (see Table 6d).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • the test positive rates were comparable among most groups, with the exception of:
    • a three percentage point increase in test positive rates for detainees aged 31 to 35 years (2% cf 5%); and
    • a three percentage point increase in test positive rates for detainees whose MSO was property (1% cf 4%).

Benzodiazepines

Table 6e Characteristics of detainees who tested positive to benzodiazepines, 2013–14a
Positive Not positive
n % n %
Gender
Male 284 22 981 78
Female 90 31 196 69
Age (yrs)
18–20 19 10 164 90
21–25 44 15 241 85
26–30 74 23 246 77
31–35 84 31 187 69
36+ 153 31 339 69
Most serious offence category (MSO)
Violent 98 22 342 78
Property 99 31 225 69
Drug 37 24 116 76
Opiatesd 4 11 31 89
Traffic 4 6 59 94
Disorder 22 19 94 81
Breach 104 27 282 73
Other 3 17 15 83

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Figure 5 Adult detainees who tested positive to benzodiazepines, by year (%)

Note: Includes five long-term DUMA sites—Adelaide, Bankstown, Brisbane, East Perth and Kings Cross

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2002–14 [computer file]

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • 24 percent (n=374) of detainees tested positive to benzodiazepines (positive tests may, in some cases, represent benzodiazepine use under medical supervision);
  • females were more likely than males to test positive to benzodiazepines (31% cf 22%);
  • test positive rates for the different age groups were, in descending order:
    • 36 years and over (31%; n=153);
    • 31 to 35 years (31%; n=84);
    • 26 to 30 years (23%; n=74);
    • 21 to 25 years (15%; n=44); and
    • 18 to 20 years (10%; n=19);
  • test positive rates by MSO were, in descending order:
    • property (31%; n=99);
    • breach (27%; n=104);
    • drug (24%; n=37);
    • violent (22%; n=98);
    • disorder (19%; n=22);
    • DUI (11%; n=4); and
    • traffic (6%; n=4) (see Table 6e).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • test positive rates for benzodiazepines were comparable for most groups, with the exception of:
    • a five percentage point increase for detainees whose MSO was disorderly (14% cf 19%);
    • a four percentage point increase for detainees whose MSO was breach (23% cf 27%); and
    • a five percentage point decrease for detainees whose MSO was traffic (11% cf 6%).

Self-reported alcohol use

Table 7 National DUMA sample, by self-reported alcohol use and gender, 2013–14a
Male Female Total
n % n % n %
Alcohol use
Past 48 hoursb 1,187 42 217 34 1,404 41
Past 30 days 1,948 70 387 61 2,335 68
Alcohol type consumed on last drinking occasion
Beer only 333 29 33 16 366 27
Wine only 145 13 50 24 195 14
Spirits only 326 28 84 40 410 30
Mixed drinksc 352 30 44 21 396 29
Male Female Total
n mean (median) n mean (median) n mean (median)
Quantities consumed on last drinking occasion (total standard drinks)
Beer only 329 12 (7) 31 5 (4) 360 11 (7)
Wine only 142 26 (16) 47 18 (11) 189 24 (16)
Spirits only 317 12 (8) 81 14 (11) 398 12 (8)
Mixed drinksc 352 32 (21) 44 28 (18) 396 31 (21)
Quantities consumed on last drinking occasion (standard drinks per hour)
Beer only 320 4 (3) 30 3 (2) 350 3 (2)
Wine only 129 6 (4) 44 5 (3) 173 6 (4)
Spirits only 298 4 (2) 73 3 (2) 371 4 (2)
Mixed drinksc 325 5 (3) 38 4 (2) 363 5 (3)

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Only if consumed alcohol in the past 30 days

c: ‘Mixed drinks’ refers to consuming more than one type of alcohol

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • 41 percent (n=1,404) of detainees reported consuming alcohol in the 48 hours prior to their arrest;
  • 68 percent (n=2,335) of detainees reported consuming alcohol in the 30 days prior to their arrest;
  • males were more likely than females to report alcohol consumption in the 48 hours prior to arrest (42% cf 34%), and in the 30 days prior to arrest (70% cf 61%) (see Table 7);
  • by site, 45 percent of East Perth (n=518) and Adelaide (n=323) detainees, and 34 percent (n=419) of Brisbane detainees, reported consuming alcohol in the 48 hours prior to their arrest. Seventy-one percent (n=808) of East Perth detainees reported consuming alcohol in the 30 days prior to their arrest, followed by 68 percent (n=841) of Brisbane detainees and 67 percent (n=475) of Adelaide detainees;
  • 57 percent (n=62) of Kings Cross detainees reported consuming alcohol in the 48 hours prior to their arrest, followed by 50 percent (n=30) of Surry Hills detainees and 32 percent (n=52) of Bankstown detainees. Seventy-five percent (n=46) of Surry Hills detainees reported consuming alcohol in the 30 days prior to their arrest, followed by 74 percent (n=77) of Kings Cross detainees and 54 percent (n=88) of Bankstown detainees (see 2013–14 DUMA findings: Site results). There were small sample sizes at the New South Wales sites;
  • on the last occasion of drinking:
    • 30 percent (n=410) reported consuming spirits only;
    • 29 percent (n=396) reported consuming at least two types of alcohol;
    • 27 percent (n=366) reported consuming beer only; and
    • 14 percent (n=195) reported consuming wine only;
  • males most commonly reported consuming at least two types of alcohol (30%; n=352) on the last occasion of drinking, followed by beer only (29%; n=333), spirits only (28%; n=326) and wine only (13%; n=145);
  • females most commonly reported consuming spirits only (40%; n=84) on the last occasion of drinking, followed by wine only (24%; n=50), at least two types of alcohol (21%; n=44) and beer only (16%; n=33);
  • the average total number of standard drinks consumed on the last occasion was 19 (median 12) and varied by the alcoholic beverage consumed:
    • 31 (median 21) for detainees who consumed at least two types of alcohol;
    • 24 (median 16) for wine-only drinkers;
    • 12 (median 8) for spirit-only drinkers; and
    • 11 (median 7) for beer-only drinkers;
  • the average number of standard drinks consumed per hour on the last occasion was four (median 3), and varied by the alcoholic beverage consumed:
    • six (median 4) for wine-only drinkers;
    • five (median 3) for detainees who consumed at least two types of alcohol;
    • four (median 2) for spirit-only drinkers; and
    • three (median 2) for beer-only drinkers;
  • the average total number of standard drinks consumed on the last occasion by males was highest for detainees who had consumed at least two types of alcohol, followed by wine-only, spirit-only and beer-only drinkers. A similar consumption pattern was observed in females, although the average number of standard drinks consumed on the last occasion differed from that of males; and
  • the average number of standard drinks consumed per hour on the last occasion by males was highest for wine-only drinkers, followed by detainees who consumed at least two types of alcohol, beer-only drinkers and spirit-only drinkers. A similar consumption pattern by alcohol type was observed for females, although the average number of standard drinks consumed per hour on the last occasion differed from that of males (see Table 7).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • the rates of self-reported alcohol consumption decreased in both the 48 hours prior to arrest (47% cf 41%) and the 30 days prior to arrest (74% cf 68%), having remained consistent from 2009–10 to 2011–12;
  • the average total number of standard drinks consumed on the last occasion decreased by three standard drinks (22 drinks cf 19 drinks); and
  • there was a four standard drink decrease in the average total number of standard drinks for detainees who consumed at least two types of alcohol on the last occasion (35 standard drinks cf 31 standard drinks). For all other alcohol categories there was a small increase in the average total number of standard drinks consumed on the last occasion (beer only: 9 standard drinks cf 11 standard drinks, wine only: 23 standard drinks cf 24 standard drinks, and spirit only: 11 standard drinks cf 12 standard drinks).

Linking drugs and crime

Table 8 National DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and drug-crime attributions by most serious offence category (MSO), 2013–14a
Violent Property Drug Opiatesd Traffic Disorder Breach Other Total
n % n % n % n % n % n % n % n % n %
Urinalysis results
Cannabis 192 44 151 47 71 46 9 26 23 37 59 51 191 49 9 50 705 46
Cocaine 3 1 12 4 8 5 0 0 1 2 1 1 6 2 0 0 31 2
Amphetaminesc 135 31 157 48 76 50 5 14 19 30 29 25 147 38 5 28 573 37
Opiatesd 59 13 94 29 35 23 3 9 9 14 17 15 88 23 2 11 307 20
Benzodiazepines 98 22 99 31 37 24 4 11 4 6 22 19 104 27 3 17 371 24
(Any drug) 294 67 264 81 120 78 14 40 37 59 77 66 307 80 13 72 1,126 73
(Any drug other than cannabis) 202 46 218 67 100 65 10 29 25 40 47 41 221 57 8 44 831 54
(Multiple drugs) 142 32 165 51 65 42 7 20 15 24 32 28 150 39 5 28 581 38
(Total urine samples) 440 324 153 35 63 116 386 18 1,535
Self-reported drug-crime attribution
Alcohol 282 29 102 15 18 6 52 64 16 10 116 47 198 22 9 22 793 23
Other drugs 209 21 219 32 153 51 4 5 30 18 22 9 212 24 7 17 856 25
Any attribution 447 46 286 41 164 54 56 69 42 25 129 52 384 43 15 37 1,523 45
(Total detainees interviewed) 977 695 302 81 167 249 901 41 3,413

a: Sample sizes may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs

c: Includes methamphetamine, MDMA and other amphetamines

d: Includes heroin, methadone, buprenorphine and other opiates

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Between July 2013 and December 2014:

  • nearly half of all detainees (45%; n=1,523) stated that substance use was a contributing factor in their current police detention;
    • by MSO, detainees reported drug or alcohol attribution at the following rates, in descending order:
    • DUI (69%; n=56);
    • drug (54%; n=164);
    • disorder (52%; n=129);
    • violent (46%; n=447);
    • breach (43%; n=384);
    • property (41%; n=286); and
    • traffic (25%; n=42);
  • detainees whose MSO was DUI were more likely to identify alcohol as a contributing factor in their current police detention than other drugs such as cannabis, heroin, methamphetamine or MDMA (64% alcohol cf 5% other drugs), as were detainees whose MSO was violent (29% alcohol cf 21% other drugs) or disorder (47% alcohol cf 9% other drugs); and
  • detainees whose MSO was property were more likely to identify drugs other than alcohol as a contributing factor in their current police detention (32% other drugs cf 15% alcohol), as were detainees whose MSO was drug (51% other drugs cf 6% alcohol), traffic (18% other drugs cf 10% alcohol) or breach (24% other drugs cf 22% alcohol, see Table 8).

From 2011–12 to 2013–14:

  • the overall rate of alcohol/drug crime attribution decreased by two percentage points (47% cf 45%);
  • the rate of alcohol/drug crime attribution increased by three percentage points for detainees whose MSO was traffic (22% cf 25%);
  • the rate of alcohol/drug crime attribution decreased by:
    • nine percentage points for detainees whose MSO was DUI (78% cf 69%). This was driven by a decrease in the rate of alcohol attribution (76% cf 64%)—the attribution for other drugs remained constant (5% in both collection periods);
    • eight percentage points for detainees whose MSO was drug (62% cf 54%);
    • two percentage points for detainees whose MSO was violent (48% cf 46%);
    • two percentage points for detainees whose MSO was breach (45% cf 43%); and
    • one percentage point for detainees whose MSO was property (42% cf 41%); and
  • the changes in alcohol/drug-crime attribution by MSO may appear to be greater than the overall change when looking at percentage point increases and decreases. However, this is due to the variability in the number of people in each MSO.