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4 December 2019

New report reveals detainee methamphetamine use highest ever recorded

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) today released a Statistical Report which shows the rate of positive methamphetamine tests among police detainees is the highest ever recorded.

Drug Use Monitoring in Australia: Drug use among police detainees, 2018 revealed that 52 per cent of detainees tested positive to methamphetamine, the highest national rate recorded by the program in more than 20 years.

“The Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program is the nation’s largest and longest-running ongoing survey of police detainees across the country, as well as the only survey of police detainees conducted in Australia on a routine basis,” AIC Director Michael Phelan APM said.

“DUMA is an invaluable tool to inform policy and programs about local drug markets as police detainees are more likely than the general community or incarcerated offenders to have had recent and close contact with the illicit drug market.

“The 2018 data indicates the price of methamphetamine is either remaining the same or becoming less expensive.”

Drug use monitoring in Australia: Drug use among police detainees, 2018 is based on the analysis of data collected between January and December 2018.

A total of 2418 adult detainees were tested at five police stations and watch houses in: Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Bankstown and Surry Hills.

Key findings from the report included:

  • Fifty-two per cent of detainees tested positive to methamphetamine, the highest national rate recorded by DUMA.
  • Sixty-five per cent of detainees reported methamphetamine as being widely available.
  • More than 80 per cent of detainees said that the average price of methamphetamine had dropped or stayed the same.
  • Seventy-nine per cent of detainees tested positive to at least one type of drug. Forty-three per cent tested positive to multiple drugs.
  • One-quarter of detainees said methamphetamine was the reason they had been arrested, more than detainees who attributed their arrest to other illicit drugs or alcohol.

Drug Use Monitoring in Australia: Drug use among police detainees, 2018 is available on the AIC website.

AIC Media Contact: 02 6268 7343

Last updated
6 December 2019