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Australian heroin drought affects heroin market


According to a report released by the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), the recent heroin drought in Australia has resulted in dramatic drops in heroin use and expenditure as well as in the number of heroin overdoses. The BOCSAR report cites results of urinalysis testing of arrestees in Bankstown and Parramatta, conducted as part of the Australian Institute of Criminology's Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) project. The urinalysis testing has reported a decrease in the percentage of detainees testing positive to heroin after the drought started in approximately December 2000. A concurrent increase in the percentage testing positive to methadone and cocaine has also been shown over this period. The BOCSAR report also discusses the implications of the heroin drought for drug policy in Australia.

DUMA: Per cent testing positive to opiates (adult males), September 1999 to June 2001



  • Weatherburn, D., Jones, C., Freeman, K. and Makkai, T. 2001, "The Australian heroin drought and its implications for drug policy", Crime and Justice Bulletin, no. 59, New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney.

Cite article

2001. Australian heroin drought affects heroin market. Crime facts info no. 12. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/cfi/cfi012