Go to top of page

Use and misuse of prescription drugs among police detainees

ISSN: 
0817-8542
Australian Institute of Criminology
Abstract: 

This paper examines patterns of prescription drug use among a sample of police detainees recruited for the 2016 Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program. Forty percent of police detainees engaged in non-medical use of
prescription drugs. Those who reported non-medical use were more likely than other detainees to have obtained their income from illegitimate sources in the past 30 days, to consider themselves drug dependent and to have used an illicit drug in the last 30 days or 12 months. Prescription drug use was also associated with property offences. These findings show that non-medical use disproportionately affects police detainees. Risks also exist for first response officers who may need to respond to detainees intoxicated by these substances. To disrupt pharmaceutical diversion processes occurring, further research is needed on where, how and why people
involved in non-medical use of prescription drugs obtain their medication. Research into the relationship between crime and prescription drug use will also permit a greater understanding of the impact these drugs have on the community.

Cite article

Patterson E, Sullivan T & Ticehurst A. 2018. Use and misuse of prescription drugs among police detainees. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice No. 541. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi541