Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Policing and law enforcement activity


A number of agencies have responsibility for the enforcement of Australia's drug control laws and investigating breaches. These include State and Territory police forces, Australian Customs and the Australian Crime Commission.

Considerable effort is concentrated on those involved in the manufacture, importation and distribution of illicit drugs. The need to tackle organised crime groups in drug trafficking has resulted in considerable cooperation between agencies. In addition to gaol terms and substantial fines, drug traffickers risk having their assets seized and forfeited. Those suspected of drug dealing may be investigated by organisations such as the Australian Taxation Office and Centrelink, in addition to policing agencies.

Although there has been a move in recent years away from the criminal prosecution of people in possession of small amounts of illicit drugs towards cautioning, infringement or treatment, most people apprehended by police for drug offences are not dealing.

Further information

International and overseas drug agencies

Recent publications

Recent events