Australian Institute of Criminology

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Drug offences

The Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence has reported drug arrest and seizure statistics since 1992. This section provides an overview of arrest patterns for offenders between 1995-1996 and 1999-2000.

Information is provided on arrests for the following types of drugs:

  • cannabis;
  • heroin (and other opioids);
  • amphetamines;
  • cocaine; and
  • other drugs (not defined elsewhere).

Cannabis arrests include expiation notices, drug infringement notices and simple cannabis offence notices. Offenders involved in drug arrests are divided into the following two categories:

  • consumers-persons charged with user-type offences (e.g. possessing or administering drugs for own personal use); and
  • providers-persons charged with supply-type offences (e.g. importation, trafficking, selling, cultivation and manufacture).

In the case of a person being charged with consumer and provider offences, the provider charge takes precedence and the person is counted only as a provider of that drug.

Figure 96 : Number of arrests as a percentage of total drug arrests by type of drug, 1995-1996 to 1999-2000



Figure 96

* 'Other' includes hallucinogens, steroids and other drugs (not defined elsewhere).
  • Between 1995-1996 and 1999-2000, a declining trend is evident in the percentage of drug arrests related to cannabis. In 1995-1996, 80% of drug arrests involved cannabis compared to 67% in 1999-2000.

Figure 97 : Number of consumers and providers arrested as percentage of all drug arrests specific to each type of drug, 1995-1996 and 1999-2000



1995-1996



Figure 97a

1999-2000



Figure 97b

* 'Other' includes hallucinogens, steroids and other drugs (not defined elsewhere).
  • The majority of people arrested for drug offences are consumers rather than providers, irrespective of drug type.
  • In 1999-2000, 85% of persons arrested for cannabis offences were consumers, compared to 58% of arrests for cocaine offences.
  • The percentage of total cannabis arrests accounted for by consumers increased from 74% to 85% between 1995-1996 and 1999-2000.

Figure 98 : Drug consumers, number of arrests as a percentage of total drug arrests by type of drug, 1995-1996 and 1999-2000



1995-1996



Figure 98a

1999-2000



Figure 98b

* 'Other' includes hallucinogens, steroids and other drugs (not defined elsewhere).
  • Arrests for cannabis, heroin and amphetamines accounted for 93% of all consumer arrests in 1999-2000.
  • Consumers were most likely to be arrested for a cannabis offence in both 1995-1996 and 1999-2000. However, there has been some change in the past four years, with a decrease in the percentage of arrested cannabis users from 79% to 71%.
  • Between 1995-1996 and 1999-2000 there was an increase in the percentage of consumers arrested for heroin and amphetamine offences. The percentage of consumers arrested for amphetamine offences more than doubled over the four-year period.


Figure 99 : Drug providers, number of arrests as a percentage of total drug arrests by type of drug, 1995-1996 and 1999-2000



1995-1996



Figure 99a

1999-2000



Figure 99b

* 'Other' includes hallucinogens, steroids and other drugs (not defined elsewhere).
  • As with consumers, most providers are arrested for importing, producing, trafficking or selling cannabis.
  • In 1999-2000, cannabis accounted for 58% of all provider arrests. Heroin and amphetamines accounted for 20% and 13% of provider arrests, respectively.
  • Over the past three years there has been a substantial decline in the percentage of provider arrests related to cannabis offences. In 1995-1996, 82% of arrests against providers were for cannabis offences compared to 58% in 1999-2000.
  • The percentage of total provider arrests accounted for by heroin and amphetamine offences almost tripled between 1995-1996 and 1999-2000.

Figure 100 : Drug consumers, number of arrests as a percentage of total drug arrests by gender and type of drug, 1999-2000



Figure 100

* 'Other' includes hallucinogens, steroids and other drugs (not defined elsewhere).

Figure 101 : Drug providers, number of arrests as a percentage of total drug arrests by gender and type of drug, 1999-2000



Figure 101

* 'Other' includes hallucinogens, steroids and other drugs (not defined elsewhere).
  • Irrespective of drug type, males accounted for four in five arrests of both consumer and provider offences.

Source: Reference 16.