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The market for amphetamine-type stimulants and their precursors in Oceania

Research and public policy series no. 81

Andreas Schloenhardt
ISBN 978 1 921185 53 3 ISSN 1326-6004
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, January 2007

Abstract

Oceania, most notably Australia and New Zealand, has emerged as the region with the highest rate of consumption of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), including ecstasy, a disproportionately large share in relation to the population in the area. The illicit ATS trade in Oceania is of great concern to contemporary criminal justice and poses an imminent challenge to law enforcement agencies, governments, and the international community. This study examines the market for ATS in Oceania including Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, and the involvement of criminal organisations in that market. It explores contemporary patterns of ATS production, trafficking, and demand in the region, analyses the involvement of organised crime, and reviews current legislative frameworks - domestic and international - to penalise activities in the illicit ATS market, especially those relating to organised crime activities. The study focuses on the production, trafficking, importation, and consumption of ATS in Oceania, and is limited to synthetic drugs that are commonly classified as amphetamine-type stimulants, including amphetamine, methylamphetamine, MDMA, MDA, and MDEA. The study also covers precursor chemicals used in the manufacturing of ATS. Part one analyses current levels of production of ATS in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, the availability of and illicit trade in ATS precursors, the market factors of ATS production, and organised crime involvement in ATS production and precursor trading. The second part outlines contemporary patterns and levels of ATS trafficking and importation in Oceania, market factors, and organised crime involvement. Part three identifies current prevalence of ATS consumption in the region and examines the retail market and retail prices for these substances. The fourth part analyses existing domestic and international legal frameworks relevant to the criminalisation of the illicit, commercial ATS and ATS-precursor trade. This part outlines and examines relevant provisions under international legal instruments, their implementation into domestic laws of the countries in the region, and other relevant penal provisions under domestic law. The study concludes by highlighting some key indicators of the ATS trade in Oceania and developing a set of basic suggestions for policy change and law reform.