Reason for not buying drugs

Of 4,232 adult detainees in police custody who responded to questions on local drug markets, 49 percent (n=2,058) reported that they had purchased drugs in the past month by paying cash. Of these, 584 (14%) said there was an occasion in the past month when they had tried to purchase drugs but were not successful. The most common reason across all drug types was that the dealers did not have the particular drugs sought, and this was most commonly the case for cannabis and cocaine. Across all drug types, around one-quarter of the detainees said that there was no dealer available. Detainees trying to purchase heroin were more likely to report police activity as the reason for not purchasing the drug compared with other drug types; this reflects the market dynamics for heroin, which is more likely to be purchased from the street (see Mouzos et al. 2007). Poor quality was also an important reason, particularly for heroin (21%) and meth/amphetamine (20%). Detainees trying to purchase ecstasy were more likely than other unsuccessful purchasers to indicate that no dealer was available (31%) or the price was too high (8%).

Reason provided by adult detainees for not buying drugs, 2006 (percent) [see attached PDF for graph]

Further reading

  • Mouzos J, et al. 2007. Drug use monitoring in Australia: 2006 annual report on drug use among police detainees. Research and public policy series no. 75. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology