The Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program surveys about 4,000 police detainees annually from sites around Australia about their drug usage. Eighty percent of those surveyed voluntarily provide a urine sample. Ecstasy (MDMA) is a relatively small but increasing component of the drug profile of police detainees. Approximately two percent of those surveyed across all sites in 2007 reported using MDMA in the previous 48 hours. Most drugs that police detainees reported taking corresponded reasonably well with urinalysis results (McGregor & Makkai 2003). The exception was MDMA, where a significant percentage of detainees who thought they had taken MDMA had no trace of it in their system. In 2007, 49 percent of self-reported MDMA users did not test positive to the drug (Adams et al. 2008). DUMA testing suggests that the most common substitute for MDMA is methylamphetamine; in 2007, 34 percent of police detainees who did not test positive to MDMA, but self-reported using the drug in the past 48 hours, tested positive to methylamphetamine. In previous years, this proportion has been more than half. A recent Australian Crime Commission report indicated that the horse tranquilliser, ketamine, may also be used as a MDMA substitute (ACC 2008).
Detainees self-reporting MDMA use in the past 48 hours who tested negative in urinalysis (percent) [see attached PDF for graph]
- Adams K, Sandy L, Smith L & Triglone B 2008. Drug use monitoring in Australia: 2007 annual report on drug use among police detainees. Research and public policy series no. 93. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology
- Australian Crime Commission (ACC) 2008. Illicit drug data report 2006-07. Canberra: ACC
- McGregor K & Makkai T 2003. Self-reported drug use: how prevalent is under-reporting? Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 260