Self-reported drug use

The Australian Institute of Criminology has recently released a paper that examines the extent to which participants in the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program under-report their recent drug use. Detainees who tested positive for drugs were more likely to self-report use in the past 30 days than in the last 2 to 3 days. Detainees with the most to lose were more likely to under-report their drug use. For example, older detainees living in their own home and employed full time are more likely to under-report their drug use than younger detainees who are not employed full time and living in a home not their own. Additionally, detainees who accurately report their recent drug use are more likely to be detained for a property or drug offence than detainees who under-report their drug use. The data suggest that the more serious offenders and/or offenders with a history of criminal behaviour were more likely to report their recent drug use accurately.

Comparing self-reported drug use for those detainees testing positive [see attached PDF for graph]


  • McGregor, K, & Makkai, T, 2003, "Self-reported Drug Use: How Prevalent is Under-reporting?", Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, no. 260, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.