Drug use monitoring in Australia: 2006 annual report on drug use among police detainees


The Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program, established in 1999, is a quarterly collection of information from police detainees in seven sites (police states or watchhouses) across Australia. In 2006, the number of sites increased to nine. There are two parts to the information collected: a questionnaire, which is conducted with a trained interviewer independent from the police, and a urine sample, which is tested for six different classes of drugs. Information collected from the questionnaire includes basic demographic data, drug use history, drug market information, treatment history and information on prior contact with the criminal justice system. The nine DUMA sites represent a range of community configurations: three sites represent the metropolitan area of a major state capital; three cover a metropolitan city area; one the outer suburbs of a major state capital; another one a regional centre; and the last covers a major tourist and retirement destination. This report presents both self-report data from 4,555 participating detainees and urinalysis for 77% of these for 2006. It includes an overview of the characteristics of detainees at each site, including self-reported drug use, prior criminal behaviour and treatment history. In addition to tracking changes in local drug markets, DUMA collects additional information on key strategic issues in a timely manner. Since its inception a number of addendums have been run as part of the DUMA questionnaire. In 2006, the following different addendums were run at the sites: quarter one: amphetamines (all sites except Darwin) and alcohol (Darwin); quarter two: drug driving (all sites); quarter three: motives for offending (all sites); and quarter four: alcohol (Darwin, Adelaide, Elizabeth, East Perth) and mental health (Bankstown, Parramatta, Brisbane, Southport, Sunshine/Footscray). The collection of this information allows for the formation and implementation of better-informed policies, and can also serve to guide key stakeholders, such as law enforcement bodies, in future tactical, strategic and operational decision-making.