Drug Use Monitoring in Australia

Drug Use Monitoring in Australia

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Test positive – drug use

75% of detainees interviewed and drug tested by DUMA tested positive to at least one type of drug at time of detention.

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Percentage of detainees who tested positive by state: WA - 86%, Qld - 77% SA - 69%, NSW - 64%
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Self-reported use

In 2016, 24% of detainees self-reported using cannabis in the 48 hours before detention while 22% self-reported using methamphetamine. Only 2% reported using either heroin or ecstasy.

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24%

Cannabis
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22%

Meth amphetamine
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2%

Heroin or ecstasy
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Test positive: Drug type

Over half of detainees interviewed and drug tested by DUMA in 2016 tested positive to methamphetamine.

51% of detainees interviewed by DUMA tested positive to methamphetamine
45% of detainees interviewed by DUMA tested positive to cannabis
3% of detainees interviewed by DUMA tested positive to heroin
2% of detainees interviewed by DUMA tested positive to ecstasy

Alcohol consumption

Detainees in 2016 drank an average of 20 standard drinks on their last occasion of drinking.

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Beer: 12 standard drinks
Wine: 28 standard drinks
Spirits: 12 standard drinks
Mixed drinks: 29 standard drinks

Attribution to current detention

A fifth of detainees said alcohol contributed to their detention for a violent offence.

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28% of detainees attributed their current detention to methamphetamine use compared with 8% for cannabis use and 3% for heroin use.

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Drug use by Indigenous status

In 2016, Indigenous detainees were equally likely to test positive to cannabis (50%) or methamphetamine (47%). Non-Indigenous detainees were more likely to test positive for methamphetamine (52%) than cannabis (42%).

Methamphetamine

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47%

Indigenous

52%

Non-indigenous

Cannabis

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50%

Indigenous

42%

Non-indigenous

Detainee profiles

The majority of detainees in 2016 were male (83%), had a secondary-level education (57%), lived in stable housing (84%) and were unemployed (58%) at the time of detention in 2016.

Male: 83%

Male

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Secondary-level education

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Stable housing

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Unemployed

Most serious offence

84% of police detainees arrested for a property offence tested positive to at least one type of drug.

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Property

84%

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Drug

81%

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Traffic

81%

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Breach

77%

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Violent

74%

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DUI

71%

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Disorder

81%

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Other

70%

Contact with the criminal justice system

Detainees who tested positive to heroin were almost twice as likely to have served time in prison as detainees who tested positive to methamphetamine or cannabis.

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Glossary & appendix

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