Trends in alcohol and other drug use

Detainees who tested positive to illicit drugs at time of detention by drug type, 2007-2016 (%)

Note: The total number of detainees who provided urine samples varied each year. For total number of detainees who provided urine samples per year see Appendix Table 1.

The proportion of detainees who tested positive to any drug at time of detention has increased from 69 percent (n=1,226) in 2007 to 78 percent (n=825) in 2016.

The proportion of detainees who tested positive to methamphetamine doubled in the 10 year period to 2016. Methamphetamine surpassed cannabis as the most common drug detainees tested positive for in 2015 and 2016.

Forty percent (n=423) of detainees in 2016 tested positive to more than one drug. Seventy five percent (n=324) of multiple drug users tested positive to both cannabis and methamphetamine.

Detainees who tested positive to illicit drugs at time of detention by site and drug type, 2007-2016 (%)

Notes: Totals will not add to 100 percent as detainees could test positive for more than one drug. Data are not available for Bankstown in 2014 as urinalysis was not conducted. For total number of detainees who provided urine samples per year see Appendix Table 1.

The proportion of detainees that tested positive to any drug increased at the Bankstown, Brisbane and Perth DUMA sites in the 10 year period to 2016, although the extent of the increase varied.

Most detainees at the Perth (59%; n=231) and Brisbane (50%; n=203) sites tested positive for methamphetamine. Cannabis was the most common drug detected among detainees at the Adelaide (43%; n=86) and Bankstown (36%; n=24) sites.

Self-reported alcohol and other drug use in the 48 hours prior to detention by substance, 2012-2016 (%)

Notes: Totals will not add to 100 percent as detainees could test positive for more than one drug. For total number of detainees in interviewed see Appendix Table 2.

Alcohol and cannabis are the most common substances detainees self-reported using in the 48 hours prior to detention. In 2016, 28 percent of detainees (n=619) reported using alcohol and 24 percent (n=529) reported using cannabis compared with two percent of detainees who self-reported using heroin (n=42) or ecstasy (n=38).

The proportion of detainees who reported using methamphetamine in the 48 hours prior to detention increased from eight (n=309) to 22 percent (n=488) between 2012 and 2016.

Average standard drinks consumed by detainees by site, 2012-2016

Detainees who self-reported using alcohol also reported consuming large quantities of alcohol in the 24 hours before committing the offence for which they were detained. In 2016, detainees reported consuming an average of 20 standard drinks on their last occasion of drinking.

The average number of standard drinks consumed was higher among those who self-reported mixing drinks (average of 29 standard drinks) or drinking wine only (average of 28 standard drinks).