National seizures and arrests

The seizure and arrest data presented in this section was provided by state and territory police services and the Australian Federal Police.

Number and weight of National illicit drug seizures

2007–08 to 2016–17

Number

The number of national illicit drug seizures decreased this reporting period, from a record 115,421 seizures in 2015–16 to 113,533 in 2016‑17.

National ATS, cannabis and heroin seizures decreased this reporting period, however the number of ATS and cannabis seizures reported in 2016‑17 are the second highest on record. The number of cocaine and other and unknown drug seizures increased in 2016‑17 and are the highest on record.

Weight

The weight of illicit drug seizures nationally increased this reporting period, from 21.0 tonnes in 2015–16 to a record 27.4 tonnes in 2016‑17.

The weight of ATS detected nationally decreased this reporting period, with the weight of heroin seized remaining relatively stable. The weight of cannabis, cocaine and other and unknown drugs seized nationally increased in 2016‑17, with the weight of cocaine seized this reporting period the highest on record.

National illicit drug seizures by drug type and reporting period (%)

2007–08 to 2016–17

Number

Weight

The proportion of national illicit drug seizures that each drug type accounts for varies by number and weight, and across reporting periods.

In 2016–17, cannabis seizures accounted for the greatest proportion of the number of national illicit drug seizures, followed by ATS, other and unknown, cocaine and heroin and other opioids.

In 2016–17, both cannabis and ATS accounted for the greatest proportion of the weight of illicit drugs seized nationally, followed by other and unknown, cocaine and heroin and other opioids.

Proportion of illicit drug seizures by drug type and jurisdiction (%)

2016–17

With the exception of South Australia where ATS accounted for the greatest proportion of the number of illicit drug seizures, cannabis accounted for the greatest proportion of the number of illicit drugs seized in all states and territories in 2016‑17.

Number and weight of national amphetamine-type stimulant seizures

2007–08 to 2016–17

Note: Amphetamines include amphetamine, methylamphetamine, dexamphetamine and amphetamines not elsewhere classified.

Amphetamines accounted for the greatest proportion of the number of national ATS seizures in 2016‑17, followed by MDMA and other ATS. Amphetamines also accounted for the greatest proportion of the weight seized this reporting period, followed by other ATS and MDMA.

Number of national illicit drug arrests by drug type

2007–08 to 2016–17

Consumer arrests account for the greatest proportion of national illicit drug arrests across all drug types, however the proportion attributed to them varies by drug type and reporting period.

National illicit drug arrests by consumer/provider status and reporting period (%)

2007–08 to 2016–17

Consumer

Provider

The proportion of arrests attributed to each drug type varies across consumer and provider status and reporting periods. While cannabis has accounted for the greatest proportion of both national consumer and provider arrests over the last decade, the proportion has decreased.

Proportion of illicit drug arrests, by drug type, in each state and territory (%)

2016–17

With the exception of Victoria where ATS accounted for the greatest proportion of illicit drug arrests, cannabis accounted for the greatest proportion of the number of illicit drugs arrests in all states and territories in 2016‑17.

National illicit drug arrests by gender (%)

2016–17

Males accounted for the majority of national drug arrests in 2016–17, with females accounting for less than one quarter of arrests. While the proportion of arrests varies across drug types, males consistently accounted for the greatest proportion of arrests, ranging from 73.0 per cent of national other and unknown arrests to 85.8 per cent of national cocaine arrests this reporting period.

National illicit drug arrests by recorded law enforcement action (%)

2016–17

The action taken by law enforcement against a person for suspected unlawful involvement in illicit drugs is influenced by a number of factors, including but not limited to which state or territory the incident occurs in, the drug type and quantity and related legislation/ regulation.

In 2016–17, summons accounted for the greatest proportion of national recorded law enforcement actions for illicit drugs, followed by arrest and charge and caution/diversion/infringement. The proportions vary by drug type, with arrest and charge accounting for the greatest proportion of national heroin and other opioid arrests, summons accounting for the greatest proportion of national steroid arrests and caution/ diversion/ infringements accounting for the greatest proportion of national cannabis arrests.

Number of national amphetamine-type stimulants arrests

2007–08 to 2016–17

Amphetamines continue to account for the greatest proportion of national ATS arrests, followed by MDMA and other ATS.