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Briefing paper

Trends in possession and use of narcotics and cocaine

Drug crime Recreational drugs Drug use Australia New South Wales
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apo-nid22909.pdf 3.89 MB

New figures indicate that use of narcotics (e.g. heroin) and cocaine is increasing, according to this Crime and Justice Statistics Bureau Brief. 

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research examined trends in arrests for narcotics and cocaine possession and overdoses on narcotics and cocaine between 1999 and 2009.

The number of arrests for narcotics use/possession and the number of opioid overdose incidents has doubled since 2006 but overall levels of both remain much lower than they were prior to the heroin shortage in 2000.

 The situation is different for cocaine. Arrests for cocaine use/possession and cocaine overdoses, are now at a 15 year high. National survey data also show a steep increase in self-reported use of cocaine.

Narcotics possession incidents were generally detected on streets and footpaths and at residential premises within Sydney’s CBD and in the Fairfield and Liverpool Local Government Areas.

Cocaine possession incidents were generally detected on streets and footpaths, and at licensed and residential premises, located in Sydney’s CBD and the Eastern Suburbs.

Narcotics and cocaine possession offenders tend to be males aged 20 to 39 years. Almost all offenders convicted of narcotics possession had prior convictions (93%) compared with less than half of those convicted of cocaine possession (49%).

Most offenders convicted of these offences in 2008 were issued with fines averaging $355 for narcotics possession and $406 for cocaine possession.

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