This report provides a statistical overview of illicit drug arrests and seizures as well as profiling the current situation, national impact and the emerging trends and threats of illicit drugs in Australia.
The report brings together illicit drug data from a variety of sources including law enforcement, health and academia. This is the only report of its type in Australia and provides an important evidence base to assist decision-makers in developing strategies to combat the threat posed by illicit drugs.
The Australian illicit drug market continued to be dominated by cannabis, which accounted for around 70 per cent of the number of seizures and arrests in 2010–11. Other prominent drug types for arrests and seizures during this period were amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and ‘other and unknown’.
Over 9.3 tonnes of illicit drugs were seized nationally in 2010–11, representing a 19 per cent increase from the 7.8 tonnes in 2009–10. The number of national illicit drug seizures also increased, from 63 670 in 2009–10 to 69 595 in 2010–11, and is the highest reported in the last decade.
In 2010–11, there were 84 738 illicit drug related arrests, the second highest reported in the last decade. Drug types that have recorded the most substantial increase in arrests in the last decade are ATS and ‘other and unknown’, increasing by 62 per cent and 48 per cent respectively.
Key findings from the Illicit Drug Data Report 2010–11:
• The number of ATS (excluding MDMA) detections at the Australian border increased by 60 per cent in 2010–11 and is the highest recorded in the last decade.
• Cannabis remains the dominant illicit drug in Australia in terms of arrests, seizures and use.
• Cannabis and steroids were the only illicit drug types to report an increase in arrests in 2010–11 and both reported the highest number of arrests in the last decade.
• The weight of heroin detections at the Australian border increased by 241 per cent in 2010–11 and is the highest recorded since 2001–02.
• Profiling of heroin seizures at the Australian border indicate that South-East Asia accounted for the greatest proportion of bulk weight analysed, increasing from 48.2 per cent in 2009 to 93.3 per cent in 2010.
• The weight of national heroin and other opioids seizures increased by 428 per cent in 2010–11 and is the highest in the last decade.
• The weight of national cocaine seizures increased by 67.7 per cent in 2010–11 and is the third highest recorded in the last decade.
• The number of national ‘other and unknown’ drug seizures is the highest recorded in the last decade.
• National steroid seizures and arrests increased in 2010–11 and are now the highest recorded in the last decade.
• In 2010–11, a record 703 clandestine laboratories were detected in Australia, with Queensland continuing to report the highest number of detections.