Illegal drugs

Illicit drugs
Illegal drug crime


What are the monetary returns of investing in programs that reduce demand for illicit drugs?

The aim of this study is to estimate the return on investment for demand reduction strategies targeting illicit drug use. The authors reviewed the literature to identify benefit–cost analysis studies (producing benefit–cost ratios) conducted on programs in Australia and overseas that have, at least in...

Minimising the harms from methamphetamine

Harmful methamphetamine use has become a serious and intractable health issue in Aotearoa New Zealand over the past 20 years. The paper begins by providing an overview of how methamphetamine is used, by whom and why, how big the market is, what the harms are...
Discussion paper

Needle and syringe programs in NSW: opportunities for innovation

This paper, produced by ACON, combines the expertise from staff who operate ACON’s needle and syringe programs with current research to provide seven policy recommendations that will innovate such programs.

Drug use monitoring in Australia: drug use among police detainees, 2021

Established in 1999 by the Australian government, the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program collects drug use and criminal justice information from police detainees at watch houses and police stations across Australia. This publication reports on data for 2021.

Drug trafficking in the Pacific Islands: the impact of transnational crime

The Pacific 'drug highway' has spilled over into domestic markets for illicit drug consumption and production in the Pacific Islands region. This analysis identifies the key trends and dynamics driving the drug market in the Pacific and the implications for societies, traditional power structures and...

Australian drug trends 2021: key findings from the national Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) interviews

The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) is an illicit drug monitoring system which has been conducted in all states and territories of Australia since 2003. In 2021, researchers have provided a suite of products with the most up-to-date findings from interviews conducted annually...

Sentencing for social supply of illicit drugs in Australia

In Australia, threshold quantities of illicit drugs act as an indicator of supply offences in distinguishing traffickers from users. This analysis maps out how current sentencing practices respond to offenders involved in ‘social supply’ and ‘minimally commercial supply’ who are charged with drug trafficking.

Minimising the harm of illicit drug use among young adults

Young adults (18-25 years) are the age-group most likely to use illicit drugs in Australia. But who’s most at risk? This research examines the evidence to identify the high-risk subgroups and behaviours most likely to benefit from harm reduction efforts, as well as the types...

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cannabis demand and supply in Australia

This study uses data from the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cannabis demand and supply in Australia.

Declines in methamphetamine supply and demand in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic

This study uses data from the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the methamphetamine market in Australia.

Drug use monitoring in Australia: drug use among police detainees, 2020

The Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program involves the routine collection of survey and urinalysis data from police detainees across Australia. This publication reports on data for 2020.

'High rollers': a study of criminal profits along Australia’s heroin and methamphetamine supply chains

This report uses existing quantitative and qualitative data to better understand the segmentation of Australia’s heroin and methamphetamine markets and the markets’ transnational connections. The authors also examine the profits made by criminal actors at each level of Australia’s vertically integrated illicit drug supply chains.

Impact of darknet market seizures on opioid availability

This report investigates the impact of darknet market closures (voluntary or exit scams) and law enforcement market seizures on the availability of fentanyl and other opioids.

Safeguarding the integrity of sport - the government response to the Wood Review

This report is the Australian government's response to the Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements (known as the Wood Review).

How and why vendors sell on cryptomarkets

Cryptomarkets represent a growing component of the illicit drugs trade. Australia is over-represented in the proportion of online vendors who use these platforms to reach drug consumers. This study found that vendors perceive less risk of police intervention when selling drugs online, and that the...

The long-term effect of the NSW Drug Court on recidivism

Treating drug-related offenders is far more effective than sending them to prison, according to this research. The researchers compared re-offending rates among Drug Court participants with offenders who had been deemed eligible for the Drug Court but not placed on it. Offenders were followed up...

The impact of arrest and seizure on drug crime and harms: a systematic review

Drawing on the Global Policing Database (GPD), this review assesses the impact of supplier arrests and seizures on drug crime, drug use, drug price, drug purity and drug harm outcomes.

Street-level drug law enforcement: an updated systematic review

This updated review uses the Global Policing Database (GPD) to capture evaluations of the impact of street-level law enforcement interventions on drug crime and drug-related calls-for-service. The GPD is an online searchable database designed to capture all published and unpublished experimental and quasi-experimental impact evaluations...

COVID-19 pandemic constricts methamphetamine supply in Perth

This study examines the methamphetamine market and prevalence of methamphetamine use in Perth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) submission to the inquiry into the use of cannabis in Victoria

This document forms the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service's (VALS) submission to the Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee Inquiry into the use of cannabis in Victoria (2020).

"Don't judge, and listen": Experiences of stigma and discrimination related to problematic alcohol and other drug use

This report is the outcome of research into the effect of stigma and discrimination on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a lived experience of alcohol and other drug use.

The relationship between drug price and purity and population level harm

This rapid review examines the relationship between price, purity and seven population level measures of drug-related harm and any differences across three drug types.

Review of the medically supervised injecting room

The Victorian government is trialling a medically supervised injecting room at the North Richmond Community Health site in Melbourne. The service was established for an initial two-year trial period, which will be extended for a further three years, based on the evidence gathered in the...

Enforcement of drug laws: refocusing on organized crime elites

This report provides an analysis of drug trafficking and its links with organised crime based on the most current evidence and with the support of experts. It exposes the failures of current policies in addressing deep-rooted issues that feed organised crime, levels of violence and...

How and where police detainees obtain methamphetamine

The findings in this report suggest detainees most commonly obtained methamphetamine through closed drug markets using social supply. However, detainees with more harmful patterns of use also commonly used semi-open markets.