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2012-13
ILLICIT DRUG
DATA REPORT
AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION

Correspondence should be addressed to:
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Crime Commission
PO Box 1936 Canberra City
ACT 2601
Telephone:
02 6243 6666 (from within Australia)
61 2 6243 6666 (international)
Facsimile:
02 6243 6687 (from within Australia)
61 2 6243 6687 (international)
Published April 2014
The data contained in this report is produced by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) with
the endorsement of the eight police commissioners in Australia and the ACC Board.
© Commonwealth of Australia 2014.

All material presented in this publication is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
Australia licence. For the avoidance of doubt, this means this licence only applies to material
as set out in this document. The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the
Creative Commons website www.creativecommons.org.
Use of the Coat of Arms
The terms under which the Coat of Arms can be used are detailed on the It’s an Honour
website www.itsanhonour.gov.au.
ISSN 2202-3925
Cover artwork depicts crystal methylamphetamine hydrochloride ‘ice’.

2012-13
ILLICIT DRUG
DATA REPORT
AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION

INTRODUCTION

IDDR 2012–13

FOREWORD
Illicit drugs affect every member of the
community, at all levels of society. They
have a profound and devastating impact
on individuals, families, communities,
economies and entire countries.

2

In order to respond to the global challenge
illicit drugs pose, a detailed understanding
of the marketplace is essential. The
Australian Crime Commission’s Illicit Drug
Data Report (IDDR) is a statistical report
which provides a national picture of the
illicit drug market. It compiles data from
a range of sources into one unique report
to inform our understanding and assist in
focusing our collective efforts to respond
to the issue.
Now in its 11th edition, the 2012–13
report paints a picture of a gravely serious
issue, with over 19 tonnes of illicit drugs
seized nationally in this reporting period
alone. National illicit drug seizures and
arrests were at record or decade highs
for nearly all drug types in this reporting
period. While disturbing, the figures also
demonstrate the continued vigilance
and achievements of law enforcement in
combating the illicit drug trade.
Organised crime remains an ever-present
pillar of the drug trade. Crime groups
thrive on the profits generated through
the illicit drug market and accordingly
continue to be a key focus of our response.
Illicit drug use in Australia, and the
profits gained from it, is directly linked to

AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION—ILLICIT DRUG DATA REPORT 2012–13

transnational organised crime groups that
are implicated in large-scale criminality
and corruption overseas.
The dangers of illicit drugs and their
significant health, anti-social and crimerelated implications are well known.
The entrenched and evolving market
for the production, distribution and use
of methylamphetamine, particularly
crystalline methylamphetamine
(commonly known as ‘ice’), is currently
a national concern. With its relative
accessibility, affordability and destructive
side-effects, crystal methylamphetamine is
emerging as a pandemic akin to the issue
of ‘crack’ cocaine in the United States.

INTRODUCTION

Central to addressing an issue of this scale
are holistic responses aimed at reducing
demand, supply and harm—the three
pillars of the National Drug Strategy. Illicit
drugs are not just a law enforcement
issue. A broader approach is required,
including cooperation, collaboration and
participation of a diverse range of sectors.
Through this collective approach we can
reduce the impact the illicit drug market
has on our community.
The latest version of the IDDR is more
detailed than ever before. For the first
time, the report includes forensic profiling
data of both border and domestic
methylamphetamine and MDMA seizures,
as well as profiling data of domestic heroin
seizures.

academia—for their vital contributions.
Without their continued support and
input, it would not be possible to
understand the complex and evolving illicit
drug market in Australia.

Paul Jevtovic APM
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Australian Crime Commission

3

The IDDR is an integral part of the arsenal
used to combat the threat of illicit drugs
including methylamphetamine. The report
provides governments, law enforcement
agencies, policy makers, academia and
interested stakeholders with a robust
picture of the Australian illicit drug market.
It informs prioritisation and decisionmaking to help to protect Australia against
the threat, harm and destruction caused
by illicit drugs.
The production of this publication is a
collective effort and I would like to take
this opportunity to express my gratitude
to all of our partners—including law
enforcement, forensic services, health and

AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION—ILLICIT DRUG DATA REPORT 2012–13

INTRODUCTION

IDDR 2012–13

CONTENTS

4

FOREWORD
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ABBREVIATIONS
INTRODUCTION
KEY POINTS

2
6
16
17
19
20

AMPHETAMINE-TYPE STIMULANTS

23

Key points
Main forms
International trends
Domestic trends
Domestic market indicators
National impact
References

23
24
27
29
39
51
53

CANNABIS

57

Key points
Main forms
International trends
Domestic trends
Domestic market indicators
National impact
References

57
58
60
62
65
71
72

HEROIN

75

Key points
Main forms
International trends
Domestic trends
Domestic market indicators
National impact
References

75
76
78
81
88
94
95

COCAINE

97

Key points
Main forms
International trends
Domestic trends
Domestic market indicators
National impact
References

AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION—ILLICIT DRUG DATA REPORT 2012–13

97
98
100
103
109
116
117

INTRODUCTION

OTHER DRUGS

119

Key points
Anabolic agents and selected hormones
Tryptamines
Anaesthetics
Pharmaceuticals
Drug analogues and new psychoactive substances
Other and unknown—not elsewhere classified
National impact
References

119
120
130
137
143
154
161
164
166

CLANDESTINE LABORATORIES AND PRECURSORS

175

Key points
Main forms
International trends
Domestic trends
Domestic market indicators
National impact
References

175
176
178
180
185
193
194

INITIATIVES

197

Key points
Introduction

197
198

STATE AND TERRITORY LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS AND INITIATIVES

203

Introduction
Legislative and regulatory amendments
State and territory initiatives

203
204
209

STATISTICS

217

Introduction
Counting methodology
Data sources
Limitations of the data
Jurisdictional issues
Explanatory notes
Arrest tables
Seizure tables
Purity tables
Price tables

217
218
219
221
224
227
230
236
238
248

5

AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION—ILLICIT DRUG DATA REPORT 2012–13

INTRODUCTION

IDDR 2012–13

EXECUTVE SUMMARY
The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) Illicit Drug Data Report 2012–13 provides a
snapshot of the Australian illicit drug market. The report combines illicit drug data from a
variety of sources including law enforcement, health and academia. The Illicit Drug Data
Report is the only report of its type in Australia and provides the important evidence
base to assist decision makers in the development of strategies to combat the threat
posed by illicit drugs.
There were numerous record detections at the Australian border in 2012–13. The
number of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS excluding MDMA), MDMA, cannabis,
cocaine, tryptamine, anaesthetic and performance and image enhancing drug (PIED)
detections are the highest on record, with the weight of ATS (excluding MDMA) and
heroin detections also at a record high. The number of ATS precursor (excluding MDMA)
detections at the Australian border is the highest reported in the last decade.

6

There were a record number of national illicit drug seizures and arrests reported in
2012–13. A record 86 918 national illicit drug seizures were reported in 2012–13, a
66.4 per cent increase on the 52 231 seizures reported in 2003–04. While the weight of
illicit drugs seized nationally decreased from the record 23.8 tonnes seized in 2011–12,
the 19.6 tonnes seized this reporting period is the second highest on record and a
75 per cent increase on the weight of illicit drugs seized in 2003–04. The number of
national illicit drug arrests has increased 27.2 per cent over the last decade, from 80 020
in 2003–04 to a record 101 749 in 2012–13.
Cannabis continues to dominate the Australian illicit drug market, with the number
of national cannabis seizures and arrests in 2012–13 the highest reported in the last
decade. While cannabis accounts for the majority of national seizures and arrests, ATS
continues to increase in prominence in the Australian market, with record national ATS
seizures (both number and weight) and arrests reported in 2012–13.
A record number of national cocaine seizures and arrests were reported in 2012–13,
with the weight of national cocaine and heroin seizures this reporting period the highest
reported in the last decade. There were a record number of national steroid seizures
and arrests this reporting period. There were a record number of national hallucinogen
arrests this reporting period, with the number of national hallucinogen seizures in
2012–13 the highest reported in the last decade.
While the number of clandestine laboratories detected nationally this reporting period
decreased from a record 809 laboratories in 2011–12, the 757 detections is the second
highest on record. The majority of clandestine laboratories continue to be detected in
residential areas, however there has been an increase in the number of detections in
commercial/industrial locations this reporting period.

AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION—ILLICIT DRUG DATA REPORT 2012–13

INTRODUCTION

Key findings for 2012–13:
ƒƒ the number of national illicit drug arrests and seizures are the highest on record
ƒƒ the number and weight of ATS (excluding MDMA) and the weight of heroin detections
at the Australian border are the highest on record
ƒƒ the number and weight of national ATS seizures are the highest on record
ƒƒ profiling1 of both border and national methylamphetamine seizures indicates
the predominance of methylamphetamine manufactured from ephedrine/
pseudoephedrine
ƒƒ a record number of cannabis detections were made at the Australian border, with
seeds continuing to account for the majority of detections
ƒƒ the number and weight of national cannabis seizures increased, with the number of
seizures the highest reported in the last decade
ƒƒ profiling2 of both border and national heroin seizures indicates South-East Asia as the
prominent source region
ƒƒ while there was a record number of cocaine detections at the Australian border,
the weight detected almost halved
ƒƒ profiling3 of cocaine border seizures indicates Colombia is the prominent source
country

7

ƒƒ while the weight of national steroid seizures decreased, the number of national
seizures and arrests continued to increase and are the highest on record
ƒƒ despite a decrease in the number of clandestine laboratories detected nationally, the
number detected is the second highest reported in the last decade.
The following charts provide an overview of the Australian illicit drug market in 2012–13.

ARRESTS, 2012–13

1
2
3

Profiling data is based on calendar years and the first six months of 2013.
Ibid.
Ibid.

AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION—ILLICIT DRUG DATA REPORT 2012–13


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