Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

Quick Facts
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Quick Facts



  • Prohibition of drugs has not prevented widespread use and has created a criminal run industry which corrupts law enforcement agencies. ("Economics Monitor", Access Economics October 1997)

  • The average age of first time heroin users has steadily declined and in 1997/98 was 17.5 years. (Source: Australian Illicit Drug Report 1997/98)

  • About 80% of those in prison are there for drug related offences.

  • When those addicted want help they are put on waiting lists.

  • In 1995 the turnover of illegal drugs were estimated to be worth $500 US billion world wide - the second most lucrative business in the world, following the arms trade. Australia's share of that turnover is $7 billion.

  • In 1995 tangible and intangible costs of misuse of illegal drugs was $1.8 billion. ("Drugs and our community", Report of Victorian Premiers' Drug Advisory Council, March 1996)

  • Seizure of drugs fails to capture about 90% of the drugs coming into the country.

  • 2,000 - 3,000 kilograms of heroin, with street value up to $3 billion, arrive in Australia each year.

  • 46% of Australians in 1998 had used an illicit drug, an increase of 6.7% from 1995. (Source: National Drug Strategy Household Survey 1998)

  • 55% of 17 year olds have used cannabis. (Source: Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria 1998)

  • The law has little effect on drug use. There is no significant difference in cannabis use between Australian states  where it is a criminal offence and states & territories where it is decriminalised.

  • Australian law enforcement agencies claim to aim to capture the 'Mr Bigs' but 7 out of 10 illegal drug arrests are of drug users. (Source: Australian Illicit Drug Report 1997/98)

  Revised 10-Apr-09