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
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)