Other and unknown drugs on the rise in Western Australia

Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Federal Police, Western Australia Police

Western Australia has reported an increase in the weight of drugs seized and arrests relating to other and unknown drugs according to a new report by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).

The Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16, released today, shows record numbers of national other and unknown not elsewhere classified drug seizures and arrests in 2015–16.

Minister for Justice, the Hon. Michael Keenan MP, launched the report alongside ACIC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Chris Dawson, in Sydney.

“In Western Australia, other and unknown not elsewhere classified drugs accounted for
38.3 per cent of the weight of illicit drugs seized and 23.2 per cent of illicit drug arrests—both of which are the highest proportion reported by any state or territory in 2015–16,” Mr Dawson said.

“Other and unknown not elsewhere classified drugs reflect illicit drug seizures and arrests that do not readily fall into any of the specified drug categories within the report. This may include anaesthetics, pharmaceuticals and new psychoactive substances.

This reporting period Western Australia also reported the greatest percentage increase in:

  • the number of cannabis seizures (12.3 per cent)
  • the number of hallucinogen seizures (42.3 per cent)
  • the weight of other opioids seized (1,580.0 per cent).

“The report highlights the continued vigilance of law enforcement in combating illicit drugs in Western Australia,” Mr Dawson said.

“Understanding trends and emerging issues in the illicit drug market, both nationally and at a state and territory level, provides the ACIC and our partners with an opportunity to shape the response to both demand and supply, particularly in high-use areas.”

Acting Western Australia (WA) Commissioner Gary Dreibergs said WA Police, with strong assistance from its Federal partners, is committing an unprecedented level of resourcing towards interrupting the supply of illicit drugs within WA.

“The WA community expects those who deal in, and seek to profit from, illicit drugs be targeted by law enforcement agencies and that’s exactly what we are doing,” Acting Commissioner Dreibergs said.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the Illicit Drug Data Report annually provides a valuable insight into the challenges faced by law enforcement.

“Drug seizures at our borders and those made on the streets by our state and territory counterparts indicate that Australia continues to be an attractive market for international organised crime syndicates,” Commissioner Colvin said.

“The AFP will continue working with local and international law enforcement agencies to disrupt and dismantle these syndicates. However, the entire Australian community needs to work together to examine how we can combat issues associated with demand for these substances.”

Australian Border Force (ABF) Acting Commissioner Michael Outram said the ABF has a pivotal role in preventing these dangerous and illicit substances from entering Australia.

“The numerous instances of record detections this reporting period serve as a reminder of the continued threat that illegal drugs pose on the Australian public,” Acting Commissioner Outram said.

“The prevalence of methylamphetamine and its precursors discovered at our borders follows a concerning trend over recent years. The ABF is working with domestic and international law enforcement agencies to combat this ruinous drug.”

The Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 is a statistical report which provides governments, law enforcement agencies and policy makers with a robust picture of the Australian illicit drug market. It brings together data from all state and territory police agencies, the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection/Australian Border Force, forensic laboratories and research centres.

“The statistics in the report will inform prioritisation and decision-making as we continue to discover, understand and respond to the threat and harm caused by illicit drugs,” Mr Dawson said.

The Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 is available online at www.acic.gov.au