Posts Categorised: Drugs and Alcohol

Inquiry into drug law reform

Manly at Dusk/Flickr

“There is also growing recognition among governments and the community that greater balance between traditional law enforcement and health‑based responses will have a broader positive effect on the health and safety of communities. This was a driving factor of the Committee’s investigations and its suite of coordinated and innovative reform recommendations. These recommendations acknowledge that while people continue to use substances, whether illicit or pharmaceutical, more needs to be done to minimise the associated harms.”

Source: Parliament of Victoria. Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee (2018). Available from this link (open access).

Global systematic review of Indigenous community-led legal interventions to control alcohol


“The national and subnational governments of most developed nations have adopted cost-effective regulatory and legislative controls over alcohol supply and consumption with great success. However, there has been a lack of scrutiny of the effectiveness and appropriateness of these laws in shaping the health-related behaviours of Indigenous communities, who disproportionately experience alcohol-related harm. Further, such controls imposed unilaterally without Indigenous consultation have often been discriminatory and harmful in practice.”

Source: Muhunthan, J. (2017). BMJ Open and available from this link (open access).

The Unprecedented Opioid Epidemic: As Overdoses Become a Leading Cause of Death, Police, Sheriffs, and Health Agencies Must Step Up Their Response

Tree tails/M. Hardy

“Never has PERF worked on an issue more vexing and painful than the opioids crisis that the  United States is now facing. In just one year, 2016, nearly as many people died from opioid overdoses as all U.S. fatalities during the entire course of the Vietnam War. And despite the huge amount of hard work and thoughtful strategies that police chiefs and sheriffs have thrown at this problem over the last few years, the crisis has not yet peaked. It is still getting worse, according to federal statistics.”

Source: Police Executive Research Forum and available from this link (open access).


Wicked and less wicked problems: a typology and a contingency framework


Sunbaking/T. Fuller

“This paper addresses shortcomings in the scholarship about ‘wicked problems’, and suggests ways of tackling them. Firstly, accounts of these problems tend to ‘totalise’, regarding them as intractable masses of complexity, so conflict-prone and/or intractable that they defy definition and solution. By contrast, we put forward a more nuanced analysis, arguing that complex problems vary in the extent of their wickedness, via such dimensions as their cognitive complexity or the diversity and irreconcilability of the actors or institutions involved. We propose a typology of different forms of wicked problems.”

Source: Alford, J., & Head, B. W. (2017). Policy and Society, and available from this link (open access).

Can Australia respond to drugs more effectively and safely?


Ferns at Collins Beach

“This is the report of a day-long roundtable of 17 experts and practitioners held at the University of Sydney in September 2015 to consider drug law reform in Australia. Participants included retired judges, prosecutors, senior police, prison and parole administrators, drug law researchers and advocates. Discussion focused on ways Australia could develop safer and more effective illicit drugs policies.”

Source: Mick Palmer, Alex Wodak, Bob Douglas and Lyn Stephens (Eds.)(2017). Australia21 and available from this link (open access).

Alcohol management plans in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australian communities in Queensland



“In Australia, ‘Alcohol Management Plans’ (AMPs) provide the policy infrastructure for State and Commonwealth Governments to address problematic alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. We report community residents’ experiences of AMPs in 10 of Queensland’s 15 remote Indigenous communities.”

Source: Clough, A. (2017).  BMC Public Health, 17(1), and available from this link (open access).

Systematic review of Australian policing interventions to reduce alcohol-related violence


“Alcohol-related violence remains to be a health concern, and the oral and maxillofacial surgeons are routinely exposed to its impact on the victims and the healthcare system. At a community level, various policing interventions have been implemented to address this violent crime in and around licensed premises. Current study sought to examine the effectiveness of these interventions in Australia. Ten eligible studies, that evaluated the impact of 15 Australian policing interventions on reducing alcohol-related violence in the night-time economy, were included in this systematic review.”

Source: Liua, T., Ferris, J.,  Higginson, A. Lynhame, A. (2016).  Addictive Behaviors Reports, and available from this link (open access).

Criminal law and the effects of alcohol and other drugs: a national study of the significance of ‘intoxication’ in Australian legislation



“Recent years have seen intense media scrutiny, concerted policy discussion and significant law reform on the relationship between the consumption of alcohol (and other drugs) and the commission of criminal offences. Much of the debate has been dominated by the view that, particularly for crimes of violence, the state of ‘intoxication’ produced by the consumption of alcohol and other drugs (‘AOD’) should be regarded as an aggravating factor that adds to the seriousness of the harm done and warrants additional punishment. Some recent legislative reform measures have unambiguously embraced this position. As important as it is, treating intoxication as an aggravating factor is, in fact, only one of the ways in which Australian criminal law attaches significance to AOD consumption.

Source: Quilter, J., McNamara, L. J., Seear, K., & Room, R. (2016). UNSW Law Journal and available from this link (open access).

Illicit Drug Data Report

Manly rainbow/Flickr

“In the 2014–15 financial year, Australian law enforcement agencies made a record 105,862 national illicit drug seizures, weighing a total of 23.5 tonnes, with a record 133,926 national illicit drug arrests. For the first time, the IDDR includes data from wastewater analysis, gathered through the chemical analysis of sewerage water. Data on methylamphetamine, MDMA and cocaine was collected, indicating methylamphetamine use in the community has been increasing since 2009–10. The data obtained from wastewater analysis will provide law enforcement, policy, regulatory and health agencies with additional and more objective data in relation to the usage of methylamphetamine and other drugs.”

Source: Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and available from this link (open access).

The introduction of CCTV and associated changes in heroin purchase and injection settings in Footscray, Victoria, Australia

Manly at dusk/Flickr

‘In June 2011, closed-circuit television (CCTV) was introduced in Footscray (a suburb of Melbourne, Australia) to help deter street-based drug trading. We investigate whether there were subsequent shifts in the settings (e.g., street, house) in which heroin was purchased or injected by people who inject drugs.”

Source: Scott, N., Higgs, P., Caulkins, J. P., Aitken, C., Cogger, S., & Dietze, P. Journal of Experimental Criminology, and available from this link (subscription journal).