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Drugs - Royal Commission of Inquiry - Report - Book A - Parts I to V


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The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

AUSTRALIAN ROYAL C O M M ISSIO N OF INQ UIRY INTO DRUGS

Report

Book A: Parts I to V

21 December 1979

Presented by Command and ordered to be printed 18 March 1980

Parliamentary Paper No. 25/1980

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The Government of The Commonwealth of Australia and the Governments of the States of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania

Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs Commissioner: The Hon. Mr Justice E. S. Williams

Report

Book A: Parts I— V

Australian Government Publishing Service Canberra 1980

(c) Commonwealth of Australia 1980

ISBN for this volume: 0 642 04676 X

ISBN for set of v o l u m e s : 0 642 04778 2

P u b l isher's note

In order to make this vo l u m e a v a ilable as rapidly and econ o m i c a l l y

as possible the text has be e n reproduced from originals prepared as c o mputer print-out.

The publishers recognise that this me t h o d has its limitations and regret any lapses in typographical quality.

Printed by C. J. T hompson, Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra

AUSTRALIAN ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO DRUGS

imissioner: The Hon. Mr. Justice E.S. Williams Box 659 G. P. O.

it tary: G. H. Giltnour Brisbane, Qld. 4001

Telephone (07) 221 7672

21 December 1979

Your Excellency,

In accordance with Letters Patent dated 13 October 1977, I have the honour to present to you the Report of the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs. It is identical with the Report of the Australian Royal Commission of

Inquiry into Drugs to the Governments of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

For reasons given in the Report, the Commission' s task is not yet complete. I therefore retain the Letters Patent until the completion.

Yours sincerely,

E. S. Williams) Commissioner

His Excellency Sir Zelman Cowen, A. K. , G. C. M. G. , K. St. J. , Q. C. , Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief, Government House,

CANBERRA. A. C. T. 2600.

AUSTRALIAN ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO DRUGS

nmissioner: The Hon. Mr. Justice E.S. Williams Box 659 G. P. O.

etary: G. H. Gilmour Brisbane, Qld. 4001

Telephone (07) 221 7672

21 December 1979

Your Excellency,

In accordance with Letters Patent dated 27 October 1977, I have the honour to present to you the Report of the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs. It is identical with the Report of the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry

into Drugs to the Governments of the Commonwealth of Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

For reasons given in the Report, the Commission' s task is not yet complete. I therefore retain the Letters Patent until the completion.

Yours sincerely,

l. S. Williams) Commissioner

His Excellency Sir James Ramsay, K. C. M. G. , C. B. E. , D. S. C. , Governor of Queensland, Government House,

BRISBANE. Q. 4000.

AUSTRALIAN ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO DRUGS

"imissioner: The Hon. Mr. Justice E.S. Williams

setaiy: G.H. Gilmour

Box 659 G.P.O. Brisbane, Qld. 4001 Telephone (07) 221 7672

21 December 1979

Your Excellency,

In accordance with Letters Patent dated 15 November 1977, I have the honour to present to you the Report of the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs. It is identical with the

Report of the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs to the Governments of the Commonwealth of Australia, Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

For reasons given in the Report, the Commission's task is not yet complete. I therefore retain the Letters Patent until the completion.

Yours sincerely,

9

His Excellency the Honourable Sir Henry Winneke, K.C.M.G., K.C.V.O., O.B.E., K.St.J., Q.C., Governor of Victoria, Government House, MELBOURNE. Vic. 3000.

:

AUSTRALIAN ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO DRUGS

Timissioner: The Hon. Mr. Justice E.S. Williams

seiaiy: G.H. Gilmour Brisbane, Qld. 4001

Box 659 G.P.O.

Telephone (07) 221 7672

21 December 1979

Your Excellency

In accordance with Letters Patent dated 2 November 1977, I have the honour to present to you the Report of the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs. It is identical with the

Report of the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs to the Governments of the Commonwealth of Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania.

For reasons given in the Report, the Commission's task is not yet complete. I therefore retain the Letters Patent until the completion.

His Excellency Air Chief Marshal Sir Wallace Kyle, G.C.B., K.C.V.O., C.B.E., D.S.O., D.S.C., K.St.J., Governor of Western Australia,

Government House, PERTH. W .A. 6000.

Yours sincerely,

(E.S. Williams) Commissioner

Report

BOOK A

Part I Introduction

II Drugs of Abuse and their Uses

III Patterns of Drug Use

IV The Factual Terms of Reference

V Legislation

BOOK B

Part VI Organisations wi t h a Direct Enforcement Role

VII Organisations wi t h an Indirect Enforcement Role

VIII Coastal Surveillance

IX International Initiatives

BOOK C

Part X Treatment

XI Drug Education

XII Drug Use Controls

XIII Improving Some Existing Controls

BOOK D

Part XIV A National Strategy on Drug Abuse

List of Recommendations

y

iii

1v

Contents

PART I Introduction

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

PART II

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

Chaptér

Chapter

H

2

3

4

History and Conduct of the Commission

The Terms of Reference of the Commission

Discussion of the Terms of Reference

Matters Incidental to the Inquiry and Preparation of the Report

Drugs of Abuse and their Effects

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Alcohol

Ethyl Alcohol

Methyl Alcohol

Nicotine

Analgesics

Salicylates

Phenacetin and Paracetamol

Analgesic Combinations and Powders

Central Nervous System Stimulants

Cocaine

Amphetamines

Methylphenidate (Ritalin)

The Xanthines: Caffeine, Theobromine

Appetite Suppressant Drugs

Central Nervous System Depressants

The Barbiturates

Non-Barbiturate Hypnotics and Sedatives

Tranquillisers

Narcotics - Opiates and Synthetic Opiates

Narcotic Analgesics

Specific Narcotics

Cannabis

V

Page

A1

A}

A7

A9

>

>4

A29

AIS

A57

A6]

Page

Chapter 8 Hall u c i n o g e n s

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

Me s c a l i n e

M u shrooms and Psilocybin

P h e n c yclidine

A67

Chapter 9 V o latile Solvents A71

P ART III Patterns of Drug Use A73

Chapter 1 Legal Use of Drugs

Tobacco (Nicotine)

Alcohol

Over the Counter Drugs

P r e s c ription Drugs

Other Substances Abused

An n e x I I I . 1

A75

Chapter 2 Illegal Use of Drugs

The Drugs Illegally Used

The Groups in the Community Most

Involved

Stages of Illegal Drug Use

Annex III.2

A99

Chapter 3 Why People Use Drugs A115

E x p erimentation

Peer Group Pressure

Mood A l tering Influences

Family Influences

Cultural Influence

Availability

Advertising

Religion

vi

Chapter 4 Profiles of Illegal Drug Users

A Number of Case Studies (A to Q)

Chapter 5 The Connection between Illegal Drug Use

and other Criminal Activities

Chapter 6 Multiple Drug Use

Defining M u ltiple Drug Use

The Australian Situation

Overseas Trends

General

PART IV The Factual Terms of Reference

A139

A157

A163

A173

Chapter 1 Production of Illegal Drugs A175

Introduction

The Opiates

Cocaine

Hallucinogens

Cannabis

Amphetamines

Methaqualone

General

Chapter 2 Methods of Importation of Illegal Drugs A197

Financing of Illegal Drug Importations

Corruption of Public Officials

Personal Importation

Importation by Mail

Importation in Cargo

General

Chapter 3 Extent of Importation of Illegal Drugs A217

Detection and Seizure of Illegally Imported Drugs

Recording of Drug Seizures

Drug Seizures Recorded by the Narcotics Bureau

Drug Importations State by State

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Indirect Indicators of the Extent of Illegal Importation

P ossible Extent of Illegal Importation

E x p o r t a t i o n of Illegal Drugs

Extent of Illegal Exportation

Met h o d s of Exportation

General

T r a f ficking in Illegal Drugs

Drugs Trafficked

'Cutting' and Packaging

Prices

D i s t r ibution Arrangements

M ethods and Places of Trafficking

Trafficking as a Business

Extent of Trafficking

Term of Reference 'C ' The Extent of (i) Illegal Use of Drugs

(ii) Illegal Diversion of Drugs (iii) M i s u s e of Drugs so far as is

Relevant to the Use of Drugs

Extent of Illegal Use of Drugs

Extent of Illegal Diversion of Drugs

Extent of the Misuse of Drugs so far as

is Relevant to the Illegal Use of Drugs

The Organised Basis of Drug-related Crime

What is Meant by 'Organised Basis'?

Investigation of the 'Organised Basis' of Crime

A Royal Commission Initiative

The Importance of Sydney in R elation to

Illegal Drugs

Criminal Activities Related to Drugs

Obtaining Convictions

Patterns of Association Between Criminal Elements and Groups

Does a Single Individual or Group

Control Illegal Drugs in Australia?

Page

A237

A245

A287

A 3 2 1

viii

Page

Involvement of Ethnic Groups

Associations Between Illegal Drug-related Activities and Other Illegal Activities

Financial Repercussions of Drug-related

Crime

Conclusions

PART V Legislation

Chapter 1 International Conventions

Chapter 2 Legislative Powers and Jurisdiction

Introduction

Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction

Commonwealth-State Powers

Chapter 3 Commonwealth Legislation (Offences and Penalties)

The Customs Act

The Narcotic Drugs Act 1967

The Psychotropic Substances Act 1976

Acts Dealing w i t h Drug Trafficking Incidentally

Chapter 4 State and Territory Legislation

(Offences and Penalties)

Special Provisions for Drugs of Addiction

Classification of Drugs

Drugs Covered by the Criminal Pro­ visions

Trafficking

Aiding, Abetting, etc., and Company Offences

Forged Prescriptions and Similar Matters

Controls on Prescribing and Treatment

Chapter 5 Interception of Communications

Chapter 6 Searches and Seizures

Introduction

A355

A357

A3 61

A369

A377

A421

A427

ix

Page

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

P A R T VI

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

Searches P u rsuant to J u d i c i a l l y Issued

War r a n t s

Searches Wit h o u t a S pecific War r a n t

Inspections

7 Arrest, Bail and Con f i s c a t i o n

Powers of Arrest

Bail

For f e i t u r e and C o n f i scation

8 C o m pulsory Treatment

L e g i s l a t i o n in Tasmania

Other J urisdictions

9 Health Leg i s l a t i o n

Commonwealth

States and Territory L e g i s l a t i o n

10 Motor Tra f f i c and Industrial L e g i s l a t i o n

Organisations w i t h a Direct E n f o r c e m e n t Role * 1 2

Department of Business and Con s u m e r Affairs

1 Bureau of Customs

Drug-related Responsibilities

General Customs R e s ponsibilities

O r g a n isation

2 'The P r e ventive S e r v i c e 1

Organisation and Role

Personnel M a n agement

The Inspection Concept

Measures to Detect C o r ruption

Preventive Procedures

Recent Operational Changes

Special Units and Activities

Relations w i t h the Narcotics Bu r e a u

Staff Levels and Deployment

Operational Effectiveness and E f f iciency

A439

A449

A451

A4 6 3

B1

B3

B19

x

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

The N a r cotics Bureau

H istory and Organisation

CASOS and CIRB

Objectives and Role

Resources

M ethods of Operation

The Narcotics Bureau : Criticisms and Responses

'Public Servants and Not Policemen'

'Too N a r r o w a Legislative Base and Too

S m a l l '

'Failure of Co-operation and La c k of Feedback Information'

'Narrow Career Structure'

'Poor Leadership and Central Office Control, w i t h Insufficient Regional A u t o n o m y '

'Unwarranted Claims for C r e d i t '

'Poor Training and Inexperience'

Seizures and Statistics

Management Review Report

Annex V I .1

Conclusions and Recommendations

Bureau of Customs and 'The Preventive Service'

Narcotics Bureau

Recommendations

Police Forces

A u s tralian Federal Police

Conclusions and Recommendations

State Police Forces

Strength and Structure of Police Forces

State and Territory Drug L a w Enforcement

Police Methods of Operation

Other M atters Relevant to Police Activities

Police Corruption

Co-operation

B51

B69

Page

B141

B173

B183

xi

Po l i c e Criticisms of Leg i s l a t i o n and Its I m plementation

Conclusions and Recommendations

Page

Health Departments

C hapter 8 Commonwealth Department of He a l t h B241

Controls Over the Legal Importation and E x p o r t a t i o n of Drugs

Reg u l a t i o n of M a n u facture of Narcotic Drugs

R e g ulation of Dispensing and Sale of Drugs

The Drugs of Dependence M o n itoring System

Conclusions

Chapter 9 State Health Authorities B249

Conclusions and Recommendations

P ART VII Organisations w i t h an Indirect Enforcement Role B261

Chapter 1 Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs B263

Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 2 Department of Foreign Affairs B273

Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 3 Department of Transport B281

Conclusions

Chapter 4 Department of Defence B287

Conclusions

Chapter 5 Scientific Laboratories B295

Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 6 Fisheries Protection Organisations B313

Commonwealth Role

State and Territory Fisheries Legislation

State and Territory Marine Surveillance Resources

CSIRO

Fishermen as Coast Watchers

xii

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

PART VIII

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

The 200 Nautical Mi l e Australian Fishing

Zone

Conclusions and Recommendations

7 Quarantine, Flora and Fauna Protection

Organisations

Quarantine Protection

Fauna and Flora Protection

Conclusions and Recommendations

8 Australian Taxation Office

9 Department of the Treasury and the Reserve

Bank of Australia

10 Postal and Telecommunications Authorities

Coastal Surveillance 1 2 3

1 The Need for Coastal Surveillance

2 Unauthorised Intrusions

Importations of Illicit Drugs by Light Aircraft

Importations of Illicit Drugs by Boat

Importations of Illicit Drugs by 1 Sea D r o p '

Frequency and Location of Intrusions

3 Resources Available for Surveillance

Coastal Air Sea Operations Support Group (CASOS)

Customs Patrol Vehicles

Department of Defence

Royal Australian Air Force

Royal Australian Navy

Australian Army

Department of Transport

Merchant Shipping

The Fishing Industry

Aircraft Pilots

Meteorological Radar

B327

B339

B343

B347

B353

B355

B361

B375

Page

xiii

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

PART IX

Chapter

Chapter

Chapter

State Organisations

Volunteer Coastal Patrols

4 Suggested Acquisitions for Surveillance

Aircraft

Patrol Boats

Coastguard

Radar Installations

Remote Electronic Sensors

Customs Launches

'C o a s t w a t c h ' Organisation

Other Acquisitions

5 Other Suggestions Relevant to Surveillance

6 Conclusions and Recommendations

Importations by Light Aircraft

Importations by Small Boats

'Sea Drops'

Extent of Importation

Effectiveness of Surveillance

Reasons for Shortcomings

Recent Upgrading of Resources

Recommendations

International Initiatives 1 2 3

1 Activities of International Organisations

United Nations Organisations

Other International Organisations

2 Efforts in 'Production' and ' T ransit'

Countries

'Production' Countries

'Transit' Countries

3 Australian Efforts

Contributions to UNFDAC

Bilateral Assistance

Other Activities

B417

Page

B429

B433

B445

B447

B453

B457

xiv

Page

Suggestions for Change

Chapter 4 Effectiveness of International Efforts B463

Crop Substitution

Suppression of Trade

Chapter 5 Conclusions and Recommendations B469

Conclusions

Recommendations

PART X Treatment Cl

Chapter 1 Institutions Offering Treatment and Their C3

Funding

Facilities in the States and Territories

Annex X. 1

Annex X. 2

Chapter 2 Approaches to Treatment C19

An Overview

Residential Programs, Isolation, etc.

Withdrawal

Opiate Maintenance in Australia, and Some

General Assessments

The ' British System'

Counselling and Confrontation

The Role of Private Medical Practitioners

Alternative Forms of Therapy

Chapter 3 Evaluation of Success C43

Criteria

Rates of Success

Measurement of Success

Chapter 4 Present Role of the Criminal Justice System C47

Some General Observations

The New South Wales Diversionary Program

Chapter 5 Conclusions and Recommendations C57

Conclusions

Recommendations

xv

PART XI Drug E d u cation

Page

C73

Chapter 1 Objectives

Aus t r a l i a n Philosophy

Other Views

Overseas Experiences

Broad Guidelines and Concepts

C74

Chapter 2 A u s tralian Programs

C o m m o nwealth Program

State and Territory Programs

N on-Government Organisations

' L e g a l ' Drug Use Education

C85

Chapter 3 Target Groups

General Public Groups

Occupation Groups

Other Groups

C115

Chapter 4 Role of the M e d i a and Advertising

Role of the Media

A d v e rtising

C125

Chapter 5 Evaluation of Success C135

Chapter 6 Conclusions and Recommendations

Conclusions

Recommendations

C141

PART XII Drug Use Controls C147

Chapter 1 General Considerations

The Background to Controls

Existing Control Standards

Liberty and Drug Controls

C149

Chapter 2 Alcohol C157

Federal Controls

State Controls

xvi

Chapter 3 Nicotine

Commonwealth Controls

State Controls

Chapter 4 Analgesics

Commonwealth Controls

State Controls

Advertising

Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 5 Heroin

The Debate Concerning Relaxation of

Controls

Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 6 Methaqualone

The Use and Abuse of Methaqualone

Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 7 Pentazocine

Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 8 Methadone

International Controls

Commonwealth Controls

State Controls

Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 9 Cannabis

Cannabis and Health

Cannabis and Society

Should Legislation Be Changed?

Policy Options

Conclusions and Recommendations

PART XIII Improving Some Existing Controls

C165

Page

C169

C177

C201

C207

C211

C215

C271

Chapter 1 Drug Detector Dogs C273

Extent of Use

Selection and Training

Effectiveness

xvii

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

D o g Training in Australia

Conclusions and Recommendations

U l t rasound Techniques

U l t rasound and its Properties

Me d i c a l U l t r asound in Australia

The Equipment for Ultrasonic E x a m i nations for Drugs

The Effectiveness of U l t r asound in Drug Detection

P e r f ormance of an Ultrasonic Examination to Detect Drugs

The Safety of Ultrasound

Conclusions and Recommendations

Forensic Laboratories

A u s tralian Attitudes

Conclusions and Recommendations

Forged Prescriptions

F r equency of Prescription Forgery

Me t h o d s Employed by Forgers

Security of Prescription Pads

Other M ethods of Preventing P r e s c ription Forgery

A Recent Initiative : Special P r e s c ription Pads for Schedule 8 Drugs

Conclusions and Recommendations

Financial Controls

Financial Aspects of the Illegal Drug Trade

Controls in the United States

Aus t r a l i a n Controls

Conclusions and Recommendations

Drugs in the Post

Recommendations

Page

C299

C309

C339

C365

C379

xviii

Chapter 7 Interception of Communications

Arguments for and against Interception

Controls on Interception Powers

Availability of Interception Devices

Chapter 8 Task Forces

Overseas Experience

The Joint Task Force

Imp1emen ta tion

No Short-term Expectations

General Application

C385

Page

C395

PART X I V A N ational Strategy on Drug Abuse D1

Chapter 1 The Nature and Size of the Problem of D3

Drug Abuse

Chapter 2 Outlining the Strategy D17

Chapter 3 A U niform Drug Trafficking Act D29

Chapter 4 A National System of Criminal Drug D35

Intelligence

Chapter 5 Drugs of Dependence Acts --- Commonwealth, D49

State and Territory Legislation on Drug

Abuse

Chapter 6 Drug Information Centres --- Statistical D59

Shortcomings and a Means of Overcoming Them

Chapter 7 Community Drug Liaison Committees D81

Chapter 8 The Future D85

List of Commission's Recommendations D89

xix

XX

Opium poppies: flowers and seed capsules

1. Drug detector dogs (see Part VI): U.S. Customs Australian sheepdog ‘T y \ lop demonstration dog at the training centre fo r drug detector dogs at Front Royal, Virginia, demonstrating a positive aggressive response to narcotic odour in a package on a conveyor belt. 2. Drug detector dogs (see Part VI): U.S. Customs detector dog at Honolulu responding

positively to a mailbag during screening o f mail. 3. Drug detector dogs (see Part VI): U.S. Customs detector dogs and handler screening bus passengers' baggage at Blaine on the U.S. I Canadian border. The dog responds positively to a white suitcase. 4. U.S. Customs drug detector dog screening baggage fo r the presence o f drugs at hono­

lulu.

(All photographs by Chief Preventive Officer I. A. Foster o f the Australian Bureau o f Customs.)

M ethods o f illegal importation (see Part IV ): packages o f cannabis hidden in a false-bottom ed suitcase received as unaccompanied baggage at Adelaide (.Narcotics Bureau, Department o f Business and Consumer Affairs; Confidential Exhibit 96)

M ethods o f illegal production (see Part IV ): aerial and ground photographs o f a cannabis plantation at M t Toole-Be-W ong, Victoria. This platitation was well concealed and could be detected only fro m the air (Victoria Police photograph; Open E xhibit 176)

M ethods o f illegal production {see Part IV ): an amphetamine laboratory set up with simple laboratory glassware and other readily obtained equipment {Depart­ ment o f Business and Consumer Affairs; Open Exhibition 2)

M ethods o f illegal importation (see Part IV ): a corset containing packages o f heroin, worn by a courier (D epartm ent o f Business and Consumer A ffairs; Open E xhibit 2)

M ethods o f illegal importation (see Part IV ): condoms containing cannabis oil sw allow edfor concealment inside the body (Departm ent o f Business and Consumer Affairs; Open E xhibit 2)

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M ethods o f illegal importation (see Part IV ): packages o f heroin inside a toy hovercraft sent by Parcels Post (Department o f Business and Consumer Affairs; Open Exhibit 2)

LSD and certain abused medicinal drugs

Flow of LSD and certain abused medicinal drugs

M ethods o f illegal importation (see Part IV ): cannabis (Thai sticks) concealed inside an amplifier. Fourteen packages were hidden in this item o f electrical equipment (D epartment o f Business and Consumer A ffairs; Open E xhibit 2)

M ethods o f illegal importation {see Parts I V and V III): flotation gear and signalling devices {above) used in connection with a sea drop o f cannabis in the fo rm o f Thai sticks {below) {Department o f Business and Consumer Affairs; Open Exhibit 2)

'

M ethods o f illegal importation (see Part IV ): cannabis resin discovered in sealed cans o f pickles im ported fro m Lebanon (D epartm ent o f Business and Consumer Affairs; Open E xhibit 2)

Methods o f illegal importation (see Part IV ): cannabis (Thai sticks) concealed in car tyre. This tyre could be used normally without any indication that it held packages o f drugs (Department o f Business and Consumer Affairs; Open E xhibit 2)

M ethods o f illegal importation (see Part IV ): heroin concealed inside a toy animal. Such a toy m ight be carried through Custom s by a child (D epartm ent o f Business and Consumer Affairs; Open E xhibit 2)

Coastal surveillance (see Part V III): a deserted airstrip in the Northern Territory showing signs o f recent use and drums o f fu e l alongside the runway (R A A F photograph)

Organised crime (see Part I V) : firearm s, ammunition, false vehicle registration plates and other items discovered in a police raid in Queensland made in con­ nection with drugs and other illegal activities ( Queensland State Police; Confidential Exhibit 71)

A Cannabis sativa plant. This specimen is immature; a mature plant could reach a height o f 10-12 feet.

Part I

Introduction

Part I Introduction

Chapter 1 .

Chapter 2 „

C h apter 3.

H i s t o r y a n d C o n d u c t o f t h e C o m m i s s i o n

T h e T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e o f th e C o m m i s s i o n

D i s c u s s i o n o f the T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e

C h a p t e r 4. M a t t e r s I n c i d e n t a l to th e I n q u i r y a n d

P r e p a r a t i o n o f th e R e p o r t

This P a r t d e a l s w i t h the g e n e s i s a n d d e v e l o p m e n t o f the

C o m m i s s i o n ' s R e p o r t .

C h a p t e r 1 r e c o u n t s b r i e f l y t h e h i s t o r y o f the C o m m i s s i o n ,

giv e s s o m e s t a t i s t i c a l m a t e r i a l r e l a t i n g to i t s w o r k a n d

s h o r t l y r e c o u n t s the s t e p s it t o o k to d i s c h a r g e i t s o b l i g a t i o n

to r e p o r t on th e m a t t e r s s u b m i t t e d in the T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e .

C h a p t e r 2 s e t s o u t the T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e c o n t a i n e d in

the f i v e C o m m i s s i o n s w h i c h i s s u e d . T h e G o v e r n m e n t o f the

C o m m o n w e a l t h o f A u s t r a l i a a n d t h e G o v e r n m e n t s o f t h e S t a t e s

of V i c t o r i a , Q u e e n s l a n d , W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a a n d T a s m a n i a

i s s u e d C o m m i s s i o n s w h i c h d i f f e r e d in a n u m b e r o f r e s p e c t s b u t

the T e r m s of R e f e r e n c e c o n t a i n e d in t h o s e C o m m i s s i o n s a r e

i d e n t i c a l . T h e f u l l t e x t o f th e C o m m i s s i o n s is n o t s e t o u t

as t h e i m p o r t a n t p a r t s o f the C o m m i s s i o n s a r e the i d e n t i c a l

T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e .

C h a p t e r 3 d i s c u s s e s the m e a n i n g a n d a m b i t of the T e r m s o f

R e f e r e n c e . In d o i n g so, it f o r e s h a d o w s to some e x t e n t h o w

they w i l l be a d d r e s s e d in the R e p o r t .

C h a p t e r 4 c o n t a i n s a n u m b e r o f p a r t i c u l a r m a t t e r s r e l e v a n t

to the C o m m i s s i o n ' s w o r k . It is b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e y f u r n i s h a

n e c e s s a r y b a c k g r o u n d f o r the r e a d e r . A s t h e t o p i c s d e a l t w i t h

r a n g e f r o m t h e C o m m i s s i o n ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h th e N e w S o u t h

W a l e s a n d S o u t h A u s t r a l i a n R o y a l C o m m i s s i o n s , w h o s e T e r m s o f

R e f e r e n c e o v e r l a p p e d to s o m e e x t e n t t h o s e o f t h i s C o m m i s s i o n ,

to the t r e a t m e n t t h i s C o m m i s s i o n h a s a c c o r d e d c o n f i d e n t i a l

e v i d e n c e it h a s r e c e i v e d , it is o b v i o u s l y n o t p r a c t i c a l to

s u m m a r i s e the C h a p t e r .

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Chapter 1 History and Conduct of the Commission

Establishment of the Commission

On 5 October 1977 the Prime Minister made a statement in the House of

Representatives in which he announced that the Government had completed arrangements to establish a National Royal Commission into Drugs. The

Royal Commission was to be constituted by Mr Justice Edward Straiten

Williams of the Queensland Supreme Court. In the course of his

statement the Prime Minister said 'The Government believes this to be a

most important step as it is clear from all accounts that the drug

problem extends right across Australia and is not confined to any one

State' .

The Prime Minister advised that the States of Victoria, Tasmania,

Western Australia and Queensland had agreed to the establishment of a

National Royal Commission and to the terms of reference proposed for

such a Commission. The procedure would be that the Commonwealth would

establish a Commonwealth Royal Commission and those States agreeing to support the National Royal Commission would take steps to appoint the

Commonwealth Royal Commissioner to head identical inquiries under State legislation. Discussions had been held, he said, with New South Wales

and South Australia with the object of promoting co-operation and co­ ordination with the existing drug inquiries in each of those States, and negotiations were still proceeding with those States with regard to the national inquiry.

The Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs was

established by Letters Patent dated 13 October 1977 issued by the

Governor-General. Letters Patent, incorporating identical terms of

reference, were issued to Mr Justice E. S. Williams, by the Governor of

Queensland (27 October), the Governor of Tasmania (28 October), the

Lieutenant-Governor of Western Australia (2 November) and the Governor of Victoria (13 November). In the event, New South Wales and South

Australia did not formally participate in the national inquiry although, as indicated below, a measure of co-operation was received from these

States. In addition, the Commission's work was assisted by the cordial

relations and mutual co-operation which were established with the two

State drug commissions.

Preparations for Hearings

Immediately upon its establishment, the Commission actively set

about inviting submissions from all persons and organisations in the

community with knowledge, information or views relevant to the

Commission's Terms of Reference.

Individual letters were addressed to Federal and State Ministers, Members of the several Parliaments, Members of the Legislative

Assemblies in the Territories, and the presiding officers of local

government authorities in all States.

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Prior to the commencement of hearings the Commissioner visited each of the capital cities. He made personal calls upon Federal Ministers

responsible for departments, the functions of which were particularly relevant to the Commission's Terms of R e f e r e n c e . A similar course was

followed with the Premier and relevant Ministers in each of the

p a r t i cipating States. Calls were also made upon senior members of the

jud i c i a r y and Commissioners of Police.

The Commissioner and Senior Counsel assisting the Commission gave

numerous p r e s s , radio and television interviews with the object of

encouraging the widest possible response from all sections of the

community.

The Commission's main office was situated in Brisbane. Local 'shop

f r o n t ' offices were set up in prominent locations in each of the State

capitals and in Canberra and Darwin. The locations, functions and

telephone numbers of these offices were widely advertised. At each

office a 'local officer' of the Commission was available to assist the

public by answering inquiries and by assisting people who wished to give information to the Commission. A comprehensive campaign of press

advertisements p r eceded each public hearing of the Commission.

The Commission approached m a n y persons and organisations seeking

e v i d e n c e , based on their known or reputed knowledge or expertise in drug related a r e a s . A systematic screening of the major newspapers and other media elicited a large number of other potential sources of information. The staff of the Commission provided assistance to many intending

witnesses in the preparation of written statements of evidence.

Hearings of the Commission opened in Canberra on 17 November 1977.

Up to 6 N o vember 1979 the Commission had sat on a total of 152 d a y s , in

the following centres:

The number of witnesses who have given evidence to the Commission

either by appearing in person and/or by presentation of submissions or

other documents approximates 2000.

The evidence is recorded in 24 372 pages of transcript (81 bound

volumes). Of these 24 372 pages of transcript, 10 420 pages record

Hearings

Canberra Perth Hobart

Launceston Brisbane Melbourne Darwin Adelaide Sydney

13 7 7 1

74 16 6 6 22

Evidence

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evidence given confidentially. A total of 684 open exhibits (41 000

pages) and 369 confidential exhibits (14 000 pages) have been tendered.

A number of sitting days in Brisbane were wholly engaged in

incorporating documentary material into the transcript or in receiving exhibits without the necessity of any witnesses being called.

Inspections

From time to t i m e , both prior to and in the course of its h e a r i n g s ,

the Commission inspected a number of establishments and organisations engaged in activities relevant to the Terms of R e f e r e n c e . These

included law e n f o r c e m e n t , e d u c a t i o n , treatment and rehabilitation

organisations and e s t a b l i s h m e n t s . The Commissioner and counsel

assisting took the opportunity on the occasion of such inspections to

discuss relevant matters with those engaged in the actual activities.

In addition the Commission saw and heard a number of f i l m s , video tapes,

slides and photographs dealing with a variety of matters relevant to its Terms of R e f e r e n c e .

Overseas Visits

In October 1977, prior to the receipt of his Commissions, the

Commissioner took the opportunity of having discussions in London with officers of the Home Office and of Her Majesty's Customs having

responsibility for drug law enforcement and the monitoring of the use of d r u g s .

In M a y 1978, Mr Geoffrey Miller, one of the junior counsel assisting

the Commission, while in the United Kingdom had discussions with

authorities responsible for the treatment of heroin addicts and

inspected a number of establishments engaged in such treatment. He also undertook an extensive examination of Customs arrangements at Heathrow Airport, London.

In July/August 1978 the Commissioner, accompanied by Senior C o u n s e l , visited the A m e r i c a s . That visit included Chile, Argentina, B r a z i l ,

Peru, M e x i c o , the United States and Canada. Meetings were arranged with and discussions had with officers with responsibilities in the areas of law e n f o r c e m e n t , t r e a t m e n t , rehabilitation and education and a number of establishments and localities were visited and inspected. In December

1978 the Commissioner, in the course of a visit to Hong Kong, had

extensive discussions there with authorities responsible in the areas of law enforcement, treatment, rehabilitation and e d u c a t i o n . A number of inspections of facilities such as forensic l a b o r a t o r i e s , drug addict

registration control and treatment facilities were carried out. The

Commissioner and Senior Counsel visited South East Asia in March/April 1979, the visit embracing S i n g a p o r e , T h a i l a n d , B u r m a , Indonesia and

Malaysia. They there had discussions with persons engaged in law

e n f o r c e m e n t , treatment, rehabilitation and education and inspected

various facilities and localities.

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In Ma y 1979, Mr Martin Moynihan, one of the junior counsel assisting

the C o m m i s s i o n , v isited the West Coast of the United States where he had

p a r t icular regard to law enforcement organisation and methods for

dealing with organised c r i m e .

During the course of the Commission the C o m m i ssioner had the

opportunity of m eeting and having discussions with a number of visitors

to Australia with particular interest or expertise relevant to the

Commission's Terms of Reference.

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Chapter 2 The Terms of Reference of the Commission

To inquire into and report on the following matters relating to

drugs:

(a) the extent of, and the methods used in

(i) the illegal importation of drugs;

(ii) the illegal exportation of drugs;

(iii) the illegal production of drugs;

and

(iv) the illegal trafficking in drugs;

(b) the places where drugs mentioned in paragraph (a) are produced or

from which they are obtained and the places to which those drugs are

s e n t ;

(c) the extent to which

(i) drugs are illegally used;

(ii) drugs lawfully obtained are diverted to illegal trafficking or illegal uses; or

(iii) drugs are misused in so far as such misuse is relevant to the illegal use of drugs;

(d) the extent (if any) to which the illegal activities mentioned in

paragraph (a) or the illegal use or the diversion mentioned in

paragraph (c) are engaged in, directly or indirectly, by persons who engage, on an organised basis, in other illegal activities, whether or not related to drugs;

(e) the adequacy of existing laws (including the appropriateness of the penalties) and of existing law enforcement (including arrangements for co-operation between law enforcement agencies) in relation to the prohibition, restriction or control of the importation,

exportation, production, possession, supply or use of or trafficking in, drugs; and

(f) whether new laws should be enacted or other measures taken

(including the taking of initiatives for the making or revision of

international agreements) to remedy any inadequacies found to exist under paragraph ( e).

For the purposes of this Inquiry:

(g) the expression 'drug' means a narcotic or psychotropic substance and includes every drug or substance specified in any of the schedules

A7

to the Single Convention on N arcotic Drugs or the C o n vention on

Psychotropic Substances;

(h) a reference to a drug includes a reference to an article or

substance containing a d r u g ;

(i) a reference to the pro d u c t i o n of a drug includes a reference to the

manufacture of a drug b y any means and also includes a reference to

the cultivation or p r o duction of any plant or substance from which a

drug is capable of being derived; and

(j) a reference to the importation or exportation of, or to trafficking

in, a drug includes a reference to the importation or exportation

of, or to trafficking in, a plant or substance referred to in

paragraph (i) or of a seed from wh i c h such a plant can be

c u l t i v a t e d .

To the extent that alcohol ma y be regarded as a narcotic substance

to have regard to it only in so far as it is n e cessary to do so for the

purpose of establishing the extent of the illegal use, or of the m i s u s e ,

of other drugs in accordance with paragraph ( c ) .

The Commission is authorised to conduct its inquiry into the matters m e ntioned in paragraphs (a) to (f) above in combination with any inquiry

into the same matters, or into any other matters relating to d r u g s , as

directed or authorised b y any Commission or Commissions issued, or in

pursuance of any order or appointment made, by any Governor of a State.

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Chapter 3 Discussion of the Terms of Reference

The Letters Patent require an inquiry and report on six main matters

paragraphed (a) to (f). These six paragraphs are concisely expressed

and in some aspects are sub-divided further. It is desirable to

consider the meaning of these Terms of Reference by paragraph and to

discuss shortly some difficulties that have been encountered in

reporting upon them.

Term (a): 'the extent of, and the methods used in

(i) the illegal importation of drugs;

(ii) the illegal exportation of dru g s ;

(iii) the illegal production of drugs; and

(iv) the illegal trafficking in drugs;'

The inquiry necessary is into two aspects of four activities. The

activities are those of illegal importation, exportation, production and trafficking in drugs. Little difficulty arises in the meaning of each

of these four w o r d s .

'Importation' is defined in the Shorter Oxford Dictionary as: 'The action of importing goods, e t c . from abroad; opposite to exportation.

Bringing in, introduction.' The only difficulty that arises is that the existence of four State Commissions in identical terms might suggest

that in a State Commission the words 'importation' and 'exportation'

relate to the bringing in to or sending out of that State rather than

into or out of Australia as a whole. However this seems a pedantic

approach, especially when it is remembered that the four State

Commissions issued subsequently to the Federal Commission. Importation and exportation in this report are therefore taken to refer to bringing

drugs into or taking drugs out of Australia.

'Production' is: 'The action of producing; the fact or condition of being produced; an act of producing. That which is produced; a thing

that results from any action, process, or effort'.

It is noted that in its ordinary meaning, 'production', as used in

this paragraph, will encompass any action or process or effort which

results in the making of an illegal drug.

The verb 'to traffic' means 'To carry on trade, to trade, to buy and

sell; to have commercial dealings with any one; to deal for a commodity. Occ a s . , To resort to a place for the purpose of trade. In a disparaging

sense, or said of dealing considered improper. To be concerned to busy

or exercise oneself (in some matter). To deal, intrigue, conspire (with someone, in, for, or to do something); to practise.' A trafficker is

A9

defined by the S horter Oxford Dic t i o n a r y as 'one who is engaged in

traffic or trade; a trader, merchant, d e a l e r . ' The dictionary notes

that since 1785 the word 1 trafficker' has be e n used with an opprobrious

f o r c e .

If one regarded, as seems reasonable, importation, exportation and p r o d uction as elements of usual trading, a trafficker could be defined

as a trader in drugs irrespective of whe t h e r he produces the goods in

which he deals or wh e t h e r he obtains them from another s o u r c e . It is of

course possible that a person could engage in the activities of

importation and e x p o rtation as an employee or otherwise not as a

principal trading in the goods he p h y sically imports or exports. It is

also possible that a pe r s o n could be engaged in the pro d u c t i o n of drugs

only, selling his p roduce to a trader, and never trade himself.

The aspects of these activities which are to be reported upon are

the 'extent of' and the 'methods used in'. Both of these aspects

present great difficulty; the activities inquired into are illegal and there is obvious d i f f iculty in obtaining reliable information which

covers the entire field of such illegal activities.

A quantitative assessment must be made to report on the extent of

these illegal activities. It is of course impossible to turn to any

officially maintained set of statistics or records for this purpose.

Law enforcement authorities m aintain statistics relating to seizures, arrests, prosecutions and convictions. These are of some assistance.

It was theoretically p o ssible for the C o m mission to use its po w e r of

coercion b y calling large numbers of people with a vi e w to making its

own table of statistics. However, had the C o m m ission sought to identify all persons engaged in the illegal drug activities and then to endeavour to obtain from them information upon the size and nature of their

o p e r a t i o n s , it is clear that many years wo u l d have elapsed before a

report was concluded. Even then it must be suspected that the

information would have been incomplete as new people would from time to

time have entered into these activities. The Commission therefore

adopted a compromise approach of endeavouring to examine some operations only in depth. The assessment has therefore be e n based upon a number of

sources, none of wh i c h could be regarded as wholly satisfactory; for

this reason the assessment is not so objectively based as if it had been

one made of legal and open activities.

The other aspect of the illegal activities upon which a report is

required is the methods used for these activities. Here the Commission

is able to rely upon evidence which shows what methods have been used

when offenders have been convicted or when seizures of drugs have been

made. There is no doubt that methods are continually changing and for

this reason it is prudent also to consider methods which m a y be used, or

indeed ma y have been used even though law enforcement activities have

not demonstrated the use of such methods to date.

A10

Term ( b ) : 'The places where drugs mentioned in p a r a g r a p h (a)

are produced or from which they are obtained and the places to

wh i c h those drugs are s e n t ; '

This question is s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d . The places in question of course

are not limited to places inside Australia as will appear from the

report.

Term ( c ) : 'The extent to wh i c h

(i) drugs are illegally used;

(ii) drugs lawfully obtained are diverted to illegal

trafficking or illegal uses; or

(iii) drugs are m isused insofar as such misuse is relevant

to the illegal use of drugs;'

Three questions are po s e d h e r e , but they are not n e c e ssarily inter­

related.

The first question seeks to discover the extent to w h i c h drugs are

used contrary to law. It is impossible to run through the list of drugs

the subject of the two international conventions and discuss the illegal use of each drug. The evidence before the Commission does not establish

that all of these drugs are illegally used in Australia. It is proposed

to report upon this Term b y limiting the report to an assessment of the

extent to which drugs referred to in the evidence as the subject of not

infrequent illegal use are in fact used illegally. It is material to

point out that the source of illegality for all the activities mentioned in the Terms of Reference is the statute law of the Commonwealth of

Australia or of the States of Australia. It therefore will be desirable

to set out at some length this legislation. It will also be n e c essary

to have regard to the international conventions wh i c h seek to control

the use of d r u g s . For the purpose of this question regard mu s t be paid

to the footnote to the Terms of Reference:

To the extent that alcohol m a y be regarded as a narcotic

substance to have regard to it only in so far as it is

necessary to do so for the purpose of establishing the extent

of the illegal u s e , or of the m i s u s e , of other drugs in

accordance with p a ragraph ( c ) .

The concept of 'illegal u s e ' occurs in each of the three questions

under this Term of Reference whilst that of 'm i s u s e ' occurs only in the

third question under this Term. Accordingly what follows here regarding alcohol must be borne in mind when the other two questions under this

Term are considered.

A l l

Alcohol must be regarded only insofar as it is n e c essary to do so

for the purpose of establishing the extent to which drugs other than

alcohol are illegally u s e d . There are obviously some difficulties in

construing Term of Reference (c) because of the introduction for the

first time of alcohol. It seems hard to do more, when answering the

questions in Term ( c ) , than to have regard to alcohol for the purpose of

considering what connection there may be b etween the use of alcohol and

the extent of the illegal use of other drugs.

Evidence shows people are reluctant accurately to account for their consumption of legal drugs so it is not surprising that it is difficult

to get accurate information on their consumption of illegal drugs.

There are no comprehensive and u niform statistics in Australia to which

recourse could be made to answer this q u e s t i o n . One turns again to the

records of enforcement authorities on seizures of drugs and on arrests

for drug offences or drug-related o f f e n c e s . Were sufficient statistics kept, drug-related deaths and statistics on the incidence of serum

hepa.titis might be used as some indicator of the extent of illegal use.

The Commission heard evidence, m o s t l y during in camera sessions, from a large number of persons who had used or were using drugs illegally.

There have been a number of surveys of parts of the population done, but

it is difficult to obtain much more than trends from these surveys for a

number of reasons which will be discussed later. The result again is

that one must lack confidence in the accuracy of any assessment that

could be made upon the material p r esently available in Australia.

The second q u estion predicates that drugs are in the lawful

p o s s ession or custody of someone and they are then diverted to a use

which is i l l e g a l . That use will be as an article of illegal commerce

and ultimately of illegal consumption. As it will later appear, drugs

available on prescription can only be legally used by the pe r s o n to whom

the prescription is made out; it is not illegal for that per s o n to

misuse or abuse the drug by using it inconsistently with the treatment

for which it was p r e s c r i b e d . H owever if such a person sells or gives

his prescribed drugs to another person then he is illegally dealing in

drugs and the person who receives and consumes the drug is illegally

using it. This is one example. The question is a multiple one because

many persons may have legal possession of drugs the subject of legal

c o n t r o l s - - m a n u f a c t u r e r s , importers, wholesalers, pharmacists, hospitals, n u r s e s , medical practitioners, veterinary scientists, dentists and so on. At some time or another most of the population would, as persons

undergoing medical treatment, have had lawful p o s session of drugs which could be converted to an unlawful u s e . The question encompasses the

extent to which children might steal their grandmother's tranquillisers for distribution among their fellows, as well as the extent to which

large stocks of drugs might be stolen from warehouses for illegal

distribution. Enough has been said to show that it will be impossible

to answer this question with any confidence that the quantitative

assessment will be accurate.

The third question requires establishment of some definition for

'misuse'. The conventional words are 'use', ' misuse' and 'abuse'. One

of the meanings given for the verb 'abuse' in the Shorter Oxford

Dictionary is 'to m i s u s e '. The definition is 'To disuse. To misuse; to

A 1 2

take a ba d advantage of. To misrepresent; to adulterate. To make false

pretensions. To misuse any one's confidence; to impose upon him. r e f l .

and p a s s . To be deceived. To i l l - u s e . To violate. To wrong with

words; to m a l i g n . '

'Misuse' 'To use or employ w ro n g l y or improperly; to misapply. To

maltreat, ill-use. To violate. To misconduct oneself. To speak evil

of; to revile, d e r i d e . To d e c e i v e .' Dr C. P. V. E v a n s , Deputy

Director-General, Commonwealth Department of Health, said: 'It is

doubtful if there is any value in distinguishing between " u s e " , "misuse" and "abuse".' This may be so but it is necessary for the purpose of the

Report to hit on some definition of 'misuse'. The most certain meaning

of 'misuse' would be 'the use of drugs obtained on prescription b y the

person for whom they were prescribed in a manner not in accordance with

the instruction given for their use'. This probably covers the case of

excessive use of drugs where the person obtains several prescriptions

from several doctors. It does not cover the use of non-prescribed

d r u g s , that is over-the-counter d r u g s , nor the use of other substances

used for their drug effects, such as the sniffing of volatile solvents.

Reference to the definition of 'drug' which appears in p a r agraph (g)

does not assist to narrow the definition of 'misuse' as volatile

solvents would be a drug within that definition of drug. It seems

necessary to define ' misuse' for the purpose of this question as meaning 'the use of a drug for a purpose contrary to the m e d ically prescribd

purpose of use or of a substance not popularly considered as a drug for

an effect upon the mind and m o o d '. Again, alcohol must be considered

for the purpose of this question. A report is also required then upon

the extent to which there is a connection between the use of alcohol and

the use of drugs for purposes which are not the usual or medically

prescribed purposes for their use and the illegal use of drugs.

Term ( d ) : 'The extent (if any) to which the illegal activities

mentioned in paragraph (a) or the illegal use or the diversion

mentioned in paragraph (c) are engaged in, directly or

indirectly, by persons who engage, on an organised basis, in

other illegal activities, whether or not related to drugs;'

This question asks to what extent do persons who engage on an

organised basis in other illegal activities, whether or not related to

drugs, engage in the activities of:

- illegally importing drugs - illegally exporting drugs - illegally producing drugs - illegally trafficking in drugs - illegally using drugs

- illegally d iverting drugs.

For the purpose of this question it seems legitimate to collect all

these illegal activities except 'using' under the head of 'trafficking' in d r u g s . So e x p r e s s e d , the question is directed to the extent that

people engaged in organised criminal activities also engage in illegal drug trafficking and illegal drug u s e .

A 1 3

Terms of R e f erence (a) (b) (c) and (d) are not susceptible to a

discrete answer to each question. This is because factual material

relevant to one question is so often relevant to another question or

other questions. After considerable experimentation it was demonstrated that the report on these Terms of Reference would be more clear if the

questions they raise were considered under the headings:

Pro d u c t i o n of illegal drugs

Methods of importation of illegal drugs

Extent of importation of illegal drugs

Exp o r t a t i o n of illegal drugs: methods and extent

Trafficking in illegal drugs

The extent (i) of illegal use of drugs

(ii) of illegal diversion of drugs (iii) of misuse of drugs as far as is

relevant to the illegal use of drugs

The Organised Basis of Drug-related Crime

Under these headings the Terms of Reference have be e n shown in Part

IV of this Report.

Term (e ) : 'The adequacy of existing laws (including the

appropriateness of the penalties) and of existing law

enforcement (including arrangements for co-operation between law enforcement agencies) in relation to the prohibition,

restriction or control of the importation, exportation,

production, possession, supply or use of or trafficking in,

d r u g s ;'

There is no limitation in the Commission given by the Governor-

General -in- Council wh i c h would make this Term and the following Term

relate only to laws of the Commonwealth. The fact that there are also

four State Commissions in identical terms makes it clear that the

legislation of at least those four States must be considered. In New

South Wales and South Australia there are State Commissions wi t h terms

of reference not wholly dissimilar and it is expected that they will

make recommendations in relation to the laws of those two States. It

nevertheless s e e m s , on a proper construction of this Term of R e f e r e n c e , that this Commission should also examine the laws of New South Wales and

South Australia so far as they may be relevant to the matters raised in

this Term of Reference. It is clearly essential to deal with all law

enforcement agencies in Australia in considering the adequacy of

existing l a w - e n f o r c e m e n t .

Term of Reference (e) however does contain within it one problem

which the Commission was called upon to resolve at an early p oint in its

proceedings. The term is undoubtedly heavily orientated to enforcement

A 14

but the submission was made to the Commission that it did not deal

exclusively with e n f o r c e m e n t . 1 The adequacy of existing laws in

relation to the--- restriction or control of the use o f---drugs'

clearly raised, the Commission was urged, a consideration of laws

dealing with treatment of drug users and the education of the community

generally and parts of it in particular regarding drug use. Government

agencies both Commonwealth and State made extensive submissions to the Commission in relation to this construction of Term of Reference ( e ) .

This construction is supported by Term (f) wh i c h asks not only whether

new laws should be enacted but also whether other measures should be

taken to remedy any inadequacy in existing laws which the Commission

believes to exist.

The Commissioner ruled that the wider construction was the correct

one. Three reasons moved him to rule this way:

* This construction conforms more with the words expressly used.

* Discussion of drug abuse over recent years in Australia and overseas

had highlighted that drug abuse control was not exclusively a matter for the criminal law and Terms of Reference wh i c h were intended to

restrict the Commission simply to an examination of the criminal law and its enforcement could easily have expressed this intention.

* In addition statements made by the Prime Minister and State Premiers

in announcing the Royal Commission had made it clear that the

Governments expected a report on drug abuse.

Term (f) : 'Whether new laws should be enacted or other measures

taken (including the taking of initiatives for the making or

revision of international agr e e m e n t s ) to remedy any

inadequacies found to exist under paragraph ( e ) .1

Again, this Term of Reference is quite s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d . It is only

necessary to note that the 'other measures' which may be taken are

extremely wide as they include but are not co-extensive with the taking

of international initiatives.

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A 16

Chapter 4 Matters Incidental to the Inquiry and Preparation of the Report In the conduct of the inquiry and the preparation of the Report, a

number of incidental matters have arisen concerning which some

explanatory comment is necessary.

Reporting Arrangements

Major Report

This Report is the major report of the Commission. It is addressed

to the commissioning governments, namely the Commonwealth Government and the Governments of the States of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. By agreement with the Government of the Northern

Territory, which has achieved an autonomous status since the

Commonwealth issued its Letters Patent, the Report is also addressed to that Government.

The Commission has seen it as necessary to take a national ---and,

where appropriate, international -- view. In many areas relevant to the Commission's inquiries there are of course significant State

differences, and where these occur they have been recognised and

acknowledged in the Report. The Prime Minister's announcement of the

establishment of the Commission, the Commission's Terms of Reference, the issuing of commissions by five Governments and the receipt of

evidence from all States, together with the character of the issues

which emerged as the Commission proceeded, all combined to impel the

Commission to take a broad, national perspective.

Although the Report is substantial in size, it has been possible to

include within its pages no more than an indication of the main thrust

of evidence received on any topic sufficient to provide a background

which will enable the reader to follow the Commission's conclusions and recommendations. In order to facilitate so far as possible access to

the detail of the open evidence received by the Commission,

consideration is currently being given to the possibility of making

available for public release in due course a microfiche version of the

open transcript of evidence and of selected open exhibits. For obvious

reasons, a similar course cannot be followed in respect of the

confidential evidence received. The more important confidential

evidence is summarised in this Report.

This Report will be presented to the participating governments in

five parts one of which is to be confidential. The Report will be later

typeset, printed in bulk and published, without the confidential

component. This Report will be followed by a volume summarising the

detail of the legislation which the Commission has outlined and

recommended. It is regretted that time constraints have not permitted

an index to accompany this Report to the Governments but it is hoped

that the printed Report will contain the index presently in course of

compilaton. The Commission will publish a comprehensive list describing

A 1 7

witnesses and exhibits to allow the interested person to obtain with its

assistance a pic t u r e of the evidence given to the C o m mission better than

that obtainable from the open transcript alone.

. Interim Report

On 18 S e ptember 1979 the C o m m ission p r e sented to the Commonwealth

Government an interim report on the Narcotics Bureau. That report was

pre p a r e d in response to a request dated 7 August 1979 b y the Prime

Min i s t e r which had been authorised b y the Governor-General. The report

consisted of 13 pages of conclusions and recommendations supported by

some 154 pages of appendices.

As the interim report dealt solely with a single Commonwealth

agency, it went only to the Governor-General on behalf of the

Commonwealth. In p r e s e n t i n g it, the Commissioner expressed a preference that the report be treated as confidential. The desire that it be so

treated was based on the fact that it cited confidential evidence

received with clear assurances of confidential treatment. This also

permitted the making of frank criticisms to an extent not desirable in a

public report.

The C o m m o nwealth Government acceded to the Commission's suggestion regarding the c o nfidentiality of the report. Subsequently, however,

arrangements were made with the Commission's concurrence to table in the C o m m o nwealth Par l i a m e n t an edited version of the report pr o p e r (though

not the appendices). The editing involved only the d e letion of

references to the appendices.

. Other Special Reports

On 20 November 1979 the Queensland Government formally requested the Commission to give p r i o r i t y to consideration of allegations that certain Members of the State Parliament and officers of the Queensland Police

Force have been involved in illegal drug trade. As this ma t t e r was

clearly within its Terms of R e f e r e n c e , the Commission signified its

willingness to investigate the allegations and report to the Queensland G o v e r n m e n t . The Commission will present a report to the Government on

the ma t t e r as soon as p o s s i b l e .

From the time of its e s t a b l i s h m e n t , the Commission has recognised

the need to consider separate reports to be presented to individual

Governments on matters of p a r ticular concern to them. The C o m mission is

currently reviewing the evidence received by it to determine whether

there is a need for any such r e p o r t s .

Urgency

A lthough the ve r y broad Terms of Reference of the Commission have

meant that its public hearings have been necessarily protracted, every

endeavour has been made to evaluate the evidence and prepare this Report

A 1 8

as quickly as p o s s i b l e . A certain urgency is given to the situation by

the propensity for change or fluidity in the drug environment (notably

in the legislation and law enforcement a r e a s ) , which on occasion can

date or even render obsolete findings based on factual evidence which

may be only a ve r y few months old.

Because of the desire to present the Report to Government at the

earliest possible time, the actual writing of the Report has of

necessity been compressed within a relatively brief period of time.

Some indication of this is given b y the fact that the last evidence

dealt wi t h in this Report was received by the Commission as recently as

27 September 1979.

Multiple Commissions

As stated previously, the Commissioner holds Letters Patent from the Commonwealth and the States of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. Strictly speaking, therefore, there exist five separate Royal Commissions.

Because there is a single Commissioner for all five Commissions with all of the Commissions having common terms of reference and since the

objectives of the Commission are national in character, it has seemed

appropriate to present a single Report to all five appointing

G o v e r n m e n t s . At the same time, h o w e v e r , there is no impediment to the

presentation of separate reports to particular Governments on matters pertaining distinctively to those Governments if the need should arise.

The multiplicity of Commissions would strictly require that

references within the Report to the several Commissions should take the plural form. It has been more convenient to use the singular form

'C o m m i s s i o n ' .

Letters Patent

The Commission is still pursuing its i n q u i r i e s , and the presentation of this Report therefore does not constitute the complete discharge of

the Commission's mandate. The Commissioner will accordingly not return the Letters Patent received from the respective Governments until the

total task has been completed.

Staffing of the Commission

Upon the establishment of the Commission, the Commonwealth Attorney- General ' s Department retained counsel to assist the Commission, and

provided instructing solicitors. The commissioning States were

particularly generous in readily providing instructing solicitors as required to undertake relevant State activities associated with the work of the Commission.

A 19

As is usual wi t h Royal C o m m i s s i o n s , the D e p artment of A dministrative Services seconded staff to the C o m m ission to form a secretariat. The

Commonwealth D e p artment of Health, at the request of the Royal

C o m m i s s i o n e r , seconded the then Head of its Drugs of D e p endence Section. Subsequently other staff were recruited to undertake administrative, r e s e a r c h , editorial, secretarial and data pro c e s s i n g activities.

Investigatory Assistance

At the time of the establishment of the Commission, offers to

provide investigators to assist the Commission were made by the

Commonwealth Police Force and the Narcotics Bureau. At that stage the

Commission considered, on the view which it took of its Terms of

Reference, that it had no requirement for investigators and these offers of staff were not then taken up.

Subsequently, at the request of the Commission, the services of two

Commonwealth Police investigators were made available to the Commission for a period of about four weeks to undertake a special investigation.

The Commission called upon the Commonwealth Police Force on that

occasion as the i nvestigation related to inquiries wh i c h that Force had

earlier initiated. The two officers returned to Compel at the

conclusion of the investigation.

A further request was made by the C o m mission to the Commonwealth

Police Force in Ju l y 1978 for the services of investigators to undertake

a wide-ranging investigation into matters relating to organised c r i m e . Throughout this investigation the team of Compel investigators reported regularly to the Commission, although its members did not constitute

part of the Commission's staff and operated i ndependently from special

premises provided for them in Sydney.

These investigations continued until June 1979 when, w i t h the

establishment b y the Commonwealth and Ne w South Wales Governments of the Joint Task Force on D r u g Trafficking, the functions of the investigatory team were absorbed b y the n e w body. The Commonwealth's contribution to

the Joint Task Force was five Compel Officers and five Narcotics

I n v e s t i g a t o r s .

In November 1979 the Commission constituted a small team of four

investigators to undertake investigations into allegations that

prominent citizens of Queensland and some police officers were

associated with the illegal drug t r a d e . Two of the investigators were

Queensland police officers, and two were drawn from the A u s t ralian

Federal Police ( A F P ) . At the express request of the Commission, one of

the AFP officers was selected from the former Narcotics Bureau.

Throughout the life of the Commission the assistance of Compol, the

Narcotics Bureau, and the State police forces has been regularly sought by the Commission and unstintingly given.

A20

Location of Hearings

One matter which exercised the thinking of the Commission throughout the period of receiving evidence was the optimum number and location of

centres for public h e a r i n g s . The Commission was conscious of the

prospect that if it sat in too few centres there was the risk that

intending witnesses would find it difficult to attend and would

therefore be deterred from coming forward. On the other hand it was

clearly recognised that the undue p roliferation of hearing venues would vastly increase the cost of the Commission and could lead to squandering of precious time and energy on the part of the Commissioner and the

staff of the Commission. Initially, the Commission sat in the six State

capital cities and in C a n b e r r a , Darwin and L a u n c e s t o n . It was found

that these hearings attracted witnesses not only from the immediate

precincts of the cities concerned, but also from provincial cities and

country towns within the several States.

The Commission received strong urgings from civic leaders in certain provincial cities to hold hearings in those cities, and many local

newspapers took up the same t h e m e . In several instances it was arranged

for legal staff of the Commission to visit more distant cities to gather

evidence, take statements, and assess whether the number of potential

witnesses would justify hearings being held in those cities. Letters to local councils and press advertisements coincided w i t h the visits. The results were disappointing and it was concluded that there was no

justification for going beyond the several cities in which the first

round of hearings had been held.

In several regional centres arrangements were made for people who

wished to place information before the Commission to make reverse charge telephone calls to the Commission's office. This facility was widely

advertised in the areas c o n c e r n e d . In a number of cases, action was

taken to fly witnesses to hearings in the appropriate State capital,

this being considered in the circumstances to be a more cost-effective

approach than the decentralisation of hearings. This, incidentally,

partly accounts for the relatively high number of sitting days in

Brisbane. Another reason is that on some occasions evidence was

incorporated without the necessity to call witnesses.

The Commission is satisfied that the arrangements made provided a

reasonable opportunity for all wishing to come forward to present their evidence to the Commission.

New South Wales and South A u s t r a l i a---Special Arrangements

Because of the necessity to make the findings of the Commission as

national in character as possible, the Commission felt it should hold

hearings also in Sydney and Adelaide notwithstanding the absence of a

commission from the respective State G o v e r n m e n t s . The Commission sat

and received evidence in Sydney on 3 occasions for a total of 22 sitting

days and in Adelaide on 3 occasions for a total of 6 sitting d a y s .

A2 1

In the case of South Australia, the State Government nominated a

liaison officer through whom the Commission's instructing staff were

able to gain ready access to officers of the Government of South

Australia. The Commission was able thus to obtain comprehensive

official evidence. So far as Ne w South Wales was concerned, a solicitor

from the Crown Solicitor's Office was n o m inated in Ju l y 1978 to act as a

'c o n d u i t ' through whom requests for information from the Commission were directed. This arrangement also resulted in comprehensive and useful

official information being made available to the Commission. Both

Governments also facilitated the release of appropriate senior officials to appear before the Commission as witnesses.

Inter-Commission Co-operation

Throughout the life of the Commission there existed a cordial

relationship wi t h the Ro y a l Commissions inquiring into aspects of drugs in Ne w South Wales and South Australia. Of particular value was the

exchange of the open transcript of evidence with the other C o m m i s s i o n s . This Commission found it u s e f u l , and indeed time saving, to incorporate appropriate sections of the transcript of evidence of the other

Commissions into its own transcript of evidence. Appropriate

acknowledgment has been made where such evidence has been referred to in the Commission's Report.

In arriving at its conclusions, this Commission had the advantage of the views of each of the South A u s tralian and the Ne w South Wales Royal

Commissions. Where the Commission has acted upon any part of such

report or reports, suitable acknowledgments have been made.

In their common concern to inquire at depth into the matter of

organised crime, the N e w South Wales Royal Commission into Drug

Trafficking and this Commission were associated in the p r o motion of an

inter-government Joint Task Force involving Commonwealth and Ne w South Wales law enforcement agencies. This initiative is referred to in more

detail elsewhere in this Report.

'States' and the 'Territories'

Co-operation is the key to effective action against drug abuse.

A lthough the Commission can formally recommend only to the Commonwealth and participating States, in practical terms, the co-operation of all is essential. In this sense a reference in this Report to the States will

be taken to refer to all States. Similarly it includes the Territories

without the necessity to expressly say so.

Currency of Evidence

It was the experience of the Commission that the greater part of the

available useful evidence was received in the first twelve months or so

of its life. However, the Commission deliberately refrained from

discouraging witnesses from coming forward me r e l y because its inquiries were coming to an e n d . No cut off dates were set beyond which

A22

submissions would no longer be r e c e i v e d , nor has any impediment been

placed in the way of any potential witness from coming forward right

through to the time when this Report was released for printing.

In the above connection, it is relevant to refer again to the

fluidity evidenced in certain areas dealt w i t h in the Commission's Terms of R e f e r e n c e . For e x a m p l e , drug-related legislation and law enforcement structures have in certain cases been subject to considerable c h a n g e ,

which has necessitated action on the Commission's part to update the

evidence it was h o l d i n g . The Department of Business and Consumer

Affairs undertook quite significant organisational changes in areas

relevant to drugs during the course of the Commission. In such an

environment it has not been possible to ensure that every part of the

evidence has be e n suitably updated.

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference have already been discussed. A number of

submissions argued that they were too narrow in that the definitions

they contained had the practical effect of minimising if not excluding

alcohol and nicotine as drugs for the purpose of the Commission.

The Commission took the view that its Terms of Reference had been

deliberately framed so as to restrict the attention to be given to these

's o c i a l ' drugs, and indeed the Commission saw the wisdom in its being

able to focus its efforts upon illegal drug u s e . Even so, the Terms of

Reference were in fact of great b r e a d t h , requiring the Commission to

inquire, for example, into laws within nine separate jurisdictions.

Specific inclusions of the social drugs would inevitably have led to a

diversification of the Commission's efforts, and might well have

extended the life of the Commission to an unacceptable extent.

Whilst recognising the limits inherent in its Terms of R e f e r e n c e ,

the Commission h a s , throughout its deliberations, placed the widest

possible construction upon the Terms of R e f e r e n c e . This approach has in fact permitted it to take wide cognizance of evidence on the effects of

alcohol and tobacco, together with other forms of drug taking, such as

'solvent sniffing' and prescription drugs, which might arguably have

been outside the Terms of Reference had they been given a narrow or

legalistic interpretation. The Commission has been fortified in taking this approach by the terms of the Prime Minister's statement in the

House on 5 October 1977, on the establishment of the Commission, in

which he affirmed that the Government did not wish the Commission to be

inhibited by too narrow terms of r e f e r e n c e .

Evidentiary Approach

In addressing its Terms of Reference and writing its Report, the

Commission was conscious of the fact that two basically different

approaches or methodologies were open to it.

A23

On the one hand, it would have been possible for the Commission to

have p e rceived its task as the generation of an essay on appropriate

sociological, s c i e n t i f i c , medical and legal aspects of the drug

question. Consistent with this approach, the Commission would have had considerable freedom in the treatment of the evidence received, the

relevant learned literature, and its own predilections, views and

j u d g m e n t s .

On the other h a n d , the Commission might have broadly imposed upon

itself the rule that, so far as it was practicable, it would act only

upon material it obtained as evidence w hether oral or documentary. Such an approach, although it need not unduly restrict the sources from which evidence m a y come, imposes a discipline upon the w a y in wh i c h the

evidence is t r e a t e d . F u r t h e r m o r e , it generally means that material

which forms the basis of conclusions reached and recommendations made

can be examined subsequently. The inability of the Commission to

p ublish in camera evidence does reduce the force of this consideration

somewhat, but it is believed that the summarisation of mu c h of this

evidence within the Report will have offset this restriction.

The Commission saw it as being appropriate for it to adopt the

latter approach to its task. This decision is reflected in the

structure and content of the R e p o r t .

The Taking of Evidence

The Commission received m a n y written submissions from persons and

organisations in a variety of forms (e.g. s t a t e m e n t s , c o r r e s p o n d e n c e , publications, b o o k s ) . In the normal course these submissions were

formally taken into evidence, either in the transcript of evidence or as e x h i b i t s . Many of the authors of submissions subsequently presented

oral evidence, either on their own initiative or at the invitation of

the Commission.

The Commission sat in public and in confidential sessions. Hearings generally took a form and employed procedures broadly comparable to

court proceedings. Witnesses were either sworn on oath or made

a f f i r m a t i o n s , and a verbatim record of the evidence was taken down by

court r e p o r t e r s .

From the outset it was the belief of the Commission that the powers

of compulsion which were available to it to secure evidence should not

be employed except in the most unusual or compelling c i r c u m s t a n c e s .

Apart from a few cases in which subpoenas were issued at the request of

prospective witnesses with the object of affording legal protection to them, legal process was little used by the Commission to secure

e v i d e n c e .

The great majority of witnesses appearing before the Commission were not represented by counsel. Leave to appear was not refused to any

counsel who sought it.

A2 4

Nature and Treatment of Evidence

In inviting departments, organisations, and members of the community to place evidence before it, the Commission had always appreciated that there would be certain matters which, by their nature, would warrant

confidential treatment. Indeed, it was clear ---and this was borne out

in the experience of the Commission ---that certain important, sensitive material would only be forthcoming if guarantees of confidentiality were to be offered.

In receiving evidence the Commission generally invited individual witnesses to determine for themselves whether there were any matters

which they felt should be heard in camera. As a consequence some

witnesses gave the whole of their evidence in camera, while others gave

part in open session and the remainder in camera. Again others gave the

whole of their evidence in open session.

The Commissioner repeatedly gave firm assurances to witnesses giving 'in c a m e r a 1 evidence that their evidence would be accorded the strictest confidentiality. At an early stage in proceedings the Commissioner

ruled that evidence given in camera was not to be divulged outside the

Commission without an express order by him authorising such action. In

practical terms this has meant that not only the evidence itself but the

fact that a particular person gave confidential evidence has frequently not been disclosed. The Commissioner has indicated his wish that this

level of confidentiality remain in force for a period of at least ten

y e a r s .

In drawing conclusions from evidence given in camera, the Commission has been conscious of the need to treat such evidence with proper

diffidence. By virtue of the confidentiality rules which apply to it,

evidence given in camera by a witness is not subject to the same process

of public testing and scrutiny as evidence given in a public hearing.

For this reason, the Commission was concerned to satisfy itself that

such evidence was thoroughly tested for internal coherence, consistency with other evidence received, and general veracity. In addition, the

Commission has exercised circumspection in drawing conclusions from such evidence in the absence of other corroborating testimony.

In the preparation of the Report care has been taken to honour the

assurances given to witnesses with respect to confidentiality. In some cases the evidence itself is confidential and has not been referred to.

In most instances, however, confidentiality has been appropriately

preserved by depersonalising the evidence. The measures adopted have

been those which seemed most apt in the particular circumstances.

In a number of cases evidence received in camera, particularly from

government departments, has appeared to the Commission to have been

'overclassified'. In several such instances the permission of the

witness (e.g. department) has been received to declassify the evidence. In other instances the Commission has, after reflection, decided that no good purpose would be served by withholding publication. As a broad

A25

p r inciple it must be accepted that witnesses giving evidence to the

Commission, wh e t h e r it is confidential or not, give it in the hope or

expectation that the Commission will act upon it. It has seemed

reasonable to the Commission, t h e r e f o r e , that it should not allow good

evidence to be rendered useless by observing an undue scrupulosity with

regard to its confidentiality, provided always that witnesses are given adequate pro t e c t i o n and the requirements of national security are

h o n o u r e d .

Quotations from E v idence

Where in this Report the official transcript of evidence is quoted

or referred to, the transcript page is quoted with the pr e f i x 'OT'

(designating 'open' t r a n s c r i p t ) . In the instances in which the

confidential transcript has been quoted, the letters 'CT' appear.

Computer Methods

The Commission had available to it a sophisticated computer-based

information storage and retrieval system. The whole of the transcript

of evidence was p rogressively input into the system by means of

typewriter-like keyboards located in the Commission's Brisbane office. The information was stored in the computer, where it was amenable to

systematic search and retrieval w h e n the Commission's legal staff or

researchers wished to reference the transcript for evidence on a

p a r t icular topic or in relation to a p a r ticular person.

The ADP system provided a fast, accurate and comprehensive means of

extracting from the computer data base material relevant to particular aspects of the Terms of Reference as they were being dealt with in the

Report preparation. It saved the Commission the need to establish

extensive manual indexes to reference information.

As sections of the Commission's Report were prepared in draft form,

they too were input into the computer. The computer system greatly

facilitated the editing and refinement of the Report text. When the

Report is finally complete, the computer will provide an output magnetic tape of the Report w h i c h in turn w i l l be capable of input directly into

the Government Printer's computer typesetting system. This arrangement not only renders it unnecessary for the printing office to undertake

much of the labour-intensive typesetting w o r k n o rmally involved in the preparatory stages of the printing task, but appreciably reduces the

'lead t i m e ' involved in the total printing process.

At the time w h e n the system was being initially studied, an attempt

was made to assess its likely costs and benefits. The results obtained

at that time encouraged the Commission to proceed with the

implementation of the system. It is intended that a cost-benefit study

will be undertaken at the conclusion of the Commission to review the

results actually achieved.

A26

On the basis of its experience to date the Commission b elieves that

the system has been of immense benefit; i n d e e d , it is considered

doubtful whether the very large amount of information received could

have b e e n effectively handled without some such system.

The Narcotics Bureau

On 6 November 1979 the Deputy Prime Min i s t e r announced to the House

of Representatives that the Government had accepted the recommendations of this Commission's Interim Report (with one exception) and had decided to disband the Narcotics Bureau. A t this date of wr i t i n g it has been

disbanded. M u c h of the Report had been written prior to such

disbanding. In some instances reference has been made to that fact---in

others the Report has been presented in its original form. The

Commission's recommendations regarding the Narcotics Bureau are the same as those in the Interim Report.

Commission's E x istence not to Inhibit Action

W h e n the Commission commenced taking evidence on 17 N o vember 1977,

it was apparent that considerable time would elapse before it could make firm recommendations relevant to any of its Terms of R e f e r e n c e . Not

w ishing the existence of the Commission to inhibit any department or

body in the taking of any steps or implementing any legislation or

procedures then thought by such department or body to be appropriate,

the Commission on a number of occasions in public session and by letter

to two federal department h e a d s , stated it did not wish to inhibit such

a course. The Commission at the same time made it clear that the taking

of any such steps would not inhibit it from recommending a reversal or

var i a t i o n if such was thought a p p r o p r i a t e .

Duplication

The magnitude of the issues dealt wi t h by the Report have made it

necessary, for the sake of comprehension, to repeat material under

various distinct headings.

Recommendations

When the Commission has determined to make a particular

recommendation it has be e n found desirable to make it in close p r oximity to its dealing w i t h the relevant evidence and the conclusions to which

it is related. General recommendations are made in Part X I V of the

Report. For ease of reference all recommendations have b e e n collected

at the end of the Report. The place on the list which a recommendation

occupies is not meant as an indication of its importance relative to

other recommendations. Recommendations are numbered in the order in

w h i c h they appear in the Report.

The Commission not a Law Enforcement Agency

The Terms of Reference do not require the Commission to name any

person as a person involved in drug t r a f f i c k i n g . The Commission

A27

received in evidence a considerable body of evidence naming particular persons in this connection or referring to matters from which particular persons could be identified. The Commission did not see itself and

still does not see itself as an organisation with a law enforcement

role. Its Terms of Reference require it to examine the methods used in

trafficking, the extent of illegal u s e , the effectiveness of law

enforcement a g e n c i e s , etc.

Mu c h of the information was received in a form from which no

conclusion could be drawn without the assistance of further

investigation or of comment from a law enforcement agency. The

Commission adopted the practice of referring these matters to agencies for their comment or for a r e p o r t . In the course of time the Commission

received many helpful reports from officers of the Narcotics Bureau and State police forces in response to questions by the Commission of this

k i n d . The matter of investigatory assistance has already been dealt

with in this C h a p t e r .

Seeing itself as concerned with the adequacy of present laws and

present systems and without a direct law enforcement role the Commission was at all times careful to avoid embarrassing in any w a y the proper

functioning of the criminal justice system. In the case of doubt the

Commission took evidence in camera rather than in public so that no

person was publicly accused when it might be difficult for him to defend

himself and so that the fairness of criminal trials was not prejudiced.

T h i s , unfortunately for those who relish sensations and s c a n d a l , carries over into this Report.

Buddha or Thai Sticks

These terms recurred throughout the evidence on innumerable

occasions. The Commission appreciates that the use of these terms may

cause concern on a religious or national basis but due to the frequency

with wh i c h the terms were used in evidence, felt impelled to adopt the

terminology.

Acknowledgments

It is obvious that an Inquiry of the magnitude of these five

Commissions and the writing of this Report could not be undertaken

without the dedicated assistance and co-operation of ma n y people,

departments and organisations in Australia and overseas. To enumerate all here would be a m ammoth task further delaying the presentation of

this Report. The Royal Commissioner takes this opportunity of

expressing his thanks and gratitude to all who contributed.

A28

P a r t II

Drugs o f Abuse and their E ffects

Part II Drugs of Abuse and their Effects

C h a p t e r 1.

C h a p t e r 2.

C h a p t e r 3.

C h a p t e r 4.

C h a p t e r 5.

C h a p t e r 6.

C h a p t e r 7.

C h a p t e r 8.

C h a p t e r 9.

A l c o h o l

N i c o t i n e

A n a l g e s i c s

C e n t r a l N e r v o u s S y s t e m S t i m u l a n t s

C e n t r a l N e r v o u s S y s t e m D e p r e s s a n t s

N a r c o t i c s --- O p i a t e s a n d S y n t h e t i c O p i a t e s

C a n n a b i s

H a l l u c i n o g e n s

V o l a t i l e S o l v e n t s

T h e C o m m i s s i o n ' s T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e d e f i n e a 'drug' as

a n a r c o t i c o r p s y c h o t r o p i c s u b s t a n c e , i n c l u d i n g e v e r y d r u g

o r s u b s t a n c e s p e c i f i e d in a n y o f t h e s c h e d u l e s to t h e S i n g l e

C o n v e n t i o n on N a r c o t i c D r u g s or to t h e C o n v e n t i o n on P s y c h o ­

t r o p i c S u b s t a n c e s . T h i s d e f i n i t i o n e n c o m p a s s e s h u n d r e d s o f

d i f f e r e n t s u b s t a n c e s a n d t h e r e w o u l d b e no p r o f i t in c o n ­

s i d e r i n g t h e p r o p e r t i e s a n d e f f e c t s o f e v e r y s u c h s u b s t a n c e .

On th e o t h e r h a n d , it s e e m s v e r y d e s i r a b l e in the R e p o r t o f

t h i s R o y a l C o m m i s s i o n o f I n q u i r y i n t o D r u g s t h a t t h e r e be

p r o v i d e d f o r th e r e a d e r , in an e a r l y p a r t o f the R e p o r t , a

s u f f i c i e n t d e s c r i p t i o n of the p r o p e r t i e s a n d e f f e c t s o f the

d r u g s m o s t f r e q u e n t l y m e n t i o n e d in e v i d e n c e b e f o r e th e

C o m m i s s i o n .

Th e d e f i n i t i o n o f 'drug' in the T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e

e n c o m p a s s e s a n y n a r c o t i c or p s y c h o t r o p i c s u b s t a n c e , e v e n if

it is n o t i n c l u d e d in the s c h e d u l e s to the two C o n v e n t i o n s .

A d r u g c o u l d be d e f i n e d as a c h e m i c a l s u b s t a n c e w h i c h a l t e r s

t h e f u n c t i o n o f t h e body. It is i m m a t e r i a l w h e t h e r th e s u b ­

s t a n c e o c c u r s in t h a t f o r m in n a t u r e or w h e t h e r it h a s to be

m a n u f a c t u r e d .

M a n h a s u s e d d r u g s o v e r th e c e n t u r i e s to a l t e r the

f u n c t i o n o f t h e b o d y , to c u r e s i c k n e s s , or f o r r e l i g i o u s or

c u l t u r a l r e a s o n s . D r u g s u s e d f o r r e l i g i o u s o r c u l t u r a l

r e a s o n s s t i m u l a t e o r s e d a t e the b o d y an d m i n d o r c a u s e

h a l l u c i n a t o r y c h a n g e s in m a n ' s p e r c e p t i o n s . All d r u g s w h i c h

a f f e c t t h e m i n d o r m o o d in t h i s w a y a r e p s y c h o t r o p i c s u b ­

s t a n c e s . Tea a n d c o f f e e c o n t a i n t h e m i l d s t i m u l a n t c a f f e i n e ,

so t h e s e b e v e r a g e s c o u l d be d e f i n e d as p s y c h o t r o p i c dru g s .

A29

T h e r e a r e s o m e d r u g s , w h i c h m i g h t b e t e r m e d ' t r a d i t i o n a l

d r u g s ' , t h a t m a n h a s u s e d f o r h u n d r e d s o f y e a r s . U s u a l l y

t h e s e a r e o b t a i n e d f r o m p l a n t s k n o w n to h a v e s p e c i a l h e a l i n g

p r o p e r t i e s . O t h e r m o d e r n d r u g s w h i c h h a v e a n a t u r a l o r i g i n

h a v e b e e n o b t a i n e d b y t e s t i n g s u b s t a n c e s w h i c h o c c u r in

n a t u r e , e . g . , m a r i n e o r g a n i s m s o r f u n g i . O t h e r d r u g s u s e d

t h e s e d a y s h a v e b e e n d e l i b e r a t e l y m a n u f a c t u r e d in a l a b o r a ­

t o r y f r o m o t h e r c h e m i c a l s a n d c a n b e d e s c r i b e d as 's y n t h e t i c

d r u g s '.

B e f o r e a n e w l y d i s c o v e r e d d r u g is a p p r o v e d f o r m e d i c a l use

m a n y t e s t s a r e p e r f o r m e d , a n d t h o u s a n d s m o r e n e w d r u g s fail

t h i s e v a l u a t i o n t h a n p a s s it. The n u m b e r o f n e w d r u g s

r e l e a s e d a n n u a l l y f o r d i s t r i b u t i o n a n d u s e in m o d e r n m e d i c i n e

is c o m p a r a t i v e l y s m a l l . N o t o n l y m u s t t h e y b e s h o w n to h a v e

th e d e s i r e d r e s u l t , b u t t h e y a l s o m u s t b e s h o w n to h a v e no

h a r m f u l s i d e - e f f e e t s .

In a d d i t i o n to t h e us e o f d r u g s f o r e x p e r i m e n t a l p u r p o s e s

a n d in m e d i c i n e , d r u g s a r e u s e d f o r s o c i a l a n d c u l t u r a l

r e a s o n s . T h e d r u g w i t h w h i c h E u r o p e a n c i v i l i s a t i o n h a s b e e n

l o n g e s t a c q u a i n t e d is a l c o h o l , o r i g i n a l l y t a k e n in w i n e , b e e r ,

o r m e a d , a n d l a t e r in d i s t i l l e d b e v e r a g e s . It w a s n o t u n t i l

t h e 1 7 t h c e n t u r y t h a t t o b a c c o , a d r u g a l i e n to E u r o p e a n

c u l t u r e , w a s a c c e p t e d in E u r o p e . A l c o h o l a n d n i c o t i n e a r e

c o n s i d e r e d in t h i s P a r t o f th e R e p o r t b e c a u s e t h e y a r e the

b e s t k n o w n d r u g s o f a b u s e i n A u s t r a l i a t o d a y a n d m a n y w i t n e s s e s

in d i s c u s s i n g o t h e r d r u g s r e f e r r e d to a l c o h o l a n d t o b a c c o to

i l l u s t r a t e t h e i r e v i d e n c e .

The t e r m ' d r u g o f a b u s e ' t h e r e f o r e e m b r a c e s a w i d e r a n g e

o f d r u g s w h i c h a r e u s e d a n d a b u s e d f o r m a n y d i f f e r e n t p u r p o s e s .

' A b u s e ' i n t h i s c o n t e x t is e x c e s s i v e d r u g us e i n c o n s i s t e n t

w i t h o r u n r e l a t e d to a c c e p t a b l e m e d i c a l p r a c t i c e . T h i s P a r t

o f t h e R e p o r t e x a m i n e s th e n a t u r e o f th e d r u g s o f a b u s e m o s t

f r e q u e n t l y m e n t i o n e d in e v i d e n c e a n d t h e e f f e c t s o f t h e s e

d r u g s . S o m e e x p l a n a t i o n is n e e d e d o f t h e t e r m i n o l o g y u s e d In

t h e f o l l o w i n g C h a p t e r s a n d t h i s is se t o u t b e l o w .

C o m p u l s i v e d r u g u s e i n d i c a t e s the u s e r ' s p r e o c c u p a t i o n

w i t h the u s e o f a g i v e n drug.

T o l e r a n c e o c c u r s w h e n , a f t e r r e p e a t e d d o s e s o f a d r u g , a

g i v e n d o s e p r o d u c e s d e c r e a s i n g e f f e c t s , o r w h e n i n c r e a s i n g

d r u g d o s e s a r e r e q u i r e d to p r o d u c e a c o n s t a n t e f f e c t .

P s y c h o l o g i c a l d e p e n d e n c e o r h a b i t u a t i o n r e f e r s to t h e

n e e d f e l t b y s o m e i n d i v i d u a l s to c o n t i n u e to us e a g i v e n d r u g

in o r d e r to m a i n t a i n an o p t i m u m s t a t e o f h e a l t h a n d w e l l - b e i n g .

A30

P h y s i c a l d e p e n d e n c e on a d r u g i m p l i e s tha t , a f t e r

r e p e a t e d a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , c h a n g e s in th e b o d y ' s r e s p o n s e s

to t h e d r u g h a v e o c c u r r e d s u c h t h a t t h e b o d y is u n a b l e

to f u n c t i o n a d e q u a t e l y w i t h o u t th e d r u g . If the d r u g is

t h e n w i t h d r a w n , th e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c w i t h d r a w a l or a b s t i n e n c e

s y n d r o m e o c c u r s .

D r u g a d d i c t i o n is d e f i n e d h e r e to m e a n a s t a t e in

w h i c h a p e r s o n h a s an o v e r w h e l m i n g n e e d to p r o c u r e a n d use a

g i v e n d r u g , c h r o n i c a l l y o r s p a s m o d i c a l l y , a n d d e v e l o p s a

p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h the us e o f th e d r u g . I f w i t h d r a w a l is

a c h i e v e d , t h e n the r e l a p s e r a t e is h i g h .

A31

A3 2

Chapter 1 Alcohol

ETHYL ALCOHOL

EthyL alcohol (or simply, alcohol) is the active component in beverages such as beer, wine and spirits. The use of alcoholic drinks has been

recorded since ancient tim e s , and in the past alcohol was frequently

accorded a therapeutic v a l u e . Now it is used mainly for its social

effects .

Alcohol is taken orally. It is rapidly absorbed from the stomach

and small intestine but the rate of absorption is slowed by such factors

as the presence of food in the stomach (fatty foods and milk are

especially useful), time taken to ingest the drink, and dilution of the

alcoholic beve r a g e . After it has been absorbed from the gastro­

intestinal tract, alcohol is widely distributed throughout body tissues. Most of the alcohol is then gradually broken down into other substances, liberating energy in much the same way as sugars do. Only a very small

amount of alcohol is excreted unchanged in the u r i n e . This phenomenon

explains why any attempt to increase urine flow in order to reduce the

amount of body alcohol in intoxicated victims is rather unsuccessful.

A blood alcohol concentration in excess of 50 milligrams of alcohol

per 100 millilitres of blood will usually be associated with effects

such as delayed reaction time. Severe intoxication will be associated

with blood alcohol levels in excess of 150 mg/100 ml in many cas e s .

Repeated ingestion of alcohol exerts changes in many parts of the

body. Some liver enzymes become 'induced', i .e ., the enzyme systems are enhanced and this can result in an increased ability of the liver to

break down other drugs quickly. Repeated ingestion also leads to

’tolerance', i . e ., larger amounts are required to produce the same

effects. Physical dependence on alcohol occurs when high blood alcohol concentrations have been maintained for some considerable time.

Effects of Ethyl Alcohol

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant drug. It has its

first actions on the nervous system and begins by depressing those areas of the brain which are concerned with highly integrated functions. At

first, light-headedness and euphoria may be present, and inhibitions are relaxed.

Acute Intoxication

As alcohol ingestion continues (and consequently the blood alcohol level rises), thinking processes become jumbled and insight becomes

dulled. Motor performance is usually impaired. Swings in emotion may

be apparent. Further depression of the central nervous system occurs,

and unconsciousness ensues. While alcoholic coma can usually be 'slept o f f ’ it can sometimes be associated with a severe depression of

A33

respiration, and death may follow unless proper r esuscitatjve treatment is instituted.

Alcohol also stimulates urine flow. It causes increased sweating

and dilation of bl o o d vessels, e s p ecially those in the skin, and results

in a warm, flushed appearance. Loss of inhibition m a y be associated

with aggressive b e h a v i o u r . Sexual p e r f ormance is us u a l l y inhibited

rather than enhanced.

The p o s t - a lcoholic state, or 'hangover', is a self-limiting

condition following excessive alcohol indulgence. The usual symptoms

include h e a d a c h e , n a u s e a , vomiting, tremor, nervousness and difficulty in thinking.

Chronic Intoxication

Chronic alcohol ingestion affects p r a c t i c a l l y every body system.

The neurological m a nifestations of chronic a l c oholism are

widespread. Acute intoxication and the abstinence syndromes are

mentioned elsewhere in this C h a p t e r . Ma n y neurological syndromes in

alcoholics are due to a deficient diet, e s p ecially with respect to

vitamins, m i n e r a l s , etc. When thiamine (vitamin Bl) is deficient a

syndrome of inco-ordination, confusion, and disturbance of ocular

movements may ensue. Another neurological disorder which frequently

occurs is damage to the long nerves of the hands and feet. This

manifests itself as a loss of sensation in the hands and feet. Loss of

vision due to the toxic effects of alcohol on the optic nerves may

occur. Loss of nerve cells in the brain can result in a deficient

memory. At a utopsy the brain may appear to be s h r u n k e n . This loss of

nerve cells due to excessive alcohol intake can also s e l e ctively affect

the cerebellum and br a i n stem resulting in severe i n co-ordination and an unsteady gait.

As well as these direct toxic effects of alcohol on the nervous

system, secondary damage may occur. Because of the frequently

intoxicated state head injuries are common. Head trauma m a y cause

fractures of the skull, head lacerations and blood clots on the surface

of the brain. F r equent head injuries p r e dispose a person to secondary

epilepsy.

Alcohol is a 'food' that supplies energy but contains no vitamins.

It therefore can result in obesity but at the same time causes

nutritional deficiency.

Early morning nausea and vomiting are frequent features in chronic

alcoholics. Inflammation of the wall of the stomach o c c u r s . There is

an increased incidence of peptic ulcers.

A34

Acute and chronic pancreatitis are more common in the chronic

alcohol drinker. Damage to the pancreas and its secretions then causes

difficulties w i t h the absorption of dietary fat and the fat-soluble

vitamins (A, D , E and K).

E v e n moderate quantities of alcohol ma y be associated with an

enhanced deposition of fat in the liver. Excessive amounts predispose a person to alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver and consequent failure of the liver to function adequately. This m a y result in hepatic coma and

death.

Severe haemorrhage from the gastro-intestinal tract can present

either as v omiting of blood or the passage of blood from the b o w e l . The

haemorrhage frequently develops from the inflammation or ulcer of the

stomach or from enlarged varicose veins in the upper pa r t of the stomach

and around the lower part of the oesophagus in some patients who have

cirrhosis of the liver. Such haemorrhage can be catastrophic and can

quickly result in death.

A n association b etween chronic excessive alcohol ingestion and

damage to the heart muscle has be e n well d o c u m e n t e d . Adult males are

us u a l l y affected. The heart becomes enlarged and is unable to pump

adequately. Heart failure follows. There is often an associated

irregularity and often rapidity of the heart beat. Occasionally, this

cardiomyopathy is due to thiamine dietary deficiency and can be treated. More often, the damage is i r r e v e r s i b l e .

Toxic damage to skeletal muscle ma y o c c u r . It can involve any

muscles but especially those of the upper arm and upper leg. It is

associated wi t h pain, tenderness and weakness in the involved muscles.

Because of multiple factors including poor diet, poor living

conditions, the often associated occurrence of smoking, and impaired

defence mechanisms of the immunity system, the alcoholic suffers an

increased incidence and severity of i n f e c t i o n s , especially bronchitis and p n e u m o n i a . Furthermore, trauma and 'brawls' result in further

i n j u r i e s , including rib fractures and sometimes p e r f oration of a lung

resulting in a pneumothorax.

Changes can occur in the blood p l a t e l e t s , red blood cells, and the

bone marrow in a l c o h o l i c s . Usually, these are not of great clinical

significance. However, changes in the white blood cells occur which may be partially responsible for the decreased resistance of alcoholics to i n f e c t i o n s .

The social effects of chronic alcohol excess are numerous and cannot be adequately r e c o u n t e d . Domestic upheavals, marital stress, divorce, damage to children (both physical and mental), and unemployment are but a few to be considered.

A35

Withdrawal (or Abstinence) Syndromes

The abstinence syndromes occur in various d egrees of severity

according to the amount and duration of alcohol ingestion. The more

severe syndromes occur after heavy regular d rinking for at least one

month and usually longer.

Af t e r 'sobering up' the alcoholic is a l e r t , i r r i t a b l e , on e d g e , and

sleepless. He of t e n will have 'the shakes' or 'the jitters' and needs a

drink to 'quiet his nerves'. Hal l u c i n a t i o n s may follow, and these may

be visual or auditory. At this stage the p atient is not agitated and

has some insight into the unreality of the hallucinations.

Ma j o r epileptic seizures or 'rum fits' may occur about 48 hours

after alcohol intake has ceased.

D e lirium Tremens ('D T 's ') is the most dangerous and severe type of

alcoholic withdrawal and is fatal in 10— 15% of cases wh e r e it occurs.

It is characterized by confusion, hallucinations, t r e m o r , agitation, disorientation and s l e e p l e s s n e s s . The heart and resp i r a t o r y rates are

increased and sweating is profuse. The 'D T 's ' occurs 3--4 days after

cessation of alcohol. It terminates 3 — 5 days later after sleep when

the patient again becomes l u c i d . The patient recalls little of events

during the episode.

METHYL ALCOHOL

Methyl alcohol is a simple alcohol which is w i d e l y employed as an

industrial solvent. It is also a constituent of m e t h y l a t e d spirits.

Methyl alcohol is absorbed quickly and becomes wid e l y distributed

throughout the body. It is slowly broken down in the body to formic

acid and formaldehyde. A small amount only is excreted unchanged in the

u r i n e .

Poisoning with this drug results from ingestion of 'metho', i . e . ,

m e t hylated spirits, as a substitute for ethyl alcohol. It is therefore

seen in only the most hardened alcoholics. The effects of this agent

include severe central nervous system d e p r ession (as for ethyl alcohol), acidosis due to the breakdown products of methyl alcohol, and severe

direct toxicity to the retinal cells of the eye resulting in blindness.

The clinical features seen in cases of methyl alcohol poisoning

include headache, dizziness, confusion, irritability, cold e x t r e m i t i e s , blurring of vision and blindness, and slowing of the pulse rate. Coma

and death may follow. The ingestion of 70--100 ml of methyl alcohol is

frequently fatal.

A36

Chapter 2 Nicotine

Nicotine is a natural liquid alkaloid found in tobacco. On exposure to

air it develops the characteristic odour of tobacco. The pure alkaloid

is a very potent poison and, as such, is incorporated in some

insecticides. Approximately 50 mg of nicotine is a lethal adult dose.

Nicotine is quickly absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract, the

respiratory tract, and also from the skin. The liver handles most of

the nicotine and detoxifies it. The break-down products and the

unchanged nicotine are excreted in the u r i n e . Nicotine is also excreted

in the breast milk of lactating mothers who smoke tobacco. The effects

of nicotine in the body are unpredictable as it produces a stimulant

phase and a depressant phase of activity. Nicotine initially stimulates the central nervous system producing tremor and, in higher dosage,

convulsions. Enhanced respiratory rate is also apparent. The

depressant phase follows and there may be failure of respiration and

death. Vomiting occ u r s , and this is due to both central effects on the

brain and to peripheral actions on nerves supplying the stomach.

Acute Nicotine Poisoning

Poisoning may occur after the accidental oral ingestion of

insecticides, especially in children. However, cigarettes contain

considerable amounts of nicotine, some as much as 20--30 mg per

cigarette. If these are chewed, a moderate dose of nicotine is

ingested. Fortunately, oral absorption of nicotine from tobacco is

delayed and vomiting occurs early. The symptoms of small doses of

nicotine include nausea and vomiting, headache, increased respiratory rate, sweating, diarrhoea and a rapid pulse rat e . With higher doses the

effects become more severe and include confusion, faintness, a fall in

blood pressure and convulsions. Death may occur from paralysis of the

respiratory muscles.

Chronic Nicotine/Tobacco Poisoning

Tobacco, either smoked, chewed or sniffed (i.e ., as snuff), is used

by millions of people. Fortunately, when tobacco is burned most of the

nicotine is burned. The amount of nicotine absorbed from tobacco smoke

depends on many factors, including the brand of tobacco and the smoking

habits of the person, particularly the degree of inhalation of the

smoke. More nicotine is absorbed from humid than from dry tobacco. The

rate of burning of tobacco and the temperature of the smoke can be

altered by the smoker and these are additional factors which determine

the amount of nicotine absorbed. About 80% of the nicotine present in

tobacco smoke is absorbed in the lungs. The inhalation of smoke from

one cigarette results in the absorption of about 3 mg of nicotine.

It is generally believed that cigar and pipe smokers incur less risk

than smokers of cigarettes. This is likely if cigar and pipe smokers do

not inhale. However, high temperatures in the stem of a pipe may be

important in the production of tar substances likely to produce cancer

of the mouth and lip.

Chronic obstructive airways disease is more common in cigarette

smokers than in n o n - s m o k e r s . This group of disorders includes chronic

bronchitis and e m p h y s e m a . The features of chronic bronchitis are

chronic cough and excessive sputum production. These symptoms persist

for months or years. Emphysema is characterized b y d e s t ruction of the

lung air cells and results in larger and less functional airspaces in

the l u n g s . The essential symptom is shortness of b r e a t h . S o m e t i m e s ,

chronic bronchitis and emphysema ma y occur together.

Effects of Smoking on the Respiratory System

Effects of Smoking on the Cardiovascular System

Smoking induces an increase in the heart rate and blood p ressure and

predisposes a pe r s o n to irregularities of the heart r h y t h m . The force

of heart contractions is enhanced and there is also increased blood flow

to the heart in pe o p l e wi t h normal coronary a r t e r i e s . However, it is

felt that the coronary blood flow is not increased in those with

diseased arteries and that this represents a risk wh e n heart wo r k is

increased by the effects of nicotine. T h i ckening and 'hardening' of the

arteries is increased in smokers when compared with n o n - s m o k e r s .

Overall, it has been concluded that smoking s ignificantly increases coronary artery disease. Studies have shown that the m o r t a l i t y rate of

heavy smokers between 35 and 44 years old is five times that of n o n ­

smokers in the same age group. The difference becomes insignificant in

subjects over the age of 55 years. Smoking increases the risk of

angina. It is, therefore, especially important that people wi t h high

blood p r e s s u r e , hi g h blood fats, and c o ronary artery disease should be

encouraged not to smoke cigarettes.

Effects of Smoking in Pregnancy

Infants of mothers who smoke have a significantly lower birth weight than babies born to non-smoking mothers. It has not been proved that

there are significant changes in the intellectual capacity of these

children resulting from their mothers' smoking h a b i t s . However, there

is an increased risk of stillbirths and of deaths in the n ewborn period

in babies of smoking mothers when compared with those of non-smoking

m o t h e r s . While cigarette smoke contains cancer-producing chemicals

there is no evidence to prove that these agents cause malformations in

the unborn infants of smoking m o t h e r s .

Cancer and Smoking

Cancer of the lip is relatively common in those who continually hold

a cigarette in their mo u t h and in those who smoke a pipe or use a

cigarette holder. Those who chew tobacco ma y also develop mouth cancer, especially of the gums and c h e e k s .

While it may not be the only factor, the evidence that tobacco smoke

is a major factor in the development of lung cancer is overwhelming. In

countries where the incidence of lung cancer has been studied the

increasing incidence of lung cancer parallels the increasing use of

cigarettes. F u r t h e r m o r e , cancer of the lung was uncommon in wo m e n until recent times when more women have commenced smoking. The risks of

developing lung cancer are greater the younger a person commences to

smoke and the longer the smoking habit c o n t i n u e s . F u r t h e r m o r e , people

who smoke tobacco and drink alcohol seem to have an even higher risk of

developing cancer of the lung or of the mouth, larynx and lips. If a

smoker ceases the habit then the risk of developing a cancer s u b s i d e s .

After a period of time has passed the incidence of lung cancer in n o n ­

smokers and former smokers becomes similar.

A39

A40

Chapter 3 Analgesics

This chapter on non-narcotic analgesics deals with:

* salicylates,

* phenacetin and paracetamol, and

* analgesic combinations.

All of this group of drugs can be used as analgesics for pain relief,

and most have the additional effect of being anti-pyretic (i.e., they

reduce fever).

SALICYLATES

Aspirin (or acetylsalicylic acid) and sodium salicylate are the two most commonly employed salicylate analgesics. Salicylates are usually taken orally. They are rapidly absorbed from the stomach and upper

small intestine, the peak level in the body being found 1--2 hours after

ingestion. Rapid distribution occurs throughout the body. These

substances can also cross the placental barrier and gain access into the foetal circulation. Much of the absorbed aspirin is converted to

salicylic acid, also an active analgesic. Further breakdown of

salicylates occurs in the liver and the metabolites are excreted via the kidney. The duration of action of a single dose of aspirin is quite

short while that of salicylate is rather longer.

Effects on the Body of Therapeutic Doses

Pain of slight to moderate severity can be amenable to salicylate

therapy, and this effect occurs as a result of drug action on the brain

and at peripheral sites. Salicylates also lower body temperature in

febrile patients. There is no effect on temperature when body

temperature is normal. Anti-inflammatory effects are seen, making this a useful group of drugs for the rheumatic disorders. The respiratory

rate can initially be stimulated. There are quite definite alterations in the acid--base balance, affecting the blood pH. Usually, these

changes are easily compensated. Nausea, vomiting and upper abdominal

pain can follow the ingestion of salicylates, and there can be

exacerbation of peptic ulcers. Haemorrhage may be provoked from the

upper gastro-intestinal tract. Sometimes such blood loss is

insignificant, at other times anaemia may follow or catastrophic

haemorrhage ensue. The blood platelets are altered by salicylate

ingestion, and this results in a prolongation of the bleeding time.

Such an effect from one dose of aspirin may last for up to 7 days.

Hypersensitivity to salicylates, usually presenting with skin rash, may occasionally be seen after even a small dose of salicylate. This

occurs more commonly in people with allergic disease, especially those with asthma. Chronic high-dose salicylate therapy in pregnant women

(e.g., for those with rheumatoid arthritis) increases the duration of

A41

p r egnancy and prolongs labour. There is no proven evidence that aspirin

causes teratogenic effects in h u m a n s .

Salicylate Intoxication

The early features of salicylate intoxication include headache,

ringing in the e a r s , dizziness, confusion, rapid b r e a t h i n g , sweating and nausea. More severe intoxication has these effects, but m a n y people

also show skin eruptions, euphoria, incoherent speech, tremor,

hallucinations, convulsions and even coma and death. Features of a

b l eeding tendency (bruising) may be seen. There may be serious effects

encountered from alterations in the acid--base balance. Salicylate

intoxication is very dangerous in children.

The fatal dose of salicylate varies w i t h the type of preparation.

However, 10--30 g of a spirin may be lethal in adults though sometimes

very high doses have not caused death. Salicylate poi s o n i n g requires

urgent medical t r e a t m e n t .

PHENACETIN AND PARACETAMOL

These drugs have similar p a i n - r e l i e v i n g qualities to those of

aspirin. Phenacetin has some direct pharmacological actions. Its major breakdown product is paracetamol, an effective analgesic.

Both drugs are absorbed quickly from the upper gastro-intestinal

tract and attain a peak blood concentration in about 1 hour. After

distribution throughout the body fluids, these drugs are broken down in

the liver and then excreted in the u r i n e . In patients wi t h abnormal

kidney function an accumulation of the bre a k d o w n products can occur.

Effects on the Body

These drugs relieve pa i n of mild to moderate severity. Fe v e r is

r e d u c e d . Subjective feelings of e u p h o r i a , relaxation, lightheadedness and a mild sense of detachment can o c c u r . Skin rash and allergic

reactions may occasionally develop.

Acute overdosage may produce acute and sometimes fatal liver

d a m a g e , the severity of wh i c h is related to the total dose. A dose of

25 g or more of paracetamol may be f a t a l . The severity of the liver

damage can result in liver failure, and then disturbances of brain

function, coma and d e a t h . Similarly, overdosage may cause significant acute kidney damage. Rupture of the red bl o o d cells resulting in

anaemia is another consequence of excessive ingestion of this group of

drugs. Chronic renal impairment is discussed in the next section.

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ANALGESIC COMBINATIONS AND POWDERS

Many analgesic preparations available without prescription are

marketed. These include various combinations of aspirin, paracetamol or caffeine, codeine, sedatives and other substances. It might be

reasonably claimed that the addition of codeine to the salicylate

analgesic or to paracetamol offers additional analgesic benefit but the combination aspirin--paracetamol--caffeine has not been proved to be

significantly more effective than aspirin alone. The caffeine content of such medication is frequently less than the amount of caffeine in one

cup of coffee (about 100 mg).

The reasons why so many analgesic preparations are ingested without medical supervision are nume r o u s . They include minor pain states, such as headache and backache. However, they are also taken by some as a

habit to produce the pleasant effects of euphoria and relaxation which

may accompany some of the components.

The association between kidney damage (analgesic nephropathy) and excessive ingestion of analgesic compounds has been noted for more than 20 years. This affects females more than males. While phenacetin has

been implicated it is likely that the other analgesics may also be

involved. F u r t h e r m o r e , there is marked geographical variation in the

incidence of analgesic nephropathy. It has been suggested that

dehydration may be a provoking factor, as may infection of the urinary

tract. Genetically determined differences in responses to drugs may

also alter the incidence of renal impairment. S o m e , though not all,

patients who ingest analgesic mixtures for long periods (often many

years) develop impairment of kidney function. This may lead on to renal

fa i l u r e . Excessive excretion of body salt, along with hypertension and vascular disease, often complicates this problem. Death may occur. It

is therefore of paramount importance that where possible no one should

take any analgesic d r u g s , either singly or in combinations, in large

amounts for long periods of time.

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Chapter 4 Central Nervous System Stimulants

Many drugs are capable of stimulating the central nervous system,

causing increased alertness and mental activity and frequently

increasing muscular activity as well. Some of these drugs may cause

convulsions and hence are also known as analeptics. The drugs grouped

here are not related to each other and generally act in different ways

and at different sites of the nervous system.

The compounds to be discussed include:

* cocaine;

* amphetamine, dexamphetamine, methamphetamine, and ephedrine;

* methylphenidate (Ritalin);

* xanthines --- caffeine, theobromine;

* appetite suppressant drugs.

COCAINE

Cocaine is a naturally occurring alkaloid which is a potent local

anaesthetic. It is derived from the leaves of the coca plant which is

native to South America. Coca leaves have been chewed by South American

Indians for centuries. However, the cocaine content of the leaves is

only about 0.5— 1.0%. Pure cocaine was isolated in the 1880s and its

local anaesthetic effects and its stimulant effects were noted.

Cocaine can be absorbed via many routes. These include oral

ingestion, skin application, direct absorption from mucous membranes, and intravenous, subcutaneous and intra-muscular injections. The

application of cocaine to the skin causes local irritation. It also

results in constriction of the blood vessels, and this may slow

absorption. However, the oral route is the least effective because the

cocaine is broken down in the upper gastro-intestinal tract. The liver

metabolises cocaine absorbed into the body but at a rate which may not

exceed the absorption rate of a large dose, and high toxic

concentrations of cocaine are then achieved.

Effects on the Body

The effects of cocaine are as follows:

Local application of cocaine blocks nerve conduction and results in local anaesthesia. This drug was once used widely to produce

anaesthesia of the eye for surgical procedures. However it has now been

replaced by less toxic agents.

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Cocaine initially stimulates the brain cortex (the grey matter)

resulting in euphoria and e x c i t e m e n t . Mental activity is increased, and there is e l evation of mood and a sense of well-being. P r obably because

feelings of lethargy are d e c r e a s e d , there is an increase in physical and muscular activity. As the cocaine dose is increased other areas of the

nervous system are affected. Eventually, convulsions may o c c u r .

Vomiting and nausea are frequent. Dep r e s s i o n of respiratory centres may result in rapid and shallow breathing, and respiratory failure may

result in death.

Small doses of cocaine slow the heart r a t e ; larger doses increase

it. Blood p r essure may be increased until the final stages of severe

intoxication, when it falls. A larger intravenous cocaine dose may

cause damage to the heart and immediate death. Local application

constricts bl o o d vessels and therefore reduces local bleeding during

surgical o p e r a t i o n s .

Cocaine potentiates the effects of adrenaline and related

s u b s t a n c e s .

Acute Cocaine Poisoning

An acute overdose of cocaine causes anxiety, confusion, fast pulse

rate, chill, nausea and vomiting. Respiration becomes rapid, then

depressed. Convulsions and unconsciousness o c c u r . Death occurs from

respiratory arrest. The fatal outcome from cocaine toxicity is r a p i d ,

and frequently the subject dies in less than 5 hours following intake of

the drug. Sudden death from intravenous injection of cocaine may be

caused by impurities in 1 s t r e e t ' p r e p a r a t i o n s .

Tolerance and Addiction

Cocaine is a drug of addiction, its euphoriant effect leading to its

abuse. 'Snorting' (sniffing) is a method of absorbing cocaine via the

mucous membrane of the nose. With this method of administration the

user experiences about half an hour of e u p h o r i a , and generally there are no after-effects or complications from a single dose. However, overdose can result from repeated 's n o r t i n g ’ , and agitation and paranoia occur.

Intravenous injection of cocaine causes a 'rush' of euphoria and the effects last for a few minutes only. Drug combinations are sometimes

u s e d---for example, a mixture of cocaine and heroin is termed a

's p e e d b a l l '. Frequently, the substances injected are impure and the

impurities may themselves add to the medical c o m p l i c a t i o n s . Repeated

injections of cocaine result in agitation, impaired concentration,

paranoia and hallucinations. Tactile hallucinations, or 'cocaine bugs', are common.

Psychological dependence on cocaine o c c u r s . On cessation of cocaine use depression ma y follow, but there is no withdrawal syndrome such as

is seen with narcotics such as heroin or with a l c o h o l .

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AMPHETAMINES

This group includes amphetamine (Benzedrine or ’Bennies'),

dexamphetamine ( ' D e x i e s '), and m e t h a m p hetamine ('Crystal'). These drugs all have similar properties but differ in their potency.

Methamphetamine is the most p o t e n t .

These drugs are effective wh e n taken orally. The duration of action

may last for several hours. Once absorbed, they cross the blood--brain

barrier easily and consequently cause the stimulant effects on the

central nervous system. Th e y are usually taken orally but are also used

intravenously ('speed').

Effects on the Body

Amphetamines increase the blood pressure and slow the pulse rate.

They stimulate the b r a i n cortex causing tremor, restlessness and

agitation. Initially, the mental state seems more alert; fatigue is

lessened, and p e r f ormance of simple mental tasks seems to be improved.

Chronic use of this group of drugs results in mental depression and

fatigue. Some users suffer h e a d a c h e , palpitations, confusion,

restlessness and f e a r . Amphetamine tends to reverse the depressant

effects of barbiturates.

The respiratory centre is stimulated, increasing the rate and depth of respiration. A reduction in appetite o c c u r s , this being attributed

to effects on the hypothalamus of the brain. Weight loss may then

ensue, and consequently this has been a means of treatment for many

obese people.

Insomnia is a common reaction to amphetamines. This group of drugs

reduces the rapid eye m ovement (REM) sleep to less than half of the

normal amount. Sleep patterns m a y be disturbed for up to 2 months after

withdrawal of amphetamine. These drugs are useful for treatment of

n a r c o l e p s y .

The m e chanism of the effects of amphetamines upon the central

nervous system is thought to involve the local release of noradrenaline

in the brain.

Acute Amphetamine Toxicity

Overdosage of amphetamines causes irritability, agitation, insomnia, tremor and f e v e r . Palpitations, angina, high or low blood p r e s s u r e , and circulatory failure m a y o c c u r . Convulsions and coma often indicate a

fatal outcome. The toxic dose varies greatly and also depends on the

route of administration. Intravenous injection of more than 100 mg may

be lethal, and an oral dose in excess of 15 mg may be associated with

toxic symptoms.

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Intravenous injection of amphetamines is followed by a sensation of 'rush' (i.e., intense pleasure) as the amphetamine bolus reaches the

brain.

Chronic A m p h etamine Intoxication and Add i c t i o n

Similar symptoms to those in acute toxicity occur. However,

abnormal mental reactions are c o m m o n . In particular, a psychosis may

develop with paranoia, delusions and hallucinations. Ele v a t i o n of mood and sense of improved w e l l-being occurs and is largely the reason for

the abuse of these drugs. A d d iction often develops. Tolerance is

frequently seen and is the reason wh y the effects of a given dose 'wear

o f f 1 . Some addicts can take very high oral daily doses because of the

development of tolerance.

W i t h increasing dose and tolerance to the drug, toxic side-effects

are more likely to o c c u r . The p e r s onality of the user alters and he (or

she) becomes preo c c u p i e d with himself, and develops much personal

pseudo-philosophy.

A n amphetamine psychosis may develop w h i c h may be ve r y difficult to

differentiate from spontaneous schizophrenia. Amphetamine users may

take large amounts of these drugs in a 'run', which only ceases when the

drug runs out or wh e n the user is too confused to continue. On ceasing

the 'run' a long sleep ensues, and this is followed by depression,

fatigue and h u n g e r . This is a definite withdrawal syndrome which would

suggest that at least some degree of physical dependence occurs.

METHYLPHENIDATE (RITALIN)

Methylphenidate is a drug wh i c h is structurally related to

amphetamine. It has mild stimulating effects on the central nervous

system and, as such, is potentially a drug of abuse. Its actions are

similar to those of amphetamines and it is of clinical use in

hyperkinetic children with minimal brain dysfunction.

THE XANTHINES: CAFFEINE, THEOBROMINE

Beverages containing xanthines are in common use. Coffee and tea

contain caffeine, and cocoa (not coca) contains theobromine. While the amount of drug in each beverage varies according to the preparation, the actual amounts of caffeine in a cup of tea or coffee are roughly equal,

being approximately 100--150 mg of c a f f e i n e . A cup of decaffeinated

coffee contains only about 5 mg of c a f f e i n e . There may be as much as

200 mg of theobromine in a cup of c o c o a .

Effects of Xanthines

The major effect is that of central nervous system s t i m u l a t i o n .

This occurs to a marked extent with caffeine but to only a small degree

with t h e o b r o m i n e . All areas of the cerebral cortex are stimulated,

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resulting in clearer thinking processes and a decreased sense of

fatigue. Speed of performance ma y be enhanced. These effects may all

be seen with tea and coffee drinks, and are responsible for the

beneficial effects attributed to these beverages. If an excessive

amount of caffeine is taken, or if an individual is unduly sensitive to

its effects, then insomnia and tremor may occur.

Other effects of the xanthines include an action on the kidney to

increase urine production. The heart muscle is stimulated and

occasionally irregularity of the heart rhythm is produced. The major

arteries to the heart are dilated. It is likely that caffeine also

directly increases capacity for mu s c u l a r work. Since caffeine increases secretion of gastric juices large amounts of caffeine-containing

beverages are discouraged in patients suffering from peptic ulcers.

Chronic Caffeine Toxicity

Over-indulgence in caffeine-containing beverages can cause symptoms, the most common of wh i c h are restlessness, insomnia and cardiac

irregularities. Feelings of depression may follow the cessation of

caffeine intake. Some degree of tolerance, and indeed habituation,

d e v e l o p s .

However, indulgence in tea and coffee beverages is a firmly

established part of our way of life and there is no evidence to suggest

that, in the great m ajority of people, there is any harm in the habit.

A PPETITE SUPPRESSANT DRUGS

A number of anorectic (appetite suppressant) drugs have very mild

central nervous stimulating effects, and as such have a low abuse

potential. Tolerance and also limited physical and psychological

dependence can develop. The drugs included in this group are

diethylpropion (Te n u a t e ) , phentermine and chlorphentermine (Pre-Sate), and p h e n m e t r a z i n e .

The anorectic effects and the central nervous system effects are

inseparable. Insomnia, nervousness and irritability may occur. On

withdrawal of the drug depression ma y be evident, but in usual

therapeutic doses this effect is slight.

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Chapter 5 Central Nervous System Depressants

Drugs which depress the central nervous system include:

* barbiturates,

* non-barbiturate hypnotics and sedatives,

* tranquillisers, and

* alcohol (discussed in Chapter 1).

THE BARBITURATES

Barbituric acid was synthesized first in 1864, and the first

hypnotic barbiturate was introduced into medicine in 1903.

Phenobarbitone, the second oldest barbiturate, was introduced in 1912. Over 50 barbiturates have been available for clinical u s e . The

pharmacological actions of the barbiturates are similar but the speed of onset and the duration of action differ from one to another. The

barbiturates depress the activity of all excitable tissues but

especially decrease the excitability of nerve cells. The duration of action and speed of onset determine the effects, and therefore the

therapeutic value, of each barbiturate. This group of drugs includes

those which can be used for general anaesthesia (i .e ., the very rapidly

acting drugs), those which can be used for sedative and hypnotic

purp o s e s , and those which are used as anticonvulsants.

The barbiturates can be absorbed by or a l , parenteral and rectal

routes. There is wide distribution of the drug throughout body tissues. Redistribution also occu r s . For example, the rapid termination of

anaesthesia after a single intravenous dose of thiopentone cannot be

accounted for entirely by metabolic breakdown of the drug in the liv e r .

In fact, a major amount of the drug is redistributed from the brain to

other body tissues, especially to muscle and fat stores. Barbiturates

which are not broken down in the body are excreted in the u r i n e . This

elimination process is quite slow, often taking a period of several

d a y s .

A large number of barbiturates are available, not only as single

drugs but also as ingredients in many drug mixtures. They are available

in many preparation forms including capsules, tablets, syrups and

elixirs, and powders and in sustained and delayed-release forms.

Mechanisms of Action

The barbiturates depress all parts of the central nervous system but the higher centres controlling consciousness and mental activity are the first to be affected. Barbiturates decrease the excitability of nerve

cells. Their specific action seems to occur at the junctions between

nerve cells where the chemical 'messengers' between cells are altered.

Effects on the Body

Depression of the central nervous system m a y extend from mild

sedation to deep coma and death. The degree of depression depends on

the type of d r u g , the d o s e , and the route by which it was administered.

Slight sedation m a y not be obvious b u t , as with alcohol ingestion, the

subject may have impaired concentration and judgment, and impaired

driving p e r f o r m a n c e .

Sleep is p r o d u c e d . While to external appearances it may seem to be

a normal type of sleeping pattern, the barbiturates do in fact alter

qualities of sleep and reduce the amount of rapid eye movement (REM)

s l e e p .

F u r t h e r m o r e , after a hypnotic dose at night some subjects experience a slight barbiturate 'hangover' the following morning, such as mild

sleepiness, slight inco-ordination and impairment of concentration, later perhaps followed b y irritability. Some of these effects are due

to the ongoing effects of the barbiturate dose, but other symptoms may

be mild withdrawal symptoms.

Contrary to pop u l a r opinion, the barbiturates do not, of t h e m s e l v e s , have any analgesic activity. General anaesthesia for surgical

procedures may be p r o d u c e d with short-acting drugs given intravenously. Barbiturates alter the wave frequencies on an electroencephalograph

(EEG) recording. The barbiturates suppress convulsions, and

phenobarbitone has a selective anticonvulsant action.

The barbiturates depress respiratory drive and also depress

respiratory r h y t h m . If the dose is excessive respiratory arrest and

death m a y occur.

Small hypnotic doses orally cause only a slight lowering of the

blood pressure and a slight slowing of the heart rate. In anaesthetic

doses the effects on heart function and blood pressure are slight in

those wi t h a normal cardiovascular system, but in subjects with impaired cardiac function a significant fall in blood pressure can occur.

In therapeutic doses barbiturates do not cause damage to hepatic

function. However drugs of this group are capable of 'i n d u c i n g ' the

liver's microsomal drug metabolising system; that is, of enabling the

enzyme system to break down some substances more rapidly. F u r t h e r m o r e , the barbiturates m a y competitively block the breakdown of some d r u g s .

For these reasons barbiturate drugs can have quite striking effects on

the functions of other drugs taken simultaneously.

Clinical Uses of the Barbiturates

Barbiturates are used clinically for sedation, to produce an

hypnotic e f f e c t , an anticonvulsant effect, and for general anaesthesia.

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Relief of anxiety states and neuroses m a y be accomplished by drugs

such as amylobarbitone ( A m y t a l ) , p henobarbitone (Ph e n o b a r b ) .

The hypnotic dose (taken at night to induce sleep) is about 2 — 3

times the sedative d o s e . The drugs used, for e x a m p l e , q u i n a l b a r b i t o n e , amylobarbitone, u sually have a short to intermediate duration of action.

Phenobarbitone and methyl phenobarbitone are effective oral

anticonvulsant agents. All barbiturates are anticonvulsant in high

enough dose and they are useful in repeated convulsions occuring rapidly one after the next, i . e . , status epilepticus.

Anaesthesia is induced by intravenous injection of a rapidly acting barbiturate, e .g . , thiopentone sodium (Pentothal).

Acute Barbiturate Poisoning

The onset and d u ration of effects of accidental or deliberate

overdosage of barbiturates vary according to the type of drug taken and

the dose. A moderate overdose m a y result in a state similar to that of

alcohol inebriation. A higher dose causes c o m a , h y p o t h e r m i a , and

respiratory depression, and the blood pressure f a l l s . De a t h usually

occurs from respiratory arrest. The lethal dose varies widely, but

approximately 10 times the hypnotic dose (taken as a single dose) is

likely to cause severe toxicity.

If an overdose of a long-acting barbiturate is taken orally the

p atient may be found in time and taken to hospital. A p atient who takes

an excessive dose of a short-acting barbiturate orally, or takes any

barbiturate p r e p aration intravenously, is likely to be found dead.

A d diction and Tolerance

The illicit use of barbiturates is a widespread problem.

Barbiturates are known as 'g o o f b a l l s ' or 'downs'. They are frequently

used by those who seek to aid the effects of other d r u g s , e . g . , alcohol,

heroin, etc. The shorter acting drugs ( e . g . , p e n t o b a r b i t o n e 'yellow

jackets', quin a l b a r b i t o n e---'red devils') are preferred to the longer acting agents. Tolerance to barbiturates develops quickly,

n ecessitating a larger drug dose to produce the same effects as were

p r oduced initially. Addicts sometimes become resistant to the hypnotic effects of barbiturates but the lethal dose remains u n c h a n g e d . There is some suggestion that a degree of tolerance may develop after a single

administration.

Physical dependence to the chronic administration of barbiturates o c c u r s . The barbiturate addict becomes u n k e m p t , untidy in a p p e a r a n c e , and has poor concentration. Clumsiness, poor co-ordination and slurred speech may be e v i d e n t ; irritability and paranoia are p r e s e n t .

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Withdrawal Syndrome

The b a r b iturate addict suffers a characteristic abstinence s y n d r o m e . Upon cessation of barbiturate intake initial improvement seems to occur. App r o x i m a t e l y 10— 12 hours after the last dose tremor, nervousness,

weakness and low blood pressure develop.

B etween 2 and 7 days after cessation of the drug convulsive seizures

occur. Dreams, hallucinations, and insomnia ma y be features, and

delirium sometimes develops. In rare cases, the withdrawal symptoms may be so severe that circulatory collapse, and even death, ensues.

Withdrawal symptoms u sually subside by the eighth day.

NON-BARBITURATE H Y P NOTICS AND SEDATIVES

This section includes ma n y different, unrelated groups of drugs

which have abuse potential. The drug groups included are:

* g l u t e t h i m i d e ;

* bromides;

* chloral hydrate and derivatives;

* e t h c h l o r v y n o l ;

* paraldehyde;

* m e t h a q u a l o n e ;

* benz o d i a z e p i n e s---flurazepam and M e t h y p r y l o n e .

Glutethemide (Doriden) and Methyprylone

The effects of these drugs are similar to those of the barbiturates.

Glutethimide induces sleep without other action, it also alters the

amount of RE M sleep. Glutethimide is absorbed in an unpredictable

fashion. It stimulates the drug metabolism enzyme system of the liver.

Glutethimide is used as a hypnotic and has few side-effects at

therapeutic doses. A 'hangover' from its effects ma y follow in the

morning, associated with headache and nausea. Acute intoxication

produces symptoms similar to those of barbiturate excess. Chronic

administration of glutethimide results in tolerance, psychic and

physical dependence, and an abstinence syndrome similar to that produced by the barbiturates.

Bromides

This group of drugs was once widely used as hypnotic agents but they

have now been replaced by newer and better drugs. The acute effects are

the same as for the barbiturates. However, bromism (chronic bromide

poisoning) encompasses skin rash, constipation, nausea and vomiting,

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loss of appetite, conjunctivitis and the mental changes of poor memory, insomnia, delusions and hallucinations.

Chloral Hydrate

Chloral is m e t a bolized in the body to t r i c h l o r o e t h a n o l , which is

responsible for the clinical effects. This substance has an irritant

effect on the stomach. Intoxication with chloral resembles acute

barbiturate poisoning. Tolerance and addiction can occur, and an

abstinence syndrome is seen occasionally. Chloral hydrate is more

dangerous when taken in combination with other drugs, e . g . , alcohol

('Mickey Finn'), wh e n it may lead to coma and death from respiratory

depression and low blood p r e s s u r e .

Ethchlorvynol

Ethchlorvynol is a sedative which has a rapid onset and a short

d uration of action. It may cause nausea and vomiting, low blood

p r e s s u r e , and an unpleasant aftertaste. An excessive dose can cause

deep coma and depression of respiration, blood pressure and heart rate. Tolerance and physical dependence o c c u r , and it produces a withdrawal

syndrome which is similar to the 'D T 1s ' on w ithdrawal from alcohol.

Paraldehyde

This drug has a definite abuse potential but the amount of abuse

seems to be slight. It has an unpleasant o d o u r . On exposure to light,

paraldehyde breaks down to produce very toxic substances so preparation of the drug needs great c a r e . A withdrawal syndrome with convulsions

and delirium can occur.

Methaqualone

Methaqualone is a sedative--hypnotic agent that also has

anticonvulsant and antitussive p r o p e r t i e s . Tolerance and dependence occur. It has sometimes been used in a mixture with an antihistamine

(Mandrax, 'Handies'). The conception that methaqualone possesses

aphrodisiac properties is without p r o o f . However, it produces the

'high' so sought after by the addict. A withdrawal syndrome

(especially convulsions) can occur.

Benzodiazepines

Nitrazepam and flurazepam are considered to be hypnotics. They are

ve r y safe d r u g s , though with excessive doses respiratory depression can occur. These drugs have the same 'hangover' effect the next morning as

do the b a r b i t u r a t e s .

Nitrazepam (Mogadon) is an efficient hypnotic. It causes some

changes in EEG activity. Flurazepam (Dalmane) also induces some changes in the EEG. In moderate doses it does not effect REM sleep, though in

A55

higher doses the RE M sleep is s u p p r e s s e d . F l u razepam causes excessive

drowsiness in some and may also result in slight dizziness and

unsteadiness. If e x c e ssively high doses of flurazepam are continued for a long time p h ysical and psychic dependence can occur.

TRANQUILLISERS

These a n t i -anxiety agents include the benzodiazepines and

m e p r o b a m a t e .

Benzodiazepines

This is a large group of drugs which can be used as s e dative-­

hypnotics (flurazepam and nitrazepam) and also as tranquillisers or

anti-anxiety d r u g s .

The a n t i - anxiety group includes:

* diazepam ( V a l i u m ) ,

* chlordiazepoxide (L i b r i u m ) ,

" oxazepam.

The anti-anxiety or tranquillising effects have been well shown in

animal experiments. However, the exact mechanism of this effect awaits definition. All of these drugs cause minor changes in the EEC patterns

and can also make the user less susceptible to convulsions. There is a

little depression of the cardiovascular and respiratory s y s t e m s , but

these effects are slight in usual therapeutic d o s e s .

Diazepam is widely used as a muscle relaxant. However, there is no

definite evidence to suggest that diazepam has any additional muscle

relaxant activity over that produced by any other central nervous system depressant. Tolerance and physical dependence occur, but high doses of benzodiazepines must be given before withdrawal symptoms occur. The

withdrawal syndrome is often delayed (for up to one week) and is usually

slight. The toxicity of these drugs when taken in excess is low; the

safety margin is very wide indeed. Depression of the cardiovascular and respiratory system may occur at enormously excessive doses. Death is

very r a r e .

Meprobamate (Equanil, Miltown)

The effects produced by meprobamate are virtually identical with

those of the barbiturates. It suppresses REM sleep in a similar fashion

to the barbiturates and it causes some slight alterations in EEC

recordings. It is also able to induce the liver enzyme and thus causes

interactions with other drugs taken concurrently. The side-effects are drowsiness and inco-ordination. The lethal dose is in excess of 40 g,

the usual therapeutic dose being 400--1200 mg a day. Tolerance and

physical dependence occur. The abstinence syndrome consists of delirium and seizures and occurs 1 to 2 days after cessation of the d r u g .

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Chapter 6 Narcotics — Opiates and Synthetic Opiates

Opium has been used both as a drug and as a euphoriant at least since

classical Greek tim e s . The Greek 'opion' means poppy juice.

Incising the unripe seed capsule of the opium poppy, Papaver

somniferum, a plant native to Asia Minor, releases a milky latex

containing opium. An alkaloid was isolated from opium extract in 1803 and was called morphine after the Greek god of dreams. It soon became

apparent that use of this drug as an analgesic or for its euphoriant

effects was associated with severe risk of addiction and toxicity. For

these reasons, a search commenced for non-addictive opiate dru g s .

Production of supposedly non-addictive narcotic analgesic drugs has been disappointing in that, used for a sufficient time, the drug generally

proves to be addictive.

NARCOTIC ANALGESICS

Morphine, the naturally occurring opiate of medical importance, is the standard against which new analgesic drugs are assessed. Many semi­ synthetic opiates have been made by slight alterations in the chemical

structure of morphine. This group of semisynthetic opiates includes:

* heroin (diacetylmorphine or diamorphine),

* codeine,

* oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone.

Synthetics include:

* methadone,

* pethidine,

* pentazocine (Fortral).

The opiates are readily absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract or an intravenous, intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. Some can be

absorbed from the nasal mucosa and lung (e.g., heroin snuff and opium

smoke.) The delay in taking and maintaining effect is longer after

oral ingestion. Once absorbed the drugs become distributed throughout the body. Most of these drugs are detoxified in the liver and the

products are then excreted in the uri n e . Narcotic drugs are generally

excreted from the body quickly, 90% of excretion occurring in the first

24 hours.

Mechanism of Action

Opiates are thought to act at the brain synapses. Quite recently,

scientists have determined that there are specific binding sites

(receptors) for opiates in the brain areas concerned with the sensation of pain and with areas concerned with mood and emotion (the limbic

system). Furthermore the brain contains natural, morphine-like

substances (encephalins and endorphins) which act as neurotransmitters

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at the specific receptor sites. There is evidence to suggest that these

mor p h i n e - l i k e substances m ediate the integration of sensory mechanisms involving pain and emotional behaviour.

A m e c h a n i s m for narcotic addiction, physical dependence and

withdrawal symptoms can be understood in the light of the above

findings. A simplified v ersion is as follows. If the natural opiate

receptors in the br a i n are subjected to sustained treatment by an

external narcotic, then the overloaded receptor is able to suppress the

amount of available, n a t u r a lly-occurring opiate in the brain. The body

then depends on the external source of opiate. Should this be

withdrawn, the opiate receptors have neither external opiate nor

internal opiate, and this lack initiates withdrawal s y m p t o m s .

Furthermore this model explains why cross tolerance develops: for

example, heroin withdrawal symptoms can be suppressed wi t h m e t h a d o n e .

The Effects of O piates on the Body

The effects described below refer to m o r p h i n e , the p r o totype of the

opiate family. How e v e r the effects of other narcotics are ve r y similar.

The maj o r i t y of the effects are on the central nervous system.

Analgesia occurs w ithout loss of consciousness. Cough is suppressed.

The best relief is felt in continuous, dull pain rather than in s h a r p ,

stabbing pain. Dro w s i n e s s and euphoria, changes in mood and some mental

clouding m a y occur. C o n c e n tration ma y be impaired. There is increasing

drowsiness with increasing dose. Nausea and vomiting may o c c u r . The

pupils of the eyes are constricted in s i z e . The respiratory centres in

the brain stem ma y be depressed, and with increasing doses of morphine

the respiratory d e p ression is the most important factor leading to

death.

The arteries in the limbs m a y be dilated in response to morphine and

this results in a drop in blood p r e s s u r e , especially when the subject is

standing. There may be little or no change in blood pressure when the

subject is supine.

Morphine increases the muscle tone of the stomach and small bowel

and decreases m o t i l i t y throughout the intestine; this results in

constipation, and is the reason why opiates (especially codeine) are

widely used as anti-diarrhoeal agents. Therapeutic doses of opiates can cause an increase in the muscle tone in the bile duct. Consequently,

opiates are usu a l l y not given to patients wi t h bil i a r y colic for fear of

exacerbating the pain rather than relieving it.

Itchiness of the skin is a relatively common symptom following

administration of opiates. This effect may be due to the vasodilation

of cutaneous blood vessels.

Acute Opiate Poisoning

Accidental overdosage in addicts, suicidal attempts and clinical

overdosage ma y result in acute poisoning. The amount of opiate required for a toxic dose depends on many factors but the most important is

tolerance. If a subject has been exposed to previous doses of the

opiate then tolerance develops quickly and a higher dose can be achieved without toxic effects. However in an adult person not previously

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exposed to opiates ma j o r toxic symptoms can be expected after a

parenteral dose of about 20--30 mg of m o rphine or after an oral dose of

40--60 mg of morphine. Children are ve r y sensitive to opiates. The

clinical effects seen are drowsiness rapidly progressing to sleep and

deep c o m a . R e s p iration is slow and shallow, and a lack of oxygen may be

evident by the presence of cyanosis (a bl u i s h colouration of the skin,

especially mouth, mucous membranes and fingers). The pupils are

extremely small like 1 p i n p o i n t s 1 . Medical treatment is required

u rgently in such cases. The use of specific narcotic a n t a g o n i s t s , e . g . , n a l o x o n e , is frequently h e l p f u l .

Opiate Addiction

Tolerance and physical dependence on the opiates develop quickly in subjects after repeated exposure. This fact imposes stringent limits on the clinical uses of these drugs. Some of the synthetic opiates may be

less addictive than m o rphine or heroin. Nevertheless all of these

agents possess the ability to induce tolerance, dependence and

withdrawal symptoms.

Rapid intravenous injection of an opiate (especially heroin or

morphine) results in a 'rush' or 't h r i l l ' or 'kick', a pleasant

sensation of wa r m flushing of the skin and 'morphine e u p h o r i a ' is

produced. This is a feeling of well-being and a state in wh i c h pain and

anxiety are suppressed. H owever the episodic injection requires an

increasing dose in order to provide the same effects given by the

original dose. The use and the dose of drug therefore increase in a

self-perpetuating fashion.

The risks of addiction include the possibility of overdose with

acute opiate toxicity. Impurities in 'street' supplies of narcotics can result in further toxicity. Sudden death ma y occur as a result of acute

collapse following injection of some impurities. Because of the

declining social, moral and hygienic standards of addicts, they are at

risk of a range of infections, especially septicaemia, hepatitis and

endocarditis. Narcotics use also takes a heavy toll through social

problems related to add i c t i o n---the effects on domestic life, marriage, work, etc.

Opiate drugs reduce pain and aggression and generally should be

unlikely to increase crime rates. However, the addict becomes desperate for more of the drug and requires large sums of mo n e y to obtain it. He

is therefore sometimes forced into crime to overcome this obstacle.

Withdrawal Syndrome

'Kicking the habit' and 'cold turkey' are colloquial expressions

indicative of the abstinence s y n d r o m e . The intensity of the abstinence syndrome depends on the duration of exposure and the doses taken. It is

likely that doses of, or in excess of, 80 mg of morphine a day for a

month or more will produce an abstinence syndrome.

The events following withdrawal from morphine are as follows. Here, morphine is taken as the prototype for the g r o u p ; withdrawals from the

other opiates will be similar in quality but differ in their intensity.

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A p p r o x imately 8--16 hours after cessation of the opiate sweating and

nasal stuffiness occur. Restlessness ma y develop, and after a day or so

there is marked insomnia. The pupils are e n l a r g e d , the flesh shivers

( 1 cold turkey') and the limbs and trunk muscles ache and twitch. Nausea

and v omiting occur on the second or third day, and the peak symptoms are

reached in 2--3 days after cessation of the opiate. After 10 more days

most of the severe symptoms have passed, though insomnia may persist

l o n g e r . Then follows a protracted abstinence syndrome in which

depression, anxiety, and fatigue m a y be p resent for weeks. The

w i t hdrawal phase is rarely fatal.

SPECIFIC NARCOTICS

Codeine is m a i n l y used clinically as a cough suppressant and as a

mild analgesic. It is less potent than morphine, does not cause as much

e u p h o r i a , and has mi l d e r withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin is a ve r y potent narcotic wh i c h is able to pass into the

brain much m ore r eadily than morphine. H e r o i n is broken down to form

morphine in the body. It is an e x tremely addictive drug and the

withdrawal syndrome is severe.

Pethidine is a less potent drug than m orphine wi t h respect to

euphoria, analgesia and respiratory depression. The duration of action is mu c h shorter than that of morphine. Tolerance is fairly slow to

develop, and the w i t hdrawal syndrome occurs more rapidly, but for a

shorter duration, than w i t h morphine.

Diphenoxylate (Lomotil) is structurally closely related to

pethidine. Its m a i n use is in the suppression of d i a r r h o e a . H o w e v e r ,

taken orally in doses in the therapeutic range the drug p roduces little

in the way of morp h i n e - l i k e subjective e f f e c t s , The salts of this drug

are insoluble in a liquid medium and hence are not available for

administration by injection.

Methadone is a synthetic drug wh i c h does not resemble morphine

structurally but its pharmacological actions are ve r y similar to those

of morphine. It is an excellent analgesic and is efficient w h e n taken

orally. Tolerance seems to develop more slowly to m e thadone than to

m o r p h i n e . Its abuse p o t ential is equal to that of morphine.

Propoxyphene is structurally related to methadone. It has good

analgesic p r o p e r t i e s . Its potential for p r oducing nausea and

constipation is about the same as that of codeine. At therapeutic doses

it produces little or no toxicity. In high doses central nervous system

depression and respiratory depression m a y occur. The abuse potential of propoxyphene is less than that of codeine. A mild abstinence syndrome

ma y occur after p r olonged administration.

Pentazocine (Fortral) was synthesised in an attempt to create a drug with good analgesic properties but with few or no addictive properties.

To some extent this aim was achieved in that p e n t azocine does not

substitute well for opiates in addicts w ishing to obtain morphine-like effects. However tolerance, physical dependence, and a withdrawal

syndrome do o c c u r . As well as acting like an opiate it also acts in

higher dosages as an antagonist to opiate effects and produces

nalorphine like side-effects, such as anxiety and nightmares.

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Pentazocine is widely used as an a n a l g e s i c , though it is not as potent

as morphine or p e t h i d i n e . There is lower abuse associated with oral

administration than with injections of pentazocine.

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A62

Chapter 7 Cannabis

Cannabis sativa (Indian hemp) is a plant which grows between 6 and 15

feet h i g h . It has been used as a medicine and a drug for countless

centuries. This plant produces a number of physiologically active

substances (cannabinoids), the most common ones b e i n g :

tetrahydrocannabinol (TEC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN).

TEC is the main drug which alters mood; CBD has no effects on mood,

and CBN has only weak effects. The most potent resins containing these

three cannabinoids are found in the flowering tops of the female plant.

The manner in which cannabis is prepared and sold depends on the

country of origin, and the potency of the preparations differs. The

most common mode of preparation is that the hemp plant is cut, dried,

chopped and rolled into cigarettes.

Marihuana ('grass', 'pot', 'Buddha sticks' , etc.) is the leaf and

flowering tops which is used for smoking. It is relatively weak and

contains typically 1% of TEC.

Cannabis resin or hashish is a concentrated form and may contain

high concentrations (10%) of T E C .

Cannabis oil or hashish oil is an extract of cannabis prepared by

the use of organic solvents. It contains very high concentrations

(10%--60%) of TEC.

The amount of drug entering the circulation varies according to the

route of entry into the body. Marihuana cigarette smoking results in no

more than a 50% absorption of the TEC present, and consequently the

actual amount of drug absorbed from one cigarette (a 'joint') is likely

to be less than 5 mg of TEC. The effects become apparent within a few

minutes and last for about 2 — 3 hours after a single dose. If cannabis

is taken orally the effects commence about 30 minutes to one hour later

and last for 3 — 5 hours. TEC is much more effective when inhaled in

smoke than when taken orally.

TEC can enter into brain tissues with ease. It can also cross the

placental barrier and enter the circulation of an unborn child. The

liver is the major organ which breaks down the d r u g . It takes

approximately 4 to 5 days for cannabinoids to be eliminated from the

body.

A single marihuana cigarette when smoked is likely to produce a

feeling of well-being, relaxation, and drowsiness. There may be slight inco-ordination and slight impairment of memory and judgement. The

sense of time may be distorted. If the dose achieved is higher (either

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by repeated smoking or by additional oral ingestion) these effects are

more marked. In particular, there m a y be dif f i c u l t y c o n c e ntrating on a

task, and in order to achieve the completion of the task each p a r ticular

step involved ma y have to be pain s t a k i n g l y p e r formed in turn. This

process has be e n termed 1 temporal d i s i n t e g r a t i o n '. Depe r s o n a l i z a t i o n ma y o c c u r---a strange sensation of unreality about oneself.

H i g h doses of TEC may cause paranoia and h a l l u c i n a t i o n s . Panic

attacks ma y be precipitated. The clinical appearance m a y be that of a

p s ychotic syndrome.

A n increase in heart rate o c c u r s . There are few important effects

on the cardiovascular system in a normal subject but marihuana m a y cause

chest pain and reduce exercise tolerance in people with compromised

cardiac function. Initial a d ministration may result in improved

respiratory function due to dilatation of the bronchi but chronic

smoking of m a r ihuana impairs lung function. The conjunctivae become

r e d d e n e d . Pressure wi t h i n the eye may be decreased.

If cannabis is taken together with other drugs, e .g ., alcohol, the

effect is additive.

At present it appears that intermittent use of cannabis in low

dosages does not pr o d u c e any permanent brain damage. While there is no

definite proof, to date, that long-term chronic h i g h dosages of cannabis produce any lasting br a i n impairment this needs further study. There

have been suggestions that cannabis might cause p r o l o n g e d abnormalities of mental function, including per s o n a l i t y disorders and a cannabis

psychosis. There is no proven evidence that such disorders are caused

by c a n n a b i s . Cannabis can occasionally cause isolated ’f l a s h b a c k s ' or

similar experiences which occur in the drug-free state. These can

occur, it seems, whether or not the user has ever taken LSD, a drug

which provokes similar 'flashbacks'.

It has be e n suspected that marihuana might cause alterations to

human genetic functioning, but this hypothesis remains u n p r o v e d .

F u r t h e r m o r e , there is no definite evidence of teratogenesis ( i .e .,

causing malformations in unborn infants) but investigations are

continuing.

Cannabis and Dr i v i n g Ability

The results of a number of studies indicate quite s t rongly that use

of cannabis can a d versely affect driving skills. Often, associated

factors such as concurrent alcohol intake makes assessment of the

contribution of cannabis difficult.

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Acute Toxicity

THC has a wide safety margin, much more so than does alcohol. It is

almost impossible to get a lethal dose of THC from smoking marihuana

j o i n t s .

With repeated use at short intervals the drug accumulates in the

body. Only one death has been reported in the literature as being due

to chronic build up of THC in the b o d y .

Tolerance and Physical Dependence

Tolerance does occur if cannabis is administered regularly over a

long interval. While mild withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability,

restlessness and insomnia) occasionally develop in those who have

regularly taken a high dose of THC, there is not a typical abstinence

syndrome and there are no withdrawal effects from the usual l o w - d o s e ,

'r e c r e a t i o n a l 1 use of the drug.

At the present t i m e , it would not seem that infrequent

1 r e c r e a t i o n a l ' use of cannabis produces any severe direct consequences to health. As already mentioned, there is impairment of driving

ability. Higher doses and frequent chronic use may constitute a

significant degree of risk to the u s e r , but further research on this is

n e e d e d .

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A66

Chapter 8 Hallucinogens

Some drugs are able to produce symptoms resembling those in

spontaneously occurring psychoses. A person with a psychotic illness is one in whom mental functioning is impaired to such a degree as to

interfere with capacity to cope with day-to-day demands. The person

has lost touch with reality and has distortion of perceptions. The

symptoms include illusions, delusions, paranoia, hallucinations, and altered mood and thinking processes. Since psychedelic drugs produce a psychotic-like syndrome they may be useful models for the study of

mechanisms of spontaneous psychotic illnesses.

Psychedelic drugs have had an ancient association with tribal

ritual, folklore and religion. The sought-after effects of these drugs include the sensation of increased awareness of surroundings, and the

altered perception of the surroundings as being beautiful. The user

sees himself in a different way and 1 finds himself' by looking inwards.

However, the user also loses control over the experience. Effects other than those sought may be achieved, thus creating a terrifying

experience. The drugs have been termed 'mind expanders' from their

assumed ability to enable the user to view the world more clearly and

deeply. These drugs alter perception and the thinking processes much

more than they alter consciousness.

The drugs included under this heading are:

* lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD),

* mescaline,

* psilocybin and other 'mushroom' hallucinogens,

* phencyclidine.

LYSERGIC ACID DIETHYLAMIDE (LSD)

LSD was first synthesized in 1938 by Dr A. Hofmann. Some 5 years

later he accidentally absorbed a small quantity through the skin of his

fingers and experienced alterations in perception.

The drug is usually taken orally. LSD is rapidly absorbed and

distributed in body tissues. Only a small amount reaches the brain.

LSD is broken down by the liver and is excreted predominantly in the

faeces. It is very potent, being 4000 times more potent than mescaline

and 100 times more potent than psilocybin in producing changes in

perception. Following doses of 0.5--2 micrograms of LSD per kilogram of

body weight effects are demonstrable in a few minutes: weakness,

dizziness and nausea are followed by emotional lability. By the second

or third hour changes in perception occur often in a wave for m . Sense

of time becomes confused and insight is lost.

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The e x p erience for each user is d i f f e r e n t , and it is difficult to

describe. Du r i n g the 'trip' colours ma y be h e a r d , sounds may be s e e n .

Visual hal l u c i n a t i o n s m a y be present; auditory h allucinations are very uncommon. Mo o d changes from euphoria to d e p ression occur rapidly. The

subject feels detached. External p h e n o m e n o n may have increased meaning. A n x i e t y ma y lead to panic attacks. Acute fear and tension can be

experienced in a 'bad trip'. There is no evidence to suggest that LSD

functions as an aphrodisiac. Ho w e v e r sexual activity ma y be increased

when inhibitions relax.

Other actions of LSD include e n l a rgement of the pupils, increase in

the pulse rate and blood p r e s s u r e , increased body t e m p e r a t u r e , tremor,

and muscular w e a k n e s s . The effects subside after 12--24 h o u r s . With

long-term use there has been some concern that LSD can cause teratogenic

effects and damage to c h r o m o s o m e s . However, these effects are not

proven.

The mec h a n i s m whe r e b y LSD exerts its p s y c hedelic effects is u n k n o w n . Probably part of its action relates to effects on the neurotran s m i t t e r

5 - h y d r o x y t r y p t a m i n e . Fatal accidents and suicides caused by excessive ingestion of L S D have be e n reported but are r a r e . T o lerance occurs

quickly. C r o s s - t olerance is produced to m e s caline and psilocybin.

Tolerance rapidly disappears when drug use ceases a b ruptly and no

withdrawal syndrome is p r o d u c e d .

There is definite evidence that LSD causes p s y c h ological c h a n g e s .

These include the following:

a. A bad trip is a temporary episode of acute panic reaction. There is

no way to predict when a 'bad t r i p ' will occur. It happens in those

who have had previous 'good trips'.

b. Flashbacks are episodes in wh i c h the drug effects are experienced

again, but occur in a drug-free state.

c. Severe depression, paranoia, or psychotic illness may be

precipitated. These may resemble schizophrenia.

d. There have been some reports that slight deficits in thinking

processes (especially the abstract thought processes) ma y occur, but this is disputed.

There are no clinical conditions for which LSD is of proven

therapeutic v a l u e .

MESCALINE

Mescaline is an alkaloid obtained from a cactus plant. It is much

less potent than LSD but it also produces visual hallucinations,

perceptual alterations, and somatic effects such as vomiting. An oral

dose of 5 mg of m e s caline per kilogram of body weight will produce

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effects lasting for about 12 hours. Mescaline is used interchangeably

with LSD by users.

MUSHROOMS AND PSILOCYBIN

Psilocybin and psilocin are active ingredients of the 'magic

mushroom' of M e x i c o . These fungi were eaten by Mexican Indians and used

especially in religious c e r e m o n i e s . These substances are much less

potent than LSD but, o v e r a l l , the effects are similar. Once again, the

LSD user can substitute an adequate dose of psilocybin. Initial effects include relaxation and a state similar to mild alcohol inebriation.

This is followed b y h a l l u c i n a t i o n s , mental clouding of c o n s c i o u s n e s s , perceptual changes, excitement and e u p h o r i a . These drugs also cause

increases in body temperature and pulse r a t e . Tolerence develops but

there is no characteristic abstinence s y n d r o m e .

PHENCYCLIDINE

Phencyclidine piperidine (PCP) has recently become a popular

'recreational' d r u g , particularly in the United States of America. It

was originally developed in the late 1950's as a medical drug for

producing dissociative anaesthesia but it proved to be unsuitable

because it caused behavioural disturbances. A similar and related d r u g , ketamine, is however used medically to produce dissociative anaesthesia (that is, a sense of detachment from the environment, with analgesia but without significant suppression of respiratory or cardiovascular

f u n ction.)

Phencyclidine may be administered orally or, rarely, intravenously. However, it is most commonly smoked or 'snorted' as a 'crystal j o i n t ' .

It is also known on the street as 'angel dust', 'elephant

tranquilliser', 'rocket f u e l ' , 'superweed' and 'cyclones', to mention but a few. Street preparations are often adulterated, and the user may

sometimes take other drugs unknowingly. Synthesis of PCP is not

especially difficult and does not require elaborate e q u i p m e n t ;

consequently, it is usually p r o c u r a b l e .

PCP can simulate alcoholic 'd r u n k e n n e s s '. A degree of analgesia and anaesthesia occurs if a sufficient dose is taken. The drug seems to

isolate the brain from awareness of surrounding stimuli. Large doses

may produce convulsions. Increased pulse rate and increase in blood

pressure occur. PCP probably causes alteration in several of the

neurotransmitter systems in the b r a i n . More research work is required

to further elucidate these c h a n g e s .

The effects of an overdose of PCP depend on the dose taken, when it

was taken, and whether it had been used previously. Unsteadiness,

nausea and vomiting, f e a r , confusion, p a r a n o i a , unconsciousness and

convulsions can all occur. If a sufficient quantity of PCP is taken,

respiratory depression, coma and death may result. Diagnosis of PCP

overdose may be difficult as the initial appearances may be those of an

acute schizophrenic illness.

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Following successful medical treatment of the acute toxic state

delirium, confusion and paranoia m a y follow for a period of time.

D e p ression and suicidal liability can pe r s i s t for a longer time. It can

take as long as 15 days for acute intoxication to c l e a r .

Intoxication may occur in two stages. The acute toxicity state

results from 'r e c r e a t i o n a l ' use of the drug. A psychotic state may

occur sometimes from an acute d o s e , but frequently it occurs after

chronic a d m i n i stration of high doses. The psychosis ma y not occur until

some hours or days after the drug was taken.

Individual sensitivity to PCP is variable. However, it seems

certain that PCP can p roduce schizophrenic illness of v arying degrees of severity in patients who have no previous p s y c hiatric abnormalities.

F u r t h e r m o r e , it can reactivate schizophrenic psychosis in patients

previously affected. In pre v i o u s l y normal patients the schizophrenic

illness m a y last for hours but sometimes for days or weeks. The

psychosis resolves finally without s e q u e l a e . In p r e viously

schizophrenic patients the exacerbation m a y last for several weeks.

The initial ph a s e of the psychosis lasts about 5 days and is

characterised b y v iolent b e h a v i o u r , depression with delirium, thought disorder and p a r a n o i a . Suicidal tendencies may be apparent. Sometimes the subject remains mute and catatonic. The second phase lasts for a

further 5 days and b e h aviour is u n p r e d i c t a b l e ; the patient is r e s t l e s s . The final 4-day phase encompasses a return to the normal personality.

PCP is an hallucinogen which has v e r y dangerous consequences for

those individuals who prove to be sensitive to this drug.

The reasons w h y PCP is used and abused are not always clear since

very often it seemingly produces more negative effects than positive

o n e s . However, it seems that the sought-after effects include

heightened sensitivity to external s t i m u l i , stimulation and mood

elevation, d i s s o ciation and relaxation. Frequent negative effects

include r e s t l e s s n e s s , anxiety, disorientation and unpleasant perceptual effects. P a r a n o i a , irritability and mental confusion may be frequently p r o d u c e d . Disturbances of speech m a y occur. The hallucinogenic

experiences m a y be intensely frightening. Fre q u e n t l y there are

preoccupation with death and sensations of 'n o t h i n g n e s s '.

The initial use of low-dose PCP results in a pleasurable 'high', a

shortlived, euphoric experience. Users gradually gain a tolerance to

its effects and take large doses more frequently. The experience of the

'high' becomes more intense and sometimes the feeling of detachment

becomes frightening. It is not known whether physical dependence

o c c u r s .

A70

Chapter 9 Volatile Solvents

Nitrous oxide (1 laughing gas'), ethyl ether ('ether') and chloroform are volatile solvents best known for their medical uses such as inhalational anaesthesia. These substances w e r e , in the nineteenth century,

sometimes used as non-medical 'recreational' drugs for entertainment. They still retain their medical applications. However, many volatile

solvents are not used medically but rather for industrial and domestic

purposes.

Hydrocarbon inhalation or 'glue-sniffing' commenced to a significant degree in North America in about 1960. Since then the habit has

increased markedly. The term 'glue-sniffing' originated because

aeroplane gl u e , containing acetone or toluene, was one of the first

substances to be inhaled. Those who practise this habit tend to be

teenagers, and are likely to be males rather than females.

A very long list of agents are used for 'glue-sniffing'. Such

agents include fingernail polish remover, household cement, plastic

cement, aeroplane glue, paint thinner, cleaning fluid, gasoline, anti­ freeze, contents of aerosol cans, and pure solvents such as acetone,

ethyl ether and toluene.

The active chemicals that may be present in these substances include acetone, toluene, benzene, trichloroethylene, ethyl ether, alcohols, ketones, etc. The chemical properties of these agents are quite

diverse. However all of them are able to produce psychological and

physiological effects w h i c h , in the first instance, are considered

desirable by the user.

Administration usually involves inhalation. The substances are

absorbed via the respiratory tract and pass quickly into the bloodstream and to the brain. The effects of inhalation are felt in seconds.

Similarly, elimination of these substances is rapid. Very few of these

agents are altered in the b o d y . While the initial effect of inhalation

may be excitatory the overall effect is one of central nervous system

depression. The effects are somewhat similar to those produced by

alcohol or barbiturates.

Effects on the Body

The effects produced by 'glue sniffing' increase as the amount of

agent inhaled increases. Initial euphoria occurs and may be accompanied by dizziness, analgesia, visual and/or auditory hallucinations, nausea and vomiting, behavioural disturbances, coughing and sneezing. Moderate repeated 'sniffing' will produce a 'high' which can be maintained by an

experienced user for some hours. A single dose will have effects

lasting for about 40 minutes. The hallucinations may be pleasant or

terrifying. Most chronic users adjust the dose to avoid the depressant

effects. They may however get bloodshot ey e s , experience fatigue, and

suffer weight loss and personality changes. With increasing doses

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depressant effects then take over. Confusion and loss of inhibitions

occur, followed b y cramps and visual d i s t u r b a n c e s , slurred speech and

inco-ordination. With severe intoxication, coma and convulsions may

o c c u r .

Serious, and even fatal, cardiac irregularities ma y o c c u r ,

especially in users inhaling in circumstances where there is limited

ventilation. Breathing in those circumstances causes a lack of oxygen

and an excess of carbon dioxide in the lungs, and potentiates

disturbances in heart rhythm. Sudden death syndromes have been reported not infrequently. Bone marrow is depressed by some of these agents,

hence the pro d u c t i o n of blood cells can fall and anaemia results.

Some of the hydrocarbons, especially trichloroethylene (present in cleaning fluid) have damaging effects on the liver and k i d n e y s .

Inhalation of impurities into the lungs can cause lung disease. There

is also some evidence to suggest that chromosomal ( i .e ., genetic)

abnormalities are higher in 'glue sniffers'. There is evidence to

suggest that permanent brain damage ma y occur but this has not yet been

definitely e s t a b l i s h e d .

In the chronic user tolerance can be quite marked and psychological

dependence certainly o c c u r s . There m a y be a mild withdrawal syndrome

consisting of headache, abdominal pain, hallucinations and muscle

c r a m p s . H o w e v e r , there is no definite evidence of a state of physical

dependence developing in the chronic 'g l u e - s n i f f e r '.

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Part III

P atterns o f D rug U se

Part III Patterns of Drug Use

C h a p t e r 1 . Legal Use o f D r ugs

C h a p t e r 2 . I l l e g a l Use of D r u g s

C h a p t e r 3. Why P e o p l e Use D r u g s

C h a p t e r 4 . P r o f i l e s of I l l e g a l D r u g Users

C h a p t e r 5 . The C o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n I l l e g a l D r u g U s e

a n d O t h e r C r i m i n a l A c t i v i t i e s

C h a p t e r 6 . M u l t i p l e D r u g Use

T h e C o m m i s s i o n c a m e i n t o p o s s e s s i o n o f an e n o r m o u s v o l u m e

o f e v i d e n c e on d r u g a b u s e . It d i d t h i s w i t h o u t c o n d u c t i n g

s u r v e y s o f the p u b l i c on a n y s t a t i s t i c a l l y v a l i d b a s i s .

M o s t o f t h e e v i d e n c e g i v e n to the C o m m i s s i o n b y i l l e g a l

d r u g a b u s e r s or f o r m e r i l l e g a l d r u g a b u s e r s w a s f u r n i s h e d

v o l u n t a r i l y as the C o m m i s s i o n on o n l y a f e w o c c a s i o n s u s e d

i t s s t a t u t o r y p o w e r s to c o m p e l the a t t e n d a n c e o f w i t n e s s e s .

It f o l l o w s t h a t t h e r e h a s n o t b e e n a u n i f o r m or c o n t r o l l e d

s a m p l i n g o f th e c o m m u n i t y on q u e s t i o n s o f i l l e g a l d r u g a b u s e .

N e v e r t h e l e s s it a p p e a r e d to t h e C o m m i s s i o n t h a t e v i d e n c e it

h a d o b t a i n e d p e r m i t t e d the C o m m i s s i o n to i n c l u d e in its R e p o r t

c e r t a i n t o p i c s w h i c h , w h i l e n o t d i r e c t l y r a i s e d b y a s p e c i f i c

q u e s t i o n , w e r e s t i l l r e l e v a n t to the T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e a n d

a p p e a r e d to be t o p i c s o f i n t e r e s t to the c o m m u n i t y .

T h i s P a r t g i v e s a p i c t u r e o f s o m e a s p e c t s o f d r u g a b u s e

c o m p o s e d f r o m e v i d e n c e the C o m m i s s i o n r e c e i v e d . C h a p t e r 3,

'Why P e o p l e U s e D r u g s ' , a n d C h a p t e r 4, ' P r o f i l e s o f I l l e g a l

D r u g U s e r s ' , ar e l a r g e l y c o m p o s e d f r o m w h a t w i t n e s s e s t o l d the

C o m m i s s i o n on o a t h or a f f i r m a t i o n . It is b e l i e v e d t h a t C h a p t e r s

s u c h as t h e s e g i v e the r e a d e r an i n s i g h t i n t o the i l l e g a l

' d r u g s c e n e ' , as it w a s d e s c r i b e d to the C o m m i s s i o n b y s o m e

wi t n e s s e s .

It m u s t be s t r e s s e d that t h i s P a r t d o e s n o t p r e t e n d to be

a v a l i d s t a t i s t i c a l a s s e s s m e n t o f the t o p i c s t r e a t e d in e a c h

C h a p t e r .

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Chapter 1 Legal Use of Drugs

Witnesses and submissions to the Commission tended to place less

emphasis on the legal use of drugs than on illegal use. Several

committees and commissions of enquiry have investigated the use and

abuse of such drugs as nicotine, alcohol, over the counter drugs,

analgesics and prescription drugs in Australia and the reader is

referred to their reports, included in the list hereunder.

'Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse' ---Report from the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse, 1971 (Open Exhibit 19)

'Drug Problems in Australia - an intoxicated society?' ---Report from the Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare (1977) (Open Exhibit 379)

Report of the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs (1979) (Open Exhibit 586)

'Drug Dependence. The Scene in Victoria' ---Report by the Victorian Foundation on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (1974) (Open Exhibit

286)

'Drugs, Alcohol and Community Control' ---A monograph by R. Tomasic.

(1977) (Open Exhibit 314)

A short discussion of the use of legal drugs is included here

because the Commission is of the opinion that the level of illegal drug

use in the community is related to the level of legal drug use.

Witnesses suggested that heavy use of legal drugs encouraged the

view that there was a chemical solution to all problems, including non­ medical ones such as depression and loneliness. As a result, people

increasingly turn to drugs (particularly nicotine, alcohol, analgesics, sedatives and tranquillisers to overcome personal problems. Witnesses further considered that this reliance on drugs to improve one's

situation was often involved in young people turning to illegal drug

use. They commented that for some of today's you t h , cannabis, heroin

and other drugs have replaced alcohol, analgesics, sedatives and

tranquillisers as the drugs of release.

Accordingly, this chapter will consider the level of use of those legal drugs often used to escape personal problems ---nicotine, alcohol, over the counter drugs analgesics, hypno-sedatives and tranquillisers. It will also discuss the use of those legal drugs which are often

diverted to illicit use (e.g. the narcotics such as Palfium and

methadone; methaqualone and the amphetamines). Of course some drugs

such as the barbiturates fall into both the above categories.

Evidence presented to the Commission on the above questions included a large number of surveys carried out by various government and academic bodies and private individuals. Although it is impossible for space

A75

reasons to p u b l i s h these surveys in full, their titles and the names of

their authors are published in order of first mention in a list at the

end of this chapter as 'Annex 1 1 1 . 1 , Surveys on the Use of Drugs

Referred to in Chapter 1'.

TOBACCO (NICOTINE)

Commonwealth Department of Health statistics show the total amount of tobacco consumed in Australia has undergone a series of fluctuations since the financial year, 1972--73 until in 1 9 7 7 - - 7 8 , Australians

consumed 32.3 m i l l i o n kilograms of tobacco. The amount of money spent

in this country o n tobacco products has increased generally since 1972-­ 73. In 1977— 78 a total of $1180 million was s p e n t . To further place

this usage in perspective, it should be noted that Australians are

estimated to smoke 2800 million cigarettes each month (Open Exhibit

379).

In February 1977, the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted a

survey of alcohol and tobacco consumption patterns of persons aged 18

and over (Survey 1, Annex I I I .1). The Bureau published the results with

a warning that the survey could have suffered from u n d e r - r e p o r t i n g . The survey estimated that almost 3.3 mi l l i o n Australians (35.9 per cent)

were currently cigarette s m o k e r s , 1.5 m illion (16.3 per cent) were e x ­

cigarette smokers and 4.4 million (47.9 per cent) had never smoked

regularly. More males were current smokers than females, whilst more

women had never smoked regularly. Similarly, m e n generally smoked more cigarettes than w o m e n - 33.5 per cent of all male smokers smoked more

than 20 tailor made cigarettes per day compared with only 13.8 per cent

of all female smokers (i.e. 12.0 per cent of all men, 4.0 per cent of

all women and 7.9 pe r cent of all persons in Australia).

Both the proportion of regular smokers and the number of tailor made

cigarettes smoked decreased after 65 years of age. This is probably due

to the subtraction, through death, of heavy smokers in the population

and the giving up of smoking b y the elderly for health and financial

reasons. Although a similar proportion of those aged 18 to 24 and 25 to

44 smoked regularly, the level of consumption was considerably higher for the latter age group---13 per cent of smokers in the younger group

smoked more than 20 tailor made cigarettes per day compared with over 28

per cent of smokers in the older group.

The prevalence of smoking did not vary significantly from the

national average in any of the States, although there were considerably more regular smokers in the Northern Territory and slightly more e x ­

cigarette smokers in the Australian Capital Territory.

Those occupations with the highest proportions of smokers included miners, transport and communication w o r k e r s , tradesmen, process workers and labourers. Professional and technical occupations had the largest proportion of people who had never smoked r e g u l a r l y , whilst more

administrative, executive and managerial people had given up cigarette smoking than any other occupation.

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Similar results were obtained by several other surveys, including a Canberra mental health survey carried out by the A.C.T. Health Service

in 1971 (Survey 2) and a study carried out by N.J. Gray and D.J. Hill of

the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria 1974--76 (Survey 3). This last

study also showed a slight downward trend in male smoking and a slight

increase in female smoking over the period 1974 to 1976 (Open Exhibit

172) .

Various other surveys the examined the smoking habits of high school students. The results of the 1973--74 Australian National University

Drug Education Project survey of Australian Capital Territory secondary students (Survey 4) are summarised in T able III.l h e r e u n d e r .

Table II I . l : Use of Tobacco by Boys and Girls at A.C.T. Secondary

Schools in 1974.

Form 1 Form 2 Form 3 Form 4 Form 5 Form

% % % l % %

Boys 12.7 21.8 25.1 37.1 40.6 37.2

Girls 9.0 23.2 31.3 34.6 37.8 40.3

(Open Exhibit 194, pp4.3--4.4)

The survey showed that whilst only 13 out of 100 boys in Form one

smoked, 37 out of 100 Form Six boys smoked. Although a similar survey

in 1973 found that more boys tended to smoke than girls, no clear

pattern between the sexes was found in 1974.

Slightly higher results were obtained by the surveys, 'Drug Use by

the Young Population of Melbourne' in 1972, and a corresponding Ballarat study in 1974 (Surveys 5 and 6). Both these surveys found that one in

two secondary students smoked. The majority were very light smokers

with only one in five smoking more than five cigarettes each day (Open

Exhibit 183).

'Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Use in New South Wales' (Survey 7), a

follow-up study of the survey 'Monitoring Drug Use in New South Wales'

(Survey 8) examined the smoking habits of Fourth Form students in 1977. The results of both these surveys are given in Table III.2. This 1977

study showed that whilst the proportion of students who had never used

remained the same as in 1973, more students were smoking in 1977 than in

1973. This was due to a significant decrease over the four years in the

number of students who had given up smoking. In addition, there was a

large increase in the number of students who smoked on most days (Open

Exhibit 525).

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Table III.2 : Smoking Habits of Fourth Form Studentsi in NSW over Time

Never Used Given Up

Less than

Monthly Monthly Weekly Most

Days Current User (a)

(%) (%) (%) (°/o) (%) (%) (%)

1973 21.1 38.1 5.7 5.2 11.2 18.8 40.9

1977 21.2 29.7 4.6 4.2 9.8 30.6 49.2

(a) This column is the sum of the previous four columns.

(Open Exhibit 525)

The above survey results indicate that not only is tobacco smoking

prevalent throughout the adult community, it is also very common amongst high school students. This is despite the warnings from various sources that smoking is a health hazard.

ALCOHOL

The Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare in its 1977 report

'Drug Problems in Australia ---an intoxicated society?', stated:

Alcohol is the major drug of abuse in Australia. It now

constitutes a problem of epidemic proportions.

(Open Exhibit 379)

The following facts were given in evidence to substantiate this

claim. Souces included the Commonwealth Department of Health and the

report of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare.

- In the financial year 1977--78, Australians consumed almost 19

million litres of spirits, 202 million litres of wine and 1950

million litres of beer at a cost of $3300 million.

- From 1968 to 1978 the per capita increase in the consumption of beer

was 18 per cent, of wine 88 per cent and of spirits 44 per cent.

- Over 250 000 Australians can be classified as alcoholics.

- 1 200 000 Australians are affected personally or in their family

situations by the abuse of alcohol.

- Alcohol has been a major factor causing the deaths of over 30 000

Australians in the last ten years.

- One in every five hospital beds is occupied by a person suffering

from the adverse effects of alcohol.

- Some 73 per cent of the men who have committed a violent crime had

been drinking prior to the commission of the crime.

- Alcohol is associated with half the serious crime in Australia.

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- Alcoholism among the young is increasing dramatically.

The results of several surveys which have examined the drinking

habits of Australians support the contention that alcohol is an integral part of the lives of many Australians. The Australian National

University Canberra p o p ulation survey of 1978 (Survey 9) found that 97

per cent of male respondents and 88 per cent of female respondents had

drunk alcohol on at least one occasion. Similar results were obtained

by a survey conducted in the Sydney suburb of Manly in 1971 (Survey 10)

and a 1974 survey of Hobart women (Survey 11). The results of these

surveys indicated that approximately 90 per cent of respondents had

continued to use alcohol to the date of the survey. The results agreed

with several other surveys which found that between 70 and 80 per cent

of women and between 80 and 90 per cent of me n currently drank alcohol.

All surveys found that more men drank alcohol than w o m e n---and that

men drank more often as well as drinking larger amounts. This

difference b etween the sexes can be illustrated by the following

estimates drawn from the previously mentioned Australian Bureau of

Statistics survey of 1977 of the Australian population over 18 (Survey

1 ) :

- 75 per cent of all males (i.e. 3.4 million Australians) but only 49

p e r cent of all females (i.e. 2.3 million Australians) had used

alcohol in the week prior to the survey;

- 4.2 per cent of all males (representing 5.5 per cent of male

drinkers) but only 0.2 per cent of all females (0.5 per cent of

female drinkers) were classed as heavy or very heavy d r i n k e r s . That

is, they drank more than 80 grams of alcohol per day. (This is

equivalent to b etween eight and nine nips of spirits, 10 two-ounce

glasses of fortified w i n e , 1.1 bottles of table wine or seven 10-

ounce glasses of b e e r ) .

This last result also indicates that alcohol has become a way of

life for a considerable number of Australians. This is supported by

several surveys which found that between 10 to 20 per cent of adults

questioned, drank alcohol each and every day.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics survey also examined the

relationship between age, o c c u p a t i o n , State of residence and alcohol

consumption. Age had little effect on drinking patterns either in terms of those who were heavy drinkers or those who drank alcohol generally.

The survey did show a decrease in both the proportion of heavy drinkers

and drinkers in general after the age of 65. As in the case of smoking,

this could be due to the death of heavy drinkers and the giving-up of

drinking by the elderly for health and financial reasons.

Male drinking patterns did not vary greatly with occupation. A

higher proportion of females employed in clerical, administrative,

e x e c u t i v e , m a n a g e r i a l , professional and technical occupations drank

alcohol than those employed in other areas.

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There were considerably more drinkers on a per capita basis in the

A u s tralian Capital Territory, Western Australia and the Northern

T e rritory than in the other States. The trend was particularly

pronounced in the case of women: 72 per cent of women in the Australian

Capital Territory drank alcohol in the week prior to the survey compared wi t h the national average of 49 per cent.

Several surveys have examined the alcohol consumption of high school students. The results of the 1973--74 Australian National University

Drug Education Project survey of A.C.T. secondary students (Survey 4)

are summarised in Table III.3. This survey showed a steady increase of

use from Form One to Form Six: only five out of 20 Form One boys drank

alcohol compared with 17 out of 20 Form Six boys. In addition, more

boys drank than girls.

Table III.3 : Use of Alcohol by Boys and Girls at A.C.T. Secondary

Schools in 1974

Form 1 Form 2 Form 3 Form 4 Form 5 Form 6

(%) (%) (%) (.%) (%) (%)

Boys 24.3 37.5 49.7 61.8 75.3 84.6

Girls 14.9 28.4 43.7 52.1 69.0 77.0

(Open Exhibit 194, PP 4.3-- 4.4)

Results indicating slightly higher use were obtained in the 1972

survey 'Drug Use by the Young Population of Melbourne1 and the

corresponding 1974 Ballarat study (Surveys 5 and 6). These surveys also examined the frequency of use and the quantity of alcohol consumed by

students. In Form Five, in Ballarat, one in five students reported a

rate of consumption of at least five drinks most weekends or most d a y s ,

or of at least 10 drinks on most drinking days. In Melbourne, two years

earlier, this was true of one in six Fifth Form students.

A similar extent of drinking was revealed by a 1976 study undertaken for the Child Health Committee in New South Wales (Survey 12). This

survey reported that 33 per cent of male high school students and 22 per

cent of females claimed to have drunk alcohol at least once a week.

Two surveys previously mentioned, the NSW Health Commission survey of 1977 (Survey 7) and the survey entitled 'Monitoring Drug Use in NSW'

of 1973 (Survey 8), provided a comparison of the drinking habits of

Fourth Form students in those years. Results shown in Table III.4

indicated that the proportion of students who had never drunk alcohol

had decreased in the four years as had those who said they had stopped

drinking. On the other hand, the number of students drinking most days

had more than doubled during the p e r i o d .

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Table III.4: Drinking Habits of Fourth Form Students in NSW (1973 and 1974)

Never Given Less than Monthly Weekly Most Current

Used Up Monthly Days Use(a)

(%) « ) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%)

1973 11.4 12.8 19.7 24.7 26.1 5.2 75.7

1977 5.6 8.9 16.6 31.1 25.1 12.5 85.3

(a) This column is a sum of the previous four columns.

(Open Exhibit 525)

The results indicated that not only is alcohol an integral part of

the lives of most Australian a d u l t s , but that this relationship is fully established during adolescence.

OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS

Evidence indicated that several types of drugs which can be obtained from a pharmacist without a doctor's prescription (that is, available

over the counter) are currently being abused. These drugs include some

proprietary oral analgesics, preparations containing chloral hydrate, various types of cough m i x t u r e s , various antihistamine preparations, and weight reducing pills .

These last three groups of drugs are frequently taken in large

quantities b y young people. Analgesics and the chloral hydrate

preparations, however, are more often misused b y older p e o p l e---in

particular, middle aged women.

The abuse of some of these drugs is further discussed below.

Proprietary Oral Analgesics

The Analgesic Sub-Committee of the Australasian Society of

N e p hrology and the Australian Kidney Foundation regard non-narcotic, p r o p rietary oral analgesics, such as headache powders and tablets, as

being so commonly abused in Australia that it has placed them fourth to

alcohol, tobacco and sedatives in a list of Australia's most harmful

addictive drugs (OT 10597). Analgesic abuse is considered to be serious because of the connection between the prolonged use of these drugs and

such diseases as analgesic nephropathy.

Several surveys such as the previously mentioned survey of Hobart

wo m e n (Survey 11) and a series of surveys published in the Australian

Medical Journal (Surveys 13a to 13 f ), have examined the use of

analgesics. Their results indicate that excessive analgesic abuse is a pr o b l e m only in certain sections of the community. Dr J. H. Stewart of

the Analgesic Sub-Committee summarised the geographic results of these surveys in his evidence to the Commission in the following words:

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Some 16% of the adult f e m a l e , and rather more than 10% of the

adult male population of Queensland take analgesics every day. The rate of abuse falls, and the female preponderance

disappears as one moves around Australia in a clockwise

direction through New South Wales, the Australian Capital

Territory, Victoria and Tasmania to Western A u s t r a l i a , where no more than 3% of the adult population of a provincial town were

found to take analgesics r e g u l a r l y . .

(0T 10598)

Dr Stewart noted that in the three most populous States of New South

Wales, Victoria and Queensland, there was no apparent differences in

usage between m e t r opolian and rural areas (0T 10599).

Table III.5 . which relates the relative size of State populations to the total national sales of proprietary oral analgesics in pharmacies

and food stores, also indicates a predominance of analgesic abuse in

Queensland and N e w South Wales. Pharmacy and food store sales represent 60 per cent of all analgesic powders and 88 per cent of all analgesic

tablets sold in Australia, and the figures show that both Queensland and N S W have their proportions of sales well above their proportion of the

national population.

Table III.5 also shows that the sale of powders is very m uch a

phenomenon of Queensland and New South Wales. These two States account

for 87 per cent of all pharmacy and food store sales of powders but have

only 52 per cent of Australia's population.

Table III.5: Proprietary Oral Analgesics, Sales related to State

Population

(National Chemist and Food S t o r e s ; Other Outlets not included)

% of % of % of % of

national national national total

population sales, s a l e s , national

tablets powders sales

Queensland (incl. Northern Territory) 15.0 17.2 34.5 24.5

N S W (incl. A.C.T.) 37.2 38.0 52.8 44.2

Victoria 27.5 25.1 5.3 16.7

Tasmania 3.1 2.8 0.6 2.0

South Australia 9.2 9.8 4.0 7.3

Western Australia 8.0 7.1 2.8 5.3

Total 100 100 100 100

(Source: 'Drug Problems in A u s tralia---an intoxicated

Report by the Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare 1977).

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Table III.6 . which compares the consumption of powders and tablets

in the various States, again illustrates the preference for powders in

Queensland and New South Wales. It also reflects findings that aspirin

(a 's i n g l e ' a n a l g e s i c , consisting of only one analgesic component) is

the analgesic most used in V i c t o r i a , T a s m a n i a , South Australia and

Western Australia, whereas 'compound' analgesic p o w d e r s---those

containing more than one analgesic component---are most commonly used in Queensland and New South Wales.

Table III.6 also suggests that compound analgesic powders are not

merely substitutes for other analgesics in Queensland and New South

Wales, but largely represent consumption in excess of Australia's known overall level of analgesic u s e , which is high by world standards.

Table III.6 Proprietary Oral Analgesics, Consumption in Australian

States

(Expressed in Arbitrary Units per head of population)

Tablets Powders

Queensland (incl.

N orthern Territory 64.2 99.1

NS W (incl. A . C . T . ) 55.8 63.0

Victoria 52.2 8.5

Tasmania 55.4 9.1

South Australia 60.0 19.4

Wes t e r n Australia 50.4 15.9

( S o u r c e : 1 Drug Problems in A u s t r a l i a---an intoxicated s o c i e t y ? '---Report by the Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare, 1977).

Evidence indicated that the vast majority of women who develop

analgesic kidney diseases as a result of analgesic a b u s e , were poorly

educated and from lower socio-economic g r o u p s . Typically, these women had problems such as a large family, isolation, marital difficulties and serious economic hardship. Consequently they took large quantities of analgesic c o m p o u n d s , which are relatively cheap, as a prop to assist

them to cope with family stress and intolerable social situations.

Surveys suggested abusers take the first dose to 'get started in the

morning' and then take several doses at regular intervals to see them

through the day.

The relationship between abuse and low socio-economic groups was

supported by a 1975 survey of the Aboriginal population of a country

town in New South Wales (Survey 14). This survey recorded a

considerably higher prevalence of daily analgesic consumption than any other Australian survey. On the day of the study, 45 per cent of women

and 26 per cent of men over 15 had consumed at least one analgesic

preparation. From other o b s e r v a t i o n s , the survey researchers considered

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that this was a gross underestimate of the proportion of the community

i n v o l v e d . The number of powders taken on the survey day ranged from one

to 24 (OT 3743).

This result is in stark contrast to the findings of the Australian

Health Survey of 1977 — 1978 (Survey 15) which found that 24 per cent

of females and 16 per cent of males aged 15 and over had used at least

one common pain reliever in the two days prior to the interview.

Evidence indicated that administration of analgesics to young babies was quite common. Dr T. G. C. Murrell and Dr J. R. Moss reported that

in a survey of Adelaide babies in 1974 (Survey 16), 66 per cent of

babies had been given an analgesic during their first six months of life

(OT 7376).

The reliance of parents on these drugs was further shown by the

Australian Health Survey of 1977 — 1978 (Survey 15) which found that 11.0 per cent of girls under five years of age and 9.6 per cent of boys under

five had been given common pain relievers during the two days prior to

the survey. The incidence of use decreased in the 5 to 14 age g r o u p ,

where 7.2 per cent of girls and 6.4 per cent of boys had used a common

pain reliever in the two d a y s .

Surveys of high school students also found considerable use of

analgesics. The 1974 Australian National University Drug Education

Project study of A.C.T. high school students (Survey 4) found that use

generally increased by grade from Form One to Form Six and that a higher

proportion of girls used these drugs compared to boys. The detailed

findings of this study are set out in Table 111.7. (The survey did not

ask respondents if the analgesics were taken to relieve pain or if it

had become a habit).

Table III.7: Use of Minor Analgesics by A.C.T. Secondary School

Students in 1974.

Form 1 Form 2 Form 3 Form 4 Form 5 Form 6

(%) « ) (%) (%) (%) (%)

Boys 17.1 21.7 16.9 21.4 25.7 21.1

Girls 27.0 36.5 38.9 45.3 42.9 50.3

(Open Exhibit 194, pp 4 .3-4 . 4 )

Four of the surveys already mentioned-- -the 1971 — 73 'Monitoring

Drug Use in N S W 1 (Survey 8) survey and the 1977 follow-up NSW study

(Survey 7) , the 1972 survey 'Drug Use of the Young Population of

M e l b o u r n e ' (Survey 5) and the corresponding 1974 Ballarat survey (Survey 6)---investigated frequency of use of analgesics.

The NSW studies showed a decrease in the proportion of students who

used analgesics over the four years 1973 to 1977. In 1977, 10 per cent

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of students used analgesics weekly and 1.4 per cent used them on most

days.

Different results were obtained from the Victorian studies.

Approximately 5 per cent of Form Five students in both Ballarat and

Melbourne used painkillers on most days of the week. A mu c h larger

proportion of F o r m Three students in Ballarat (11 per cent) used

analgesics daily. These figures were considerably higher than the NS W

results. But, the V i c t o r i a n studies also found lower levels of weekly

use than in N S W (approximately 7.0 per cent of F o r m Five students in

both Melbourne and Ballarat and 4.6 per cent of Form Three students in

B a l l a r a t ) .

The V i c torian surveys also examined the use of analgesics by

tertiary students. Both weekly and daily usage were considerably lower amongst tertiary students than high school s t u d e n t s . These results

could reinforce the earlier proposition that excessive analgesic use was particularly prevalent amongst the poorly educated and lower so c i o ­

economic g r o u p .

In summary, evidence clearly showed many Australians turn to the

easily accessible, p r o p rietary oral analgesics to help alleviate their problems, and that the expectations of relief offered by these drugs is

so appealing, ma n y Australians cannot face the day without their u s e .

Cough Mixtures

A number of witnesses, including several p h a r m a c i s t s , were concerned at the large quantities of certain cough mixtures taken by young people. The mixtures most commonly abused generally contained a derivative of

codeine either alone or in combination with an antihistamine or an

ephedrine c o m p o u n d .

Witnesses from the Health Commission of New South Wales commented in evidence to the Commission in August 1979 that until m i d - 1978 they had

received only intermittent reports of cough mixture a b u s e . Since then, h o w e v e r , the p roblem had e s c alated---so m u c h so that the President of

the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia had issued a warning to ensure

professional control over the sale of these preparations. Similar

evidence of an increase in the abuse of these preparations amongst young people was given in confidential evidence by a Tasmanian pharmacist.

Because the desired drug was only present in the cough mixtures in

fairly low concentrations, the users consumed large quantities to obtain the desired e f f e c t . Examples of abuse given in confidential and open

evidence included:

- one young bo y who drank 100 millilitres at a time, the recommended

adult dose being 10 m i l l i l i t r e s ;

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- school children who drank up to four bottles each per day, each

bottle containing 125 millilitres;

- one young ma n who had developed a habit of consuming two litres

every week (OT 1209);

- one pharmacist in NS W who sold 2900 bottles of cough mixture in

summer when the incidence of coughs and colds would have been almost

n o n - e x i s t e n t .

Evidence indicated that the problem of cough mixture abuse was

restricted to the 12 to 25 year age g r o u p , with a predominance among

school children and unemployed youths. Witnesses from the Health

Commission of Ne w South Wales commented in confidence that whilst the

p roblem was p a r t i cularly noticeable in the Western Suburbs of Sydney,

children from other areas and a variety of socio-economic groups were

also involved. They also commented that school children mainly drank

these mixtures during the school holidays.

Witnesses commented that the m a jority of users simply purchased

their supplies from local pharmacies, without difficulty.

Evidence indicated that two reasons for the popularity of these

preparations were the ready availability---there are no age restrictions on pharmacy c u s t o m e r s---and the comparatively low cost. One witness, a

social worker in Victoria, explained in confidential session that at

approximately $3 a bottle, these cough mixtures were cheaper means than alcohol of achieving e u p h o r i a .

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

To complete the picture of legal drug use by Australians the use of

prescription drugs must be considered. In the year ended 30 June 1979,

almost 92.8 m illion prescriptions were dispensed under the

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The cost of these prescriptions totalled over $380 million (Commonwealth Department of Health).

Although the m ajority of these drugs would be used for medicinal

purposes, these consumption figures further indicate the reliance of

Australians on drugs to solve their p r o b l e m s .

The legal drugs most often abused are stimulants, antidepressants, t r a n q u i l l i s e r s , hypno-sedatives and the narcotics. In the financial

year 1978--79 approximately 4.3 million prescriptions for

tranquillisers, 2.9 million prescriptions for sedatives and hypnotics, 3.4 million prescriptions for antidepressants and over 300 000

prescriptions for narcotics were dispensed under the PBS in Australia. Together these drugs represented almost 12 per cent of all prescriptions under the PBS in this period. (See Table I I I ■8)

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Table III.8:

Volume of PBS Prescriptions for some Classes of Drugs in 1978--79.

N o . of Percentage of

Prescriptions all PBS

Prescriptions

Antidepressants 3 400 000 3.7

Hypnotics and Sedatives 2 900 000 3.1

Tranquillisers 4 300 000 4.6

Narcotics 300 000 .3

Sub-total of these drugs 10 900 000 11.7

Total of all PBS Prescriptions 92 800 000 100.0

(Source: Commonwealth Department of Health)

The usage of each of these types of drugs is further discussed

below. Unfortunately, statistics on the precise quantities used are not available for each type of drug listed a b o v e . The amount of information

available on the levels of use is affected by the classification of the

d r u g . For exam p l e , all commercial transactions of narcotics and a few

selected drugs which are listed in Schedule 8 are monitored by the

Commonwealth Department of Health under its Drugs of Dependence

Monitoring System. This system provides detailed consumption figures for the particular drugs covered.

For the other drugs not monitored, little information is available. In many cases, total consumption and import statistics are not available in a consolidated form. The only accurate statistics available are the

number of prescriptions dispensed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits

S c h e m e . However, not all drugs are covered by the S c h e m e . Furthermore,

the statistics for those drugs listed do not include all quantities of

that drug dispensed. For example, they do not cover quantities

prescribed privately by a doctor. A number of drugs, in particular the

barbiturates, diazepam, oxazepam and nitrazepam, can be cheaper when

privately prescribed than under the Scheme. Accordingly, the quantities privately prescribed may be quite considerable ---especially for the

minor tranquillisers and the hypno-sedatives. As a result of this, a

decline in PBS prescribing may simply reflect the lower costs of private prescriptions rather than a decrease in use of the drug.

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry Inquiry estimated in its August 1979 report that approximately 90 per cent of all non-hospital

prescriptions dispensed in Australia were covered under the

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The ratio of PBS to private prescribing varies, however, from drug to drug, depending on comparative costs.

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The Commission also investigated survey results as a possible means of estimating the use of prescription drugs. It found, however, that

such surveys had been conducted only infrequently and inevitably

suffered from the problem that the number of users reported was small.

Because the information available on drug consumption covers all

types of us e---i .e ., it includes quantities used for medicinal purposes as well as amounts abused the Commission has not been able to

establish levels of abuse for any of these d r u g s . It can only reiterate

that several witnesses presumed that the drugs most often used are those drugs most often abused.

Stimulants

This category of drugs includes the amphetamines and cocaine.

Amphetamines were wi d e l y used in Australia in the 1960s for both medical and non-medical purposes such as keeping awake, increasing athletic

performance or simply for 'kicks'. Rigid restrictions on the use of

amphetamines were introduced in the early 1970s and in 1979

dexamphetamine was the only drug of this group listed under the

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. It is listed on authority only for two

rare d i s o r d e r s .

The South A u s tralian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of

Drugs stated in its 1979 report that non-PBS prescribing of amphetamines no longer occured. In addition, these drugs are not available over the

counter. T h u s , the medical use of these drugs is currently at a

minimum. To illustrate the dramatic decline in u s e , over 252 kg of

amphetamines were imported into Australia in 1968. In 1978, however,

Australians used only 1.7 kg of these drugs.

The restrictions on the medical use of amphetamines have also had

the effect of drastically reducing the amount of amphetamines used by

drug a b u s e r s . Witnesses including law enforcement officers pointed out that although abuse of these drugs was a problem in the late 1960s when

they were comparatively freely available legally, the illicit trade in these drugs had virtually dried up by the late 1970s. Evidence

indicated these drugs were no longer regarded as important in the 'drug

s c e n e '.

Cocaine was formerly used extensively in Australia to produce local anaesthesia, p a r t i cularly in dental surgery, but newer synthetic

compounds have now largely replaced cocaine in this field. It still has some use in eye surgery and in ear, nose and throat surgery but is being

superseded in these areas as well and the amounts now used are quite

s m a l l . The annual legal consumption of cocaine in Australia has

remained fairly steady at about 20 kg since 1970. Evidence indicated

that there is some limited trafficking in cocaine. In addition, some of

the synthetic replacements for cocaine (such as lignocaine) are diverted to the illicit market where they are represented as genuine cocaine.

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Antidepressants

Antidepressants entered the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme as

unrestricted benefits in August 1970. A n tidepressant drugs in part have replaced the barbiturates, which were very popular in the 1 9 6 0 s , for the treatment of insomnia. As new drugs to the PBS, they not unexpectedly

showed a rapid increase in the volume prescribed until the financial

year 1975 — 76. Since then the volume of prescriptions has remained

fairly constant. In the twelve months to 30 June 1979, 3.4 million PBS

prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed, almost 3.7 per cent of all PBS p r e s cribing in that financial year.

As a further indication of the popularity of these d r u g s ,

a m i t r i p t y l i n e , an a n t i d e s p r e s s a n t , was the sixteenth mo s t commonly

prescribed drug under the PBS in 1977--78 (the latest financial year for

which these statistics were a v a i l a b l e ) . Over 1.5 million prescriptions for the drug were dispensed in that period.

Hypnotics and Sedatives

PBS prescribing of hypnotics and sedatives (including the

barbiturates) has declined significantly since the late 1960s. The

overall level of PBS prescribing for these drugs at that time was about

5 million prescriptions per year but in 1 9 7 8 - - 7 9 , the number of PBS

prescriptions dropped to 2.9 million. This could be attributed to

decreases in the max i m u m quantity prescribed and increases in the

p atient contribution. Both these factors make it more attractive for

prescriptions for these items to be w ritten outside the Scheme. As

these drugs still accounted for 3.1 per cent of all PBS dispensing in

1 9 7 8 - - 7 9 , it was apparent large quantities were still being prescribed

despite the decline.

The South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of

Drugs stated in its final report in April 1979 that a similar decline

had occurred in the sales of hypnotics and sedatives to retail

pharmacies (which includes private as well as PBS prescriptions). A

decline has also been evident in sales of proprietary lines which could

be termed hypnotics or sedatives but are available without a doctor's

p r e s c r i p t i o n .

Evidence indicated that the decline in the PBS prescribing of hypno- sedatives as a whole is largely due to the steady fall since 1967--68 in

the prescribing of barbiturates. But the opposite trend is apparent for nitrazepam (main brand name Mogadon) p r e s c r i b i n g . As an indication of

the popularity of this drug, over 2.2 million prescriptions were

dispensed under the PBS in 1977--78 making nitrazepam the seventh most

commonly prescribed PBS drug. If the number of prescriptions is

multiplied by the maximum quantity of tablets allowed for each

p r e s c ription (25 tablets), the PBS prescribed volume for 1977 — 78 was

approximately 55 mi l l i o n doses. This is equivalent to four tablets for

every person in A u s t r a l i a .

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In comparison, a barbiturate drug does not appear in the list of the

most commonly prescribed PBS drugs until position 62. This drug,

pentobarbitone sodium, accounted for over 360 000 PBS prescriptions in 1977--78. Statistics for total PBS barbiturate prescriptions for 1977— 78 were not available. But in the previous twelve month period 1976—

77, PBS barbiturate prescriptions totalled 1.1 million. Again the

Commission noted that this PBS figure underestimates the total volume of these drugs prescribed. Several forms and strengths are cheaper when

prescribed outside the Scheme.

Another indicator of the use of barbiturates in Australia is the

amount of these drugs imported. These imports have also declined

significantly in the 1970s. In 1970, these imports totalled

approximately 31 000 kg; but in 1976, they had dwindled to 6000 kg.

The Commission noted, however, that annual variation in imports is only a crude measure of use. They can readily be affected by stocks held

and in any case, do not correspond directly with annual consumption.

Qualified witnesses suggested that in line with the decline in the

overall consumption of barbiturates, the levels of both diversion to the illegal market and legal abuse of these drugs had also decreased

drastically since the late 1960s.

Another hypno-sedative which has given cause for concern is M a n d r a x , a combination of methaqualone and diphenhydramine. Mandrax has never

been available as a PBS benefit drug so there are no national figures

for the volume of prescriptions dispensed for this d r u g .

Since February 1978, consumption of methaqualone has been recorded by the Commonwealth Health Department's Drugs of Dependence Monitoring System. For the 11 months of that year, the System recorded a total of

937 kg of methaqualone base used in Australia.

Although it would appear that the legitimate sales of methaqualone products are d e c l i n i n g , the Commission noted law enforcement officers and health officials expressed increasing concern about the non-medical use of this d r u g .

The Commission's attention was drawn to another aspect of the use of hypno-sedatives that warrants discussion. As discussed in Part IV Term of Reference C, evidence indicated that the hypno-sedatives feature

prominently in overdose and suicide statistics. As no systematic

collection of overdose statistics is undertaken in Australia, the

Commission sought details of overdose cases from several hospitals.

In the majority of hospitals questioned, hypno-sedatives (in particular barbiturates and Mogadon and Mandrax) were the drugs most commonly

involved. For example, over 40 per cent of all overdose cases treated

at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney in 1977 had taken hy p n o -

s e d a t i v e s .

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Evidence of drug-related deaths was given in confidential session by a senior official of the Commonwealth Department of Health, who

discussed the results of a review of the Sydney Coroner's Reports for

the years 1972 to 1978. Here again, the hypno-sedatives were

prominently involved. In keeping with the general decline in the use of

barbiturates, deaths involving these drugs decreased markedly from a

peak of 141 in 1972 to 68 in 1978. Deaths involving hypno-sedatives

other than barbiturates showed no significant overall change although there was a peak in 1975 of 69. The annual figure usually varied

bet w e e n 30 to 50 deaths.

These figures on overdose cases and drug-related deaths could well

indicate that hypno-sedatives, one of the most frequently prescribed

groups of drugs in Australia, are also one of the most heavily abused.

Mi n o r Tranquillisers

No comprehensive statistics for the consumption of this class of

drugs were available to the Commission. In the year to 30 June 1979,

4.3 million prescriptions for tranquillisers were dispensed under the PBS, accounting for 4.6 per cent of all PBS prescriptions dispensed.

Although these figures also included prescriptions for the major

tranquillisers, a large proportion of these prescriptions were for minor tranquillisers. Two of these minor tranquillisers, diazepam (main brand name Valium) and oxazepam (main brand name Serepax) in 1977--78

accounted for over 3.7 million prescriptions. Diazepam which accounted for 2.3 million prescriptions, and oxazepam which accounted for 1.4

m illion prescriptions, were listed as sixth and 20th respectively in the list of drugs most commonly prescribed under the PBS in that year.

Again, as some forms and strengths of minor tranquillisers are less expensive when privately prescribed, considerable amounts m a y be

prescribed outside the PBS. Such amounts are not recorded.

The volume of prescriptions in Australia under the PBS for

tranquillisers in general showed a marked increase from 1969--70 to

1974--75 when almost 6.2 million prescriptions were dispensed.

(Diazepam was listed as a general benefit in December 1972). Since

then, however, the number of prescriptions have decreased until in

19 7 8 — 79, a total of 4.3 million were dispensed. Similar trends were

shown for the volume of PBS prescriptions for both diazepam and

oxazepam.

Evidence indicated that this downturn was not confined to PBS

prescriptions. The South Australian Royal Commission into the N o n ­

Medical Use of Drugs stated in its final report that manufacturers'

sales of minor tranquillisers to pharmacies had reached a peak in 1974

and had decreased since. These sales include private dispensing as well as that under the PBS.

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The Study Group of the Victorian Foundation on Alcoholism and Drug

Dependence in its 1974 report (Open Exhibit 286) commented that one

apparent danger wi t h the minor tranquillisers was that the person for

whom the drugs were prescribed was using a chemical means of escaping

from tension or anxiety and so could be predisposed to becoming

p s ychologically dependent on them.

Not surprisingly, t h e r e f o r e , these drugs also feature prominently in overdose admissions to hospitals. For e x a m p l e , minor tranquillisers

were involved in over 29 per cent of overdose cases at Sydney's Prince

of Wales Hospital in 1977. The Sydney Coroner's Reports referred to

above indicate, however that the involvement of minor tranquillisers in drug-related deaths has d e c r e a s e d . These reports recorded 24 deaths

involving either these drugs or antidepressants in 1972 but only 9

deaths in 1978.

Narcotics

These drugs include pethidine, morphine, m e t h a d o n e , d e x t r o moramide, pentazocine and heroin. The major legal uses of narcotics are for

therapeutic p u r p o s e s , usually for the relief of severe pain. Some are

made legally available to drug-dependent p e r s o n s , mostly through

methadone treatment p r o g r a m s . Therapeutic use of narcotics is generally for short periods, although sometimes intensely for that period.

Controlled narcotics obtained on a doctor's prescription may be

improperly used for non-therapeutic purposes, either to support a user's drug dependence or for diversion to the illegal market. Methadone from

treatment programs ma y also be diverted.

Commonwealth Department of Health statistics indicate that the

volume of prescriptions dispensed under the PBS for narcotics in general increased from the mid 1960s until mid 1973 but have levelled off since. In 1976--77, 315 000 prescriptions for controlled narcotic analgesics were dispensed.

Statistics for the legal consumption of the major narcotic drugs

were supplied to the Commission by the Commonwealth Department of

Health. The 1978 data is summarised in Table III.9.

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Table III.9: Legal Consumption in 1978 of the

major Narcotic drugs

Base Drug Total Consumption

(kilograms)

Consumption (kilograms) per m illion people

Pethidine 309.4 21.7

Pentazocine 124.9 8.8

Morphine 58.0 4.1

Methadone 38.1 2.7

Dextromoramide 13.2 0.9

(Source: Commonwealth Department of Health)

These consumption statistics when compared with similar statistics for previous years indicate trends in the usage of these drugs by

A u s t r a l i a n s . These trends i n c l u d e :

* Pethidine consumption on a per capita basis has fluctuated

considerably since 1968 but has shown an overall tendency to

d e c r e a s e . In 1968, 24.8 kg were used per m illion Australians

(giving a total consumption of almost 300 kg). This had dropped to

21.7 kg per m illion people in 1978 (giving a total consumption of

309 kg).

* Pentazocine consumption has steadily increased since 1974 (the first ye a r for which statistics were available). In that year,

Australians used almost 101 kg of pentazocine (brand name Fortral) or on a per capita basis, 7.4 kg per million people. In 1978 almost

125 kgs were used or almost 8.8 kg per million people.

* Morphine consumption, on a per capita basis, has generally decreased since 1968 except for an upsurge in use in 1971. In 1968, 6.0 kg

were used per million Australians (giving a total consumption of

72.5 kg). In 1978, only 4.1 kg were used per million people (giving

a total consumption of 58 k g ) .

* Methadone consumption, expressed in terms of the base drug,

increased steadily to 1976 but levelled off in 1977 and 1978. In

1968, Australians used 18 kg of methadone base (or 1.5 kg per

m illion people); in 1978, Australians used 38 kg (or 2.7 kg per

m illion people). This increase is partly due to the commencement of

methadone treatment programs in the mid 1970s. Accordingly,

consumption of the syrup form (the form preferred by treatment

programs) has risen dramatically since 1974 (this is the first year

for wh i c h a detailed breakdown of methadone consumption statistics were a v a i l a b l e ) . In contrast, consumption of the tablet and ampoule forms of the drug has decreased since 1976. These decreases are

probably due to the April 1977 decision to restrict methadone under

the PBS to 1 disabling pain of short duration not responding to n o n ­

narcotic analgesics' and to measures taken by the States to increase control over methadone treatment programs and to encourage the use

of syrup.

* Dextromoramide (brand name Palfium) consumption has shown two

pe a k s---one occuring in 1970 and the other in 1977. In 1968,

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Australians used 8.5 kg (or 0.7 kg per million people) but in 1978,

this rose to 13 kg (or 0.9 kg per million A u s t r a l i a n s ) .

It is of interest to note that dextromoramide and methadone are the

drugs most often diverted to illegal use either by forging prescriptions or b y obtaining prescriptions under false p r e t e n c e s . One confidential witness estimated it was possible that in excess of half of the legally

prescribed dextromoramide and almost half of the methadone was going

into 1 addicts hands'.

Heroin

Heroin is not used for medicinal purposes in any State or Territory,

except Victoria. In Victoria, its use is restricted to the relief of

pain in terminal carcinoma cases and for obstetric use by certain

approved practitioners and only when they are associated with a major

hospital having a proper pharmacy department employing full time

p h a r m a c i s t s .

D r J. W. Ross, Senior Poisons Control Officer of the Victorian

Department of Health, estimated that from 1971 to 1977, approximately

6000 obstetric patients had b e e n treated with heroin (OT 9 1 1 9 - - 2 0 ) . He

stressed that as heroin had largely been withdrawn from retail

pharmacies, little was diverted to illicit use as a result of pharmacy

burglaries or armed h o l d - u p s .

OTHER SUBSTANCES ABUSED

Young people, in particular, have resorted to using several items

not normally considered as drugs to achieve a drugged effect. These

include nitrous oxide ('laughing gas'), amyl nitrite, aerosol sprays, glues, solvents and p e t r o l , all of which are 'sniffed'. Evidence

indicated that of these substances, g l u e , solvents and petrol posed

considerable problems. The other substances are usually used on an

experimental basis.

Witnesses commented that until recently, only a small number of

children were involved in glue sniffing---and then only on an irregular

b a s i s . Evidence in 1979, however, indicated that glue sniffing had

increased in p o p ularity until it now proved quite a problem amongst

certain y o u n g .

Glue sniffing was of particular concern for two reasons:

the toxic effects of the glue used could result in serious health

problems and even death; and

glue sniffing appeared to initiate violent c r i m e s .

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As with cough mixtures, those involved are usually children aged

between 6 and 16 years of age. Two attractions of the glues abused are

their ready availability and their low cost.

Petrol sniffing has developed into quite a problem especially

amongst certain sections of the Aboriginal community. The problem was

particularly noticeable in the Northern Territory where those involved were usually male Aboriginal children under 15 years of a g e , living away from E u ropean communities.

Examples of petrol and solvent sniffing in the Nor t h e r n Territory

given in both open and confidential sessions i n c l u d e d :

* About 300 petrol sniffers at Yirrkala and Elcho Island with 75 to

100 of these being 'heavy sniffers' who sniff petrol on a daily

basis and over long periods of time.

* A t Papunya boys aged 10 to 13 years sniffed petrol but only 5 to 6

were regarded as hard core (OT 9900).

* In 1978 at Maningrida there were about 50 Aboriginal children aged 9

to 14 years who sniffed petrol. This represented about 33 per cent

of that age group in the community. However, of those aged 8 to 19

years there was a list of 116 named as heavy users (OT 15716,21).

In 1974 a survey of alcohol and drug use among Queensland School

Children (Survey 17) showed 6.5 per cent of school students had used

inhalants. Of these 3.4 per cent were described as current users with

almost half of these inhaling more than once a month. The sex distribution showed 8.1 per cent of males and 4.9 per cent of females.Primary students reported higher incidences of sniffing than secondary s tudents.

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Annex III.l

Surveys on the Use of Drugs Referred to in Chapter 1.

1. 'Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption Patterns, February 1977', carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Open Exhibit 594).

2. Mental health survey carried out by the A.C.T. Health Service of the

Commonwealth Department of Health, 1971 (Open Exhibit 37).

3. 'Patterns of Tobacco Smoking in Australia. 2', N. J. Gray and D. J.

Hill (of the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria), Medical Journal of

Australia, 1977 (2), 327 (Open Exhibit 172).

4. Australian National University Drug Education Project surveys of

A.C.T. secondary schools, Dr R. P. Irwin, 1973 to 1974 (Open Exhibit

194).

5. 'Drug Use by the Young Population of Melbo u r n e ', by J. Kurpinski and

A. Stoller, 1972 (Open Exhibit 182).

6. 1A Survey of Drug Use in a Rural City', by G. D. G r a v e s , 1974 (Open

Exhibit 183).

7. 'Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Use in NSW', G. E g g e r , R. A. Champion,

Division of Health Services Research, Health Commission of New South Wales, 1977 (Open Exhibit 525).

8. 'Monitoring Drug Use in NSW', D. S. Bell R. A. Champion and A. J. E.

R o w e , 1971 to 1973 (Open Exhibit 525).

9. Canberra Population survey carried out by the Australian National

University Survey Research C entre, 1978 (Open Exhibit 37).

10. 'Survey of Drug Use in the suburb of Manly, Sydney', A. G eorge, 1971

(Open Exhibit 183).

11. 'A Survey of Women and Drugs in H o b a r t ', D. Carington Smith, 1975

(OT 7455).

12 Study undertaken in NSW for the Child Health Committee, G. Egger et

al, 1976 (Open Exhibit 314).

13. Survey of analgesic consumption in:

(a) Brisbane, 1970 by Abrahams et al, Med. J. Aust, 2, 397.

(b) Sydney, 1972 by Gillies et al, Med. J. Aust, 1, 974.

(c) Sydney, 1976 by Reynolds et al, Med. J. Aust, 2, 782.

(d) Ca n b e r r a , 1973 by Hennessy et al, Med. J. Aust, 1, 721.

(e) Melbourne, 1973 by Ferguson, Med. J. Aust, 1, 1271.

(f) Busselton, WA, 1975 by Cullen and Woodings, Med. J. Aust, 2, 211.

(Open Exhibit 379)

14. A survey of the drug use by the aboriginal population of B o u r k e , by

M. Kamien, 1975 (Open Exhibit 37).

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15. 'Australian Health Survey 1977 — 1978' carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Open Exhibit 681).

16. A survey of the drugs used by babies in Adelaide 1974 by Dr T . G. C.

Murrell and Dr J. R. Moss (OT 7374).

17. 'Alcohol and Drug Use by Queensland School C h i l d r e n ' , 1974, T. J .

Turner and L. M c C l u r e , 1974 (Open Exhibits 155,156).

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Chapter 2 Illegal U se of Drugs

This chapter discusses those drugs which are illegally u s e d , those

groups in the community most involved in the illegal use of drugs and

the various stages of illegal drug use. The extent to which drugs are

illegally used in the Australian community as a whole is discussed in

Part IV ---Term of Reference C.

For the purposes of this section illegal use is defined as the use

of any illegal drugs (e.g. cannabis, heroin) plus the use of any legal

drugs illegally obtained (e.g. from pharmacy robberies, forged

prescriptions, prescriptions obtained by false pretences or drugs bought from illegal drug dealers). Abuse of legal drugs, legally obtained, is

discussed under Part III ---Chapter 1 --- Legal Use of Drugs.

THE DRUGS ILLEGALLY USED

Evidence clearly established that:

* cannabis is the illegal drug most used in Australia --- its use is

widespread throughout the community and is increasing;

* heroin use is small in volume in comparison to cannabis but is

increasing;

* the legal narcotic drugs (e.g. dextromoramide, methadone and

pethidine) are popular alternatives to heroin, particularly in times of short supply and have the advantage of being readily available

(usually by obtaining prescriptions under false pretences or by

forgery);

* the use of LSD, which was very popular in the late 1960s and early

1970s has decreased and is now almost minimal;

* the use of cocaine although of relatively minor importance in the

late 1970s could become more important if overseas trends reach

Austr a l i a ;

* the illegal use of methaqualone, in particular Mandrax, has

increased; and

* amphetamines and barbiturates, both much abused in the late 1960s

and early 1970s, are not as popular now.

THE GROUPS IN THE COMMUNITY MOST INVOLVED

Some witnesses suggested that there may be some groups of the

community more susceptible to the illegal use of drugs than o t hers. The

Commission did not receive sufficient information to enable it to

pinpoint such g roups, but evidence did indicate that differences in

illegal use may exist between sexes, between different age g r o u p s ,

different types of young people, different socio-economic groups,

different States, different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities and different religions. Each of these areas is considered below.

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The major sources of information on those groups most involved in

illegal drug use a r e :

* drug sur v e y s----the drug surveys considered in this chapter are

listed in order of first appearance in Annex I I I .2 at the end of

this c h a p t e r ;

* opinions of people professionally involved in the drug culture (e.g.

law enforcement officers, medical practitioners and other people involved in drug rehabilitation or counselling);

* police statistics relating to drug o f f e n c e s .

The Commission noted, however, that the information from these

sources needed to be interpreted with care.

Evidence suggested the results of many surveys carried out in

Australia in recent years needed to be treated with reservation because o f :

- differences in the quality of research design of the various

s u r v e y s ;

- differences in the adequacy of the samples and the sophistication

and accuracy with which the data was a n a l y s e d ;

- questionable reliability or validity of res p o n s e s .

The latter is particularly important in view of the illegality of

the activities que s t i o n e d---some individuals may not wish to divulge

their participation. Some qualified witnesses also suggested that it

was crucial to have a high response rate to such s u r v e y s , otherwise it

was possible that people who did not reply would have responded quite

differently to those who did reply.

Opinions from people professionally involved with illegal drug users often appeared to be only educated guesses.

Care should be exercised when attempting to apply trends in police

statistics to the general user community, because drug users charged by police may not be representative of the total user population. In

addition, drug offender statistics depend on several variables, only one of which is illegal drug u s e . Others include increased police activity, increased police expertise and changing drug policies of the various

police forces. These other variables could be at least partially

responsible for any trends in the drug charge statistics.

The Sexes

Witnesses agreed that more males than females illegally used d r u g s . This trend was apparent in the results of various surveys of drug use

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(Surveys 1 to 9 in Annex III.2 ), regardless of whether the survey

investigated the illegal use of drugs in general or specific drugs such

as c a n n a b i s , the narcotics or the h a l l u c i n o g e n s . It was also apparent

regardless of the survey sa m p l e---males were more involved in school

s u r v e y s , youth surveys and general p o p u lation s u r v e y s .

Generally the male to female ratio was between three to two and two

to o n e .

The trend was also evident in a 1975 study of drug dependent persons

receiving treatment under the New South Wales methadone p rogram (Survey 10). Seventy per cent of those surveyed were males. Commonwealth

Police statistics also showed that more men were charged for unlawful

p o s session or use/administration of drugs than women. The male to

female ratio in these statistics was significantly larger than in the

s u r v e y s---in 1978 the ratio was approximately 11:2.

Of those illegal drug users who gave evidence to the Commission, the male to female ratio was 7:2---this ratio figure lies between those of

the survey findings and the drug offender statistics. This may indicate that the various reasons for giving evidence may have been more coercive for males than females.

Age

Evidence from m a n y witnesses indicated that although the ages of

people who illegally used drugs ranged from 14 to over 60, the majority

were aged between 16 and 35. Within this r a n g e , the 18 to 24 year age

group predominated. It was also stated that social use of cannabis by

well educated people over the age of 30 was not unusual (OT 95).

Witnesses suggested that whilst cannabis was used by people of a

wide variety of ages, users of narcotics, in particular heroin, were

generally in the 17 to 26 year age group. This evidence supported the

results of the 1975 study of the patients on the New South Wales

methadone treatment p rogram (Survey 10). Eighty one per cent of the

people surveyed were aged between 19 and 26, with only 16 per cent over

26 years of age.

The predominance of young marihuana users was shown in the results

of three surveys (Surveys 3, 11, 12). Table I I I .10 shows some of the

results of the survey 1 Drug Use in Adelaide 1978' undertaken on behalf

of the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of

Drugs (Survey 3).

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TABLE III. 10 Use of Marihuana in Adelaide by Age Group, Adelaide 1978.

Sample Ever Never Past Past Year Used but

Base Used Used Month Not Past Not Past

Month Year

% % X X X

Age:

13-17 years (680) 13 87 7 4 2

18-24 years (644) 36 64 15 10 11

25-34 years (900) 18 82 5 4 9

35-60 years (277) 4 96 1 1 2

(Users in the 13 to 17 year age group were mainly young people who had

left school. Only 6 per cent of this group still at school had ever

used m a rihuana).

(Open Exhibit 672, page 63)

Table III.10 shows that of all the 18 to 24 year-olds questioned, 36

per cent had used marihuana at least o n c e . In addition, the survey also

found that 33 per cent of all 17 year-olds had tried marihuana.

Expressing these results in terms of all those respondents who had ever

used marihuana, over 60 per cent were aged between 17 and 24 (10 per

cent being 17 years of a g e ) .

A similar trend was found by the 1978 Australian National University Canberra population survey (Survey 11) and a survey carried out in 1971

in the Sydney suburb of Manly (Survey 12). The Manly survey, which was

carried out before the Adelaide survey and presumably when marihuana use was less c ommon, found that all respondents who had ever used marihuana

were aged between 17 and 29. The 19 to 21 age group contained the

highest proportion of people who had used marihuana at least o n c e .

Commonwealth Police statistics indicated a similar trend. The

statistics showed that for every year since 1973, over 70 per cent of

all drug offenders were aged between 18 and 25. Only approximately 5

per cent were over 30 years old.

This trend was also observed amongst those illegal drug users who

gave evidence to the Commission. Of those witnesses who gave their age, almost 90 per cent were under 30 years of a g e . Approximately 50 per

cent belonged to the 20 to 24 year age group and approximately 30 per

cent were aged between 25 and 29.

Various surveys questioned different types of young people in an

attempt to identify whether all young people or specific groups were

likely to be involved in illegal drug use. The results of these surveys

clearly showed an increase in illegal drug use from young people still

attending school to those who had left school.

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School Students

Survey results generally indicated that few school children

illegally used drugs. In particular, these surveys (Surveys 1, 2, 4, 5,

6) showed:

* approximately 1 to 2 per cent of all secondary students had tried

narcotics;

* approximately 2 to 3 per cent of all secondary students had tried

hallucinogens; and

* approximately 5 per cent of all secondary students had tried

ma r i h u a n a .

The surveys also found that the proportion of students who had

illegally used any one of these three types of drugs increased from the

lower to the upper g r a d e s . This was particularly noticeable for

marihuana. For example, the Alcohol and Drug Use by Queensland School

Children survey (Survey 6) of 1974 found that 2.2 per cent of Grade 6

students (generally 10— 11 years of age), 6.3 per cent of Grade 10

students and 17.6 per cent of Grade 12 students had used marihuana at

least o n c e . 1.4 per cent, 4.0 per cent and 11.5 per cent respectively

were current users of the drug. Similar results were obtained by the

Australian National University Drug Education Project survey of A.C.T. secondary school students (1973, 1974) (Survey 5).

Survey results (Surveys 4, 5, 13) also indicated that the number of

students who had illegally used drugs increased over time. This was

particularly true for m a r i h u a n a . For ex a m p l e , the A.C.T. survey (Survey 5) found that whilst 8.5 per cent of Sixth Form students in 1973 used

the drug, 10.0 per cent were users in 1974. Only 8.3 per cent of Fifth

Form students in 1973 (i.e. presumably the same students who were in

Sixth Form in 1974) were u s e r s . A similar trend for the years 1972,

1973 and 1977 amongst Fourth Form students was found by New South Wales

researchers (Surveys 4, 13).

Youths who have left School

Several surveys (Surveys 1, 2, 3, 4) found that illegal drug use was

far more prevalent amongst those who had left school than those still

attending. For example, the 1972 survey, 'Drug Use by the Young

Population of M e l b o u r n e ' (Survey 1) found that 27.4 per cent of tertiary students and 19.7 per cent of working youth had illegally used d r u g s ,

compared with 12.4 per cent of Fifth Form students.

The Melbourne survey indicated that amongst tertiary students, the incidence of ever having illegally used drugs was more common amongst

students attending a university or a college of advanced education (32

per cent) than amongst those at a nursing school (20 per cent) or those

at a teacher's college (15 per cent). A similar pattern was found among regular users (i.e. not experimental users) ---22 per cent, 17 per cent, 8 per cent and 6 per cent of students at these respective institutions

were in this category.

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For w orking y o u t h , use was more common among blue collar workers

than white collar w o r k e r s 29 per cent and 17 per cent respectively

had illegally used drugs at least once and 16 per cent and 12 per cent

respectively were considered regular u s e r s .

The survey found that marihuana was the drug most often used.

Accordingly, the trend in the extent of illegal use of drugs in general

was also apparent in the use of m a r i h u a n a . Twenty-three per cent of

tertiary students, 16 per cent of working youth and only 9 per cent of

Fifth Form students had ever used marihuana. A similar trend was found

in the use of hallucinogens (though the percentage of users was

substantially r e d u c e d ) , but not for narcotics.

Although a similar percentage of working youth and tertiary students had tried narcotics, all of such working youth were regular users but

only a few of the students used regularly---most students were only

experimental users.

Another survey, 1 Monitoring Drug Use in NSW', 1971 — 1973 (Survey 4), found that marihuana use was very prevalent amongst technical college

students and psychiatric n u r s e s . The highest incidence of use was

amongst art school students---64 per cent had tried m a r i h u a n a , whilst 48 per cent were current users. Again, this incidence of usage was

considerably higher than that found amongst school students.

The survey 1 Drug Use in Adelaide 1978' (Survey 3) found that the use

of marihuana by 13 to 17 year-olds was greatest among those who had left

school at 15 or less---40 per cent had tried marihuana at least once

compared with only 25 per cent of those who had left school at 16 or 17

years of a g e . In the 13 to 17 year age group the survey did not find

any significant difference between those who were in the work f o r c e ,

those who had left school but were not in the work force or those who

were looking for a j o b . Approximately 30 per cent of each group had at

least tried marihuana.

Socio-economic Groups

F e w Australian surveys have attempted to determine if there is a

connection b etween socio-economic background and the illegal use of

d r u g s . The results of the surveys which did examine this question are

generally inconclusive.

Two surveys, 'Drug Use by the Young Population of M e l b o u r n e 1 , 1972

(Survey 1) and 'Monitoring Drug Use in N S W ' , 1971 — 73 (Survey 4) found

that there was a higher rate of illegal drug use amongst middle class

children than working class c h i l d r e n .

This finding was supported by a 1973 study of the Melbourne drug

sub-culture (Survey 8). Here, 56 per cent of known drug users surveyed

had fathers who were classified as either professionals or

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p r o p r i e t o r s---a p r o p ortion significantly higher than in the general

p o p ulation (17 per cent). The survey found that the percentage of

middle class fathers decreased in proportion to the 'intensity' of drug use. That is, children of unskilled workers were more likely to become

intravenous users than their middle class counterparts. Thirty-four per cent of subjects whose fathers were white collar or blue collar workers

were intravenous users compared with only 19 per cent of the children of

professionals and proprietors.

However, a study of the young population of Ballarat in 1974 (Survey

2) found that the children of fathers from the lower socio-economic

class occupations showed a higher proportion of illegal drug use than

did those with fathers in middle class occupations.

The survey 'Drug Use in Adelaide 1978' (Survey 3) examined the

educational q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , employment status, income level and

occupation of adult respondents. It found no significant difference in reported marihuana usage between those respondents who had obtained a

formal qualification since leaving school and those who had not.

Approximately 20 per cent of both groups had tried the drug. Of those

adults who had obtained post-school qualifications, use was highest

amongst those people who had obtained university degrees. Twenty-nine per cent of this group reported experience with marihuana. The rate of

use was lowest amongst those who had obtained qualifications from no n ­ degree conferring tertiary institutions. Fourteen per cent of this

group reported use.

Among adults categorised according to their activities in the last

we e k before the Adelaide survey, results showed that persons looking for a job were more likely to have used marihuana than those in the

workforce; similarly persons who were not working because of permanent or temporary injury or an inability to work were also more likely to use

marihuana than persons looking for a job. Persons working in the home

were less likely to use marihuana than persons in all other activity

c a t e g o r i e s .

Income level and occupational status of adults did not appear to be

related to reported marihuana use in the Adelaide survey. Reported use

amongst adults in different income categories was similar, with the

exception of the 'no i n c o m e ' category, in which reported usage was only

half that reported in other categories. Reported use according to

occupational status also showed a degree of similarity, although there was a lower rate of reported use in the lower status groups compared

with the reported use of persons in the higher status g r o u p s .

Commission witnesses involved in the treatment or counselling of

drug users generally considered that illegal drug use was not restricted to any particular social background or occupation. Users came from all

socio-economic groups and from all walks of life, most witnesses

asserted. One witness, Dr M. J. Roland, a psychiatrist who is in charge

of Wistaria H o u s e , a rehabilitation centre in Sydney, qualified this

general opinion by commenting that although the heroin addicts at

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Wistaria House did come from a cross section of the community, most were from the lower socio-economic groups (DT 1-4512)..

Since 1977, an entirely different type of person-- the 'hoy next door'-- had been appearing for treatment for drug dependence, indicating that illegal drug use had become an integral part of the 'ordinary workaday world* of many young people., hr K . 5.. T. Dalton, Director of Addiction Services of the Westmead Community Centre for Alcohol and Drug Addicts, New South Wales, described these users as generally7 being male,;

about 23 years of age; with a School Certificate or a Higher School Certificate; with an apprenticeship completed; employed; married or in a defactD relationship, with one child; having a good relationship with his parents and having illegally used drugs for a period of three years. Often his employer did not know- of his dependence on drugs (DT

10713— 14)*

Similar evidence was received in confidence from witnesses from several other States including Queensland and Western Australia.

A further source of information on possible trends in the

occupations of drug users is the Commonwealth Police statistics relating to drug offenders* The occupations most commonly given by drug

offenders have remained relatively unchanged from 1974 to 1977 * Some of these are detailed for the year 1977 in Table III . 11. which also expresses the number of offenders in that particular occupation as a percentage of all offenders as well as a percentage of all people

employed in that occupation. (A similar tabulation for 1.978 was not possible as the Commonwealth Police ceased using the Australian Bureau of Statistics occupation classifications).

Of the drug offenders classified as Craftsmen/labourers in Table III,11, a significant number claimed to be labourers (217b people representing 17.9 per cent of all offenders).

The Commission noted that these occupations relate to those people charged by police for drug offences. . They may not be truly

representative of the user community in general*

As is the case for drug offenders, the two occupations most commonly claimed by users who gave evidence to the Commission were unskilled workers and unemployed.

States and Territories

Although several surveys have been carried out in different States, the Commission found that these surveys could not be used to determine if illegal drug use varied between States. The surveys were carried out in different years, questioned different population groups (e.g. some questioned school students, others young people and others a general community sample), and had widely varying methodologies.

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liable III- 11 (Occupations Most Often Claimed by Drug Offenders (1977)

Occupation

Number of % of all Offenders Offenders

Offenders as a % of all employed in that occupation

Craftsmen and Labourers 4686 38.6 0.26 (13 in every 5Q0D)

(excluding Miners)

Unemployed 2945 24-2 0.92 (46 in every 5000)

Service» Sport and Recreation

683 5.6 0,20 (ID in every 5000)

Professional and Technical

643 5.3 0.ID ( 5 in every 5000)

Students (Other than Primary and Secondary) 497 4.1 0.26 (13 in every 5000)

Armed Services 104 0-9 0-15 (7 .5 in every 5000.)

(Source.: Commonwealth Police Statistical Survey - 'Drug Abuse in Australia 1977'..)

Table 111.12

Number of Drug Offenders expressed as a percentage of Population (1978}

No. of Drug No. of Drug Offenders

Offenders per ID ODD people

New South Wales 4502 9

Victoria 1997 5

Queensland 1691 8

South Australia. 705 6

Western Australia 682 6

Tasmania 255 6

Northern Territory 100 ID

Australian Capital 138 7

Territory

Australia as a whole 10 070 7

(Sources: Draft Commonwealth Police Statistical Survey -'Drug fibuse in Australia 1978' and the Australian Year Book 1977-78.)

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In the Commission's hearings, witnesses generally agreed that

illegal drug use was a major problem in all States except T a s m a n i a .

They further suggested that the extent of the p roblem was related to

population, in that there were more illegal users in the more populated

States. Similarly, witnesses considered that Tasmania's small

population, together with its isolation from the mainland, were

significant factors in containing the extent of illegal drug use in that S t a t e .

This trend was also shown in the Commonwealth Police statistics

concerning the home State or Territorial address claimed by drug

o f f e n d e r s . These statistics showed more offenders claimed home

addresses in the more populated States. In 1978, almost 45 per cent of

all drug offenders claimed home addresses in New South Wales; almost 20

per cent claimed to be from Victoria whilst 17 per cent claimed they

were from Queensland. From 1974 to 1978, the statistics showed that the

proportion of offenders claiming to be from New South Wales and Western

Australia had generally decreased whilst the proportion claiming to be from Victoria, and Tasmania had increased.

A comparison by the Commission of the home address statistics with

the population statistics of the relevant State or Territory, is shown

in Table I I I . 12.

Commonwealth Police statistics also indicated that population

density may be related to the number of drug offenders on a regional

basis. In each State, more offenders came from the capital city than

from the other areas of that State.

Again, it must be stressed that the above figures deal only with

drug o f fenders---the same trends may not apply to the illegal drug user

population in general. The statistics may also reflect the size and

success of the various State and Territory Police Drug S q u a d s .

Ethnic Backgrounds and Nationalities

F e w surveys have considered ethnic background and nationality in

relation to illegal drug u s e . One survey which d i d , 'Monitoring Drug

Use in New South Wales', 1971 to 1973 (Survey 4), found that amongst

high school students, the father's country of origin bore no significant association with the illegal use of drugs (OT 14744). It must be

r e m e m b e r e d , however, that drug use by high school students appears to be significantly below that in the general community and that trends in the user population at large may not be apparent at the high school level.

The 1972 survey 'Drug Use by the Young Population of M e l b o u r n e '

(Survey 1) found that the highest rates of users were among those

respondents who came to Australia from the British Isles and western

Europe. In this category, almost 30 per cent reported they had used

illegal drugs at some t i m e . Other young imm i g r a n t s , including those

from southern and eastern Europe and Asia, reported illegal drug usage

A108

almost three times less frequently. A u stralian-born young people

indicated an incidence of usage mi d - w a y b etween the other two groups.

In line wi t h these r e s u l t s , there were very few southern and eastern

European immigrants in the Melbourne drug sub-culture survey sample

(Survey 8). There was, however, an over-representation of children of

eastern E u ropean parents (about 7 per cent). The proportion of subjects of southern Europe parentage was negligible (about 1.5 per c e n t ) .

Considerable evidence was received by the Commission concerning the involvement of some m igrant groups in the production and trafficking of illegal drugs, but few witnesses gave evidence about illegal drug use by migrant c o m m u n i t i e s . One witness from a migrant association who did

discuss the topic in confidential session commented that very few

migrants took 'h a r d 1 drugs. He considered that illegal drug use among

migrants was generally confined to 'softer' drugs, such as marihuana.

Commonwealth Police statistics show that the m a jority of drug

offenders charged by police are Australian citizens---that is, the

offenders were either born in Australia or had become naturalised

A u s t r a l i a n s . The actual proportion has remained fairly constant since 1975 and in 1978 was calculated as 80 per cent.

Of the remaining 20 per cent who had b e e n born in a foreign country

and were not naturalised at the time of their being c h a r g e d , 35 per cent

were British citizens and 24 per cent were New Zealand citizens. The

remaining 41 per cent of non-Australians came from a wide va r i e t y of

countries w i t h no one country being named as the home country by more

than 5 per cent of the offenders. The Commission noted that the

statistics take into consideration only the country of birth or

naturalisation. They do not discriminate between a tourist, a newly

arrived settler or a person who has been in Australia for many years.

Religions

F e w Australian surveys have explored the possibility of a

relationship between religion and illegal drug use and little evidence of this was received by the Commission. F u r t h e r , police statistics on

drug offenders do not record information on the religion of offenders.

Two Victorian surveys, a survey of the young population of Melbourne in 1972 and a corresponding 1974 survey of the young people of Ballarat

(Surveys 1 and 2) reported higher rates of illegal drug use among those

yo u n g people claiming either to have no religion or to be agnostics. In

Ballarat 29 per cent of this group reported having at least tried

illegal drugs in contrast to 17 per cent of Catholics and 15 per cent

of Protestants. In Melbourne the difference was even more pronounced.

H e r e , 40 per cent of those claiming to have no religion or to being

agnostics reported having illegally used drugs, compared with 14 per

cent saying they were Catholics and 16 per cent of P r o t e s t a n t s .

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The Melbourne survey also found that 29% of Jewish respondents had

illegally used d r u g s . This incidence was significantly lower than that of those professing to have no religion or to be an a g n o s t i c , but was

significantly higher than that of those who claimed to be Protestant or

C a t h o l i c .

Similar results were obtained in the 1973 study of the Melbourne

drug sub-culture (Survey 8) where two-thirds of the subjects---all

subjects illegally used drugs---claimed not to belong to any religious denomination. This proportion varied between users of different d r u g s . Seventy-six per cent of marihuana users claimed no religious beliefs

compared with only 49 per cent of intravenous users.

Results showing similar trends were found by the 1971 to 1973 survey 'Monitoring Drug Use in New South Wales' (Survey 4). This survey found

that 35. per cent of respondents who professed no religion had used

m a r i h u a n a , whilst 24 p e r cent of Jewish respondents and only 13 per cent

of Roman Catholics and 12.5 per cent of Protestants had used marihuana.

Summary

Evidence to the Commission repeatedly indicated that whilst in the early 1970s illegal drug use in Australia was confined to certain

community groups it had spread by 1979 to almost every social,

economic, cultural and age g r o u p . Some groups w e r e , however, more

involved in illegal drug use than others. In summary, evidence

indicated that:

more males illegally use drugs than fe m a l e s ;

the majority of illegal drug users are aged between 16 and 35 years,

with the largest proportion of users belonging to the 18 to 24 age

group;

the predominance of young users is particularly noticeable in

relation to heroin;

there is practically no illegal drug use in primary schools and

little in high schools, although an increasing percentage of older high school students have used marihuana at least once;

illegal drug use is far more prevalent amongst those who have left

school than those still attending. The major drug used is

marihuana, with narcotics used to a much lesser extent;

no relationship has been conclusively established between socio­ economic background (including such factors as the father's

occupation, own occupation, educational qualification, and income

level) and illegal drug u s e ;

almost one in every 100 people listed as unemployed and over one in

every 400 students (other than primary or secondary students) were

charged with a drug related offence in 1977;

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- illegal drug use may be less common amongst southern and eastern

E uropean migrants but more common amongst those from the British

Isles or w estern Europe wh e n compared with those people born in

A u s t r a l i a ;

- illegal drug use is more common amongst those who profess no

religion than amongst those of a particular faith.

STAGES OF ILLEGAL DRUG USE

Numerous witnesses suggested there are various stages of illegal

drug use. These stages m a y be in terms of intensity of use or in terms

of the type of drugs used.

The 1973 Report of the Canadian Commission of Inquiry into the N o n ­

Medical Use of Drugs (the Le Dain Commission) suggested that it was

helpful to employ the concept of a 'drug career' w h e n describing a

person's introduction and involvement in the use of drugs. This concept does not imply that there is a natural progression from one stage to the

next; it is me r e l y used as an historical description.

The Le Da i n Report identified the stages of this 'career' as:

- initial or experimental use (when people have not yet learned to use

and pos i t i v e l y interpret the effects of drugs);

- occasional use (characterised by episodic consumption dependent on

fortuitous developments such as sharing another user's drug and

beginning to ma s t e r methods of a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ) ;

- regular use (which involves systematic consumption of a drug even if

the frequency of use is l o w ) .

The Le Da i n Re p o r t emphasised the importance of availability. It

suggested that experimental and occasional users generally have no

personal supplies of a drug whilst the regular user has a sufficient and

relatively continuous source of supply (Open Exhibit 22 pp 707--26).

Progression in Drug Types

Dr G. Milner, Director of the Victorian Alcoholics and Drug

Dependent Persons Services, suggested in evidence that there is

frequently a definite sequence of drugs used. He said that initially,

the drugs tended to be beer and wine. These were followed by either

cigarettes or hard liquor; then marihuana; then other 'soft' drugs such as barbiturates, amphetamines and tranquillisers; then LSD and other hallucinogens and finally, the 'hard' d r u g s---narcotics (in particular

heroin) and cocaine.

Dr Mi l n e r stressed that numerous people stopped at each of these

levels and that only a few arrived at the final stage of narcotic use.

Dr Milner added that progression to a higher ranked drug was directly

Alll

related to the intensity of use at the previous level (OT 2 6 0 5--06).

Other evidence indicated that this sequence is not the only possible

route to heroin use (e.g. a user may progress directly from marihuana to

heroin), but generally describes those steps often o b s e r v e d .

Results of the 1973 study of the Melbourne drug sub-culture (Survey

8) supported Dr Milner's assertion that progression to a higher ranked

drug was directly related to the intensity of use at the previous level.

The Melbourne study found a progression of intensity, both in terms of

frequency of marihuana use and the total number of occasions marihuana

had been u s e d , from those users who only used m a r i h u a n a , through those

who also used other 1 s o f t ' drugs (these were classed as 'multi-oral'

users) to those who used drugs intravenously.

The study also found that the earlier the age of commencing to smoke

m a r i h u a n a , the greater was the p o s s ibility of the subject progressing to the intravenous use of d r u g s . This trend was not significantly

influenced by the time which had elapsed since initial use of m a r i h u a n a . Of those who had used marihuana for at least three years and who had

started use before the age of 17 , 45 per cent were in the intravenous

use group, 40 per cent were in the multi-oral use group and only 14 per

cent had confined themselves to marihuana use.

The Commission noted that this survey was directed at people who had

a record of heavy illegal drug use and the results need not reflect

patterns of illegal use by the general population.

A widely held community belief which is associated with the

progression of use discussed above is that the use of marihuana leads to

the use of 'hard' drugs such as heroin. Evidence to the Commission

indicated that although many heroin users may have used marihuana

initially, many more marihuana users did not progress past that d r u g .

Qualified witnesses said that in pharmacological terms there did not

appear to be any causal relationship between the use of marihuana and

the use of heroin.

Several witnesses suggested that any progression which did occur was more likely to be due to social or personal factors such as peer group

pressure, the common sources of supply and the illegality of both d r u g s . In p a r t i c u l a r , a number of users who gave evidence in confidential

sessions explained that they had first tried heroin when their marihuana dealer had offered it as a substitute during a marihuana drought.

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ANNEX III.2

Surveys Referred to in Chapter 2

1. 'Drug Use b y the Young Population of M e l b o u r n e ', J. Krupinski and A.

Stoller, 1972 (Open Exhibit 182).

2. 'A Survey of Drug Use in a Rural City', G. D. G r a v e s , 1974 (Open

Exhibit 183)

3. 'D r u g Use in A delaide 1978', a survey carried out for the South

A u s t ralian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs. (Open Exhibit 672).

4. 'Monitoring Drug Use in New South Wales', D. S. B e l l , R . A. Champion

and A. J . E. Rowe, 1971 to 1973 (Open Exhibit 525).

5. Australian National University Drug Education Project, survey of

A.C.T. secondary schools, Dr R. P. Irwin, 1973 to 1974 (Open Exhibit

194).

6. 'Alcohol and Drug Use by Queensland School Children', T. J. Turner

and L. McClure, 1974 (Open Exhibits 155, 156).

7. The Beach and School Surveys carried out by the Study Group of the

Barwon Regional Association for Alcohol and Drug Dependence, 1976

(Open Exhibit 185).

8. Survey of the Drug Sub Culture of Melbourne, J. Krupinski, 1973

(Open Exhibit 182).

9. 1 The A g e ' Opinion Poll, 1978 (Open Exhibit 680).

10. 'Characteristics of 635 addicts for which methadone was a u t h o r i s e d ' , I. Reynolds, D i vision of He a l t h Services Research, Health Commission of New South Wales, 1975 (OT 14740).

11. Canberra Population survey carried out by the Australian National

U n i versity Survey Research C e n t r e , 1978 (Open Exhibit 37).

12. 'Survey of Drug Use in the suburb of Manly, S y d n e y ' , A. G e o r g e , 1971

(Open Exhibit 182).

13. 'Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Use in N S W ’ , G. Egger and R. A.

Champion, Division of Health Services Research, Health Commission of Ne w South Wales, 1977 (Open Exhibit 525).

A113

M U

Chapter J Why People Use Drags

In this section of the Commission's report mention is made of the more important and more frequently mentioned non-medical factors that witnesses felt influenced people to either commence or continue the use of drugs. These include such factors as experimentation,, peer group pressure, mood altering influences, f a m i l y influences, cultural

influences, availability, advertising and religion.

It was quite clear from the evidence presented before the Commission that there was no one single factor that was both necessary and

sufficient for people to use drugs.. Furthermore, while factors such as experimentation, peer group pressure and availability appeared to play a significant part in the decision to commence the use of drugs, factors

such as mood altering, family and cultural influences tended to have more effect on the drug user to continue use..

EXPERIMENTATION

Perhaps the most frequent reason given by witnesses as a possible cause of drug use was curiosity leading to experimentation.

Experimentation and curiosity are regarded as being interchangeable terms for the purpose of this section.

In evidence before the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs and incorporated as evidence in this

Commission, the Medical Director of the Alcohol and Drug Addicts Treatment Board of South Australia, Dr Gabrynowicz, said that people use drugs as an antidote for boredom, as a means of escaping pain or any disphoria, or through curiosity (OT 8725).

Another witness before the South. Australian Commission said that young drug users seemed to be fascinated with the knowledge of the effects and properties of drugs gained from their experiences with those drugs (OT 8105).

In evidence before the Commission Dr J. Krupinski, Director of Research, Mental Health Authority Institute of Victoria, presented a copy of the 1973 report 'Drug Use by the Young Population of Melbourne' (Open Exhibit 182). This report discussed a number of surveys,

including a 1973 survey of drug use by the Melbourne drug 'sub-culture', in which all respondents were illegal drug users In this survey, respondents were asked why they tried particular drugs. The survey results showed that the proportions of users quoting curiosity as a reason for first trying specific drugs were: marihuana 78.8 per cent, hallucinogens 79.8 per cent, stimulants 37.1 per cent, cocaine 63.5 per

cent, narcotics 62.1 per cent and barbiturates 27.3 per cent (Open Exhibit 182).

AILS

In a 1975 report entitled 1A Survey of Women and Drugs in H o b a r t ',

Mrs D. Ca r i n g t o n Smith found that curiosity was listed as a major reason

for c o m mencing the use of t o b a c c o , s t i m u l a n t s , marihuana and

h a l l u c i n o g e n s . Curiosity was mentioned by only 2.7 per cent of the

survey sample who used narcotics. The report was included in evidence

before the South Australian Commisson into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs and sub s e q u e n t l y incorporated as evidence in this Commission (OT 7461,

7 4 6 4 — 6).

In evidence before the Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare, D e t e c t i v e Inspector T. W. Cashion presented the results of the Tasmanian D r u g Bureau's 1974--75 survey of 91 drug offenders. Curiosity was the

d o minant reason given by offenders (72.5 per cent) for commencing drug

use (Open Ex h i b i t 378, pages 1 9 3 2 - - 3 3 ) .

In a report to the New South Wales Catholic Social Welfare

C o m m i s s i o n entitled 'The Use of Drugs b y Students in Catholic Schools', Mr V. M. N esbitt quoted several local and overseas studies which

m e n t i o n e d curiosity as the main reason for taking d r u g s . These studies

included a Fi n n i s h survey involving 2702 pupils between 14 and 17 years

of age from 34 secondary schools where 65 per cent named curiosity as

the mo s t important reason for taking drugs. The report also mentions

that the U.S. Select Committee on Crime regarded curiosity as probably

one of the most important factors in the initial use of drugs (OT 14745,

14753).

E v i d e n c e extracted from the 1970 interim report of the Canadian

C o m m i s s i o n of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs mentioned that

there was at that time a fad for drug-taking and experimentation (Open

Ex h i b i t 21, page 223).

In the 1973 publ i c a t i o n 'The Use and Abuse of Drugs' prepared by the

D i v i s i o n of Health Education, Health Commission of New South Wales, it

was s u ggested that experimentation was a natural part of the normal

learning process and that some people had used it in an attempt to try

and d i s c o v e r by personal experience the effects of different d r u g s :

It is natural for all people to experiment. Unless we accept

wi t h o u t question what we read or are told, this is the main way

we learn. So it is natural that people will wish to experiment

wi t h drugs, to try and discover by personal experience the

effects of different drugs, particularly those which have some stimulant or depressant effect.

(Open Exhibit 666, page 18)

PEER GR O U P PRESSURE

W h i l e expe r i m e n t a t i o n m a y be the most important reason for first

using drugs the influence of pe e r group pressure was seen by many as the

next mo s t important reason.

A116

In their book entitled 'Drugs, Society and Personal C h o i c e 1 (Open

Exhibit 601), H. and 0. J. Kalant stated that the use of drugs was a

necessary condition for admission to some social g r o u p s . The authors

cited as examples the glass of beer at the hotel as being the 'admission

t i c k e t ' to the society of regular patrons and the link between marihuana and the youth culture.

Closely related to the use of drugs for facilitating social

interaction is their use as a necessary condition for admission to some social groups. A glass of beer at the pub has

traditionally been the 'admission t i c k e t ' to the society of

regular patrons. It provides the feeling of kinship which

unites a group of otherwise unrelated or unequal p e o p l e . In

the same way, the use of marihuana by ma n y young people in

North American society today appears to be related, at least in

part, to a desire to show that they belong to the youth

culture, as opposed to the orthodox culture of their parents.

(Open Exhibit 601, page 44)

The Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare's 1977 Report, 'Drug Problems in A u s t r a l i a---an intoxicated society?' (The Baume Report)

identified peer group pressure as the most important factor leading to

young people smoking (Open Exhibit 379, page 85).

In confidential evidence also presented to the South Australian

Royal Commission a psychologist provided data on the groups with whom

students preferred to communicate their worries. This showed that 38.7 per cent of all students (455) included in the study used a peer group

as the preferred communication a r e a . 40 p e r cent of tobacco users

turned to a peer group in comparison with 34.4 per cent of non-users.

The witness claimed that this peer group involvement could influence

youth to commence using t o b a c c o .

A similar pattern was reflected in data on students use of alcohol

with non-users reflecting a lower rate of p r eferred communication with peer groups at 24.6 per cent compared with users 41.1 per cent.

Another indicator of the influence of peer group pressure on the use

of alcohol was given in data included in the Que e n s l a n d Department of

Education's Report, 'Alcohol and Drug Use by Que e n s l a n d School C h i l d r e n ' (Volume 1) (Open Exhibit 155) wh i c h was included in evidence by Mr P . J .

Varley, a Research Officer from the D e p a r t m e n t . The data reproduced in

Table III.13 shows that by Grade 12 the pro p o r t i o n of students who would

use alcohol if it was offered to them by a friend was 43.5 per cent and

that an additional 42.5 per cent would consider u s e .

Dr J . H. Stewart who appeared on be h a l f of the Analgesics Sub­

committee of the Australasian Society of N e p h r o l o g y and the Australian

Kidney Foundation claimed:

All 7

On leaving school, young wo m e n are encouraged by their

workmates to take powders to relieve the tedium of the job or

improve p e r f o r m a n c e , and the same remedy may be adopted later

to overcome the stress of running a household wi t h children and

the bor e d o m of suburban life.

(OT 10603)

Several witnesses commented on the influences of peer group pressure in a more general context. In a submission to the South Australian

Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs and also incorporated as evidence in this Commission, Dr W. F . Salter, Superintendent of

Hillcrest Hospital stated:

Young people tend to be influenced to take drugs by group

p r e s s u r e .

(OT 8104)

This was supported in evidence by Dr P. J. J. O'Neill, Co-ordinator

of A d diction Services for the Hunter Health Region, Ne w South Wales

Health Commission, who claimed that peer group pressure is one of the

ma i n reasons why people started using d r u g s :

At the p r i m a r y level the p roblem lies in some faults in

s o c i e t y---...perhaps the excessive availability, perhaps the

excessive peer p attern and pressure to use...These factors

combine to cause some people to start running into strife...

(OT 11746— 47)

In the 1973 survey of the Melbourne drug sub-culture mentioned

earlier, the results indicate that conformity or peer group pressure

was one of the major reasons for trying specific d r u g s . The survey

results showed that the proportions of users quoting conformity as a

reason for first trying specific drugs were: marihuana 27.0 per cent,

hallucinogens 21.3 per cent, stimulants 17.4 per cent, cocaine 20.7 per c e n t , narcotics 18.5 per cent and barbiturates 7.6 per cent. The survey

report stated:

Conformity and availability were the two next most common

reasons for trying a particular drug, but they lagged far

behind curiosity in frequency.

. . .Although these figures could possibly have been exaggerated in using the chain interview m e t h o d , it is clear that,

although conformity did not play a dominant role as a cause of

drug use, those deeply involved in the drug scene were mixing

mainly amongst themselves. (Open Exhibit 182, page 76)

In a submission from the Victorian Foundation on Alcoholism and Drug D e p e ndence Mr D. J. Travers claimed that many young people belong to a

sub-culture in w h i c h their group is the pivot and drug-taking the

reality. Some of the members saw the support of the group as more

important than the drugs (Open Exhibit 286, page 20).

A119

Other witnesses to mention peer group pressure as one of the main

causes of illicit drug taking included Dr C. Sprague from the

rehabilitation organisation GROW and Dr W. A. Spence, a Consultant

Specialist in A l c oholism and Drug Dependence for the New South Wales

Health Commission. Dr Spence's comments related solely to the abuse of

heroin.

.. .Most of the heroin addicts I have met had started at the age

of about 14, 15 or 16, while they were at high school with

their friends in g r o u p s ; they had picked up from their peer

group, with peer group pressure, a habit which gave them

pleasure, excitement and a change---a change of mood, a change

of themselves. When they became dependent on it, at times of

stress or tension they tended to use...

(OT 11284)

MOOD ALTERING INFLUENCES

The evidence before the Commission indicated that once having

commenced drug use only a small proportion of experimenters become

regular drug u s e r s . Important factors leading to continued drug use

were anxiety, loneliness, boredom and unhappiness.

In a submission made to the South Australian Royal Commission into

the Non-Medical Use of Drugs and incorporated into the evidence of this Commission, Ms N. C h a n t , executive assistant to the Secretary General of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), and Ms F. Hollier, a

researcher with ACOSS, claimed that the expansion of the pharmaceutical industry to cover problems such as anxiety, loneliness, boredom and

unhappiness has led to the opinion being reinforced that more and more

aspects of everyday human behaviour, interactions and conflicts can be cured by the use of drugs.They said:

Drugs are playing an increasingly important role in the health care of individuals in our society. The function of drugs is

the solution of medical problems. T h e r e f o r e , drugs can only

have a function to the extent that a particular problem can be

interpreted as m e d i c a l . The scope of medical problems has been expanded largely by the pharmaceutical industry, to include anxiety, loneliness, b o r e d o m , unhappiness etc.---all of which were considered, before the advent of drugs as part of the

everyday problems of life. Through this relabelling and

redefinition the production of a drug claiming specific

curative effects for almost any human condition is legitimized. This legitimacy is reinforced by physicians and patients who

are convinced that drug intervention is required in more and

more aspects of everyday human b e h a v i o u r , interactions and

c o n f l i c t s .

(OT 14554)

In their book entitled 'Drugs, Society and Personal C h o i c e ' (Open

Exhibit 601), H. and 0. J. Kalant argued that in some cases,

psychoactive drugs were used for reasons that may be medical in n a t u r e , without being prescribed by a doctor. The relief of tension and anxiety

A120

with alcohol was described as an example of the use of psychoactive

drugs for therapeutic r e a s o n s . The authors stated:

.. .most use of psychoactive drugs for such quasi-medical

purposes is less clearly recognised by the users themselves as

a form of treatment. Many people find themselves in chronic

states of depression, anxiety, b o r e d o m , over-aggressiveness, or other 'emotional u n - e a s e ' because of unsatisfactory situations at w o r k , at h o m e , or in relation to friends, f i n a n c e s , and

other aspects of everyday life. If they are unable to find

solutions to these problems, the temporary relief provided by

the use of drugs wh i c h alter their consciousness or mood may

make the continued use of these substances more and more

a t t r a c t i v e .

(Open Exhibit 601, page 50)

In other evidence also presented before the South Australian Royal

Commission into the Non-Medical Use of D r u g s , Dr V. Tottman, a medical

p r a c t i t i o n e r , commented:

...much non-medical use of drugs reflected not only man's

desire for pleasure through the medium of drug-taking, but also his need to diminish anxiety, tension, social and psychological i s o l a t i o n . (OT 7860)

Dr Tot t m a n added that ve r y many drugs were taken not by choice but

b ecause of a tremendous tension that drugs actually overcome. He said

he was par t i c u l a r l y concerned that the education system had little

emphasis on such things as parenting, communication skills and informed unbiased education on drug use (OT 7887).

The R e verend F. J. Nile, National Co-ordinator and State Director of the Aus t r a l i a n F e stival of Light felt that there were many different

p s y c h o logical reasons for people commencing use of sensual drugs:

People start using the sensual drugs for many different

p sychological reasons: to relieve anxiety or depression, to

escape the harshness of reality, for a thrill, or because of

social pressures. The motivations are often unconscious and

are highly i n d i v i d u a l .

(OT 10296)

This was supported in confidence by a witness involved in the

rehabilitation of drug users. He described the heavy heroin user as:

...emotionally immature, a dependent type personality who is

not capable at that time of really handling stress and strain

of the ordinary living, not capable of looking at the

actualities of reality.

(CT)

A121

Another witness who saw the use of drugs as a method of escaping tension and pain was the Reverend ft. Smith, a former executive officer of the Social Justice Committee from the Uniting Church of Australia The Reverend Smith in evidence to both the South Australian Royal Commission into the Son-Medical Use of Drugs and this Commission stated:

The main cause of drug use in our society lies in an underlying philosophy of life which has given rise to breakdown in

personal relationships, a loss of meaning and an escapist attitude towards tension m d pain. This philosophy is

unconsciously accepted by a large number in the community and is largely unchallenged.. (OT 7326)

A number of witnesses before both the South Australian Royal Commission and this Commission felt that boredom played a major part in people starting to use drugs. One witness, Dr W. F. Salter,

Superintendent of the Hillcrest Hospital in South Australia, said::

My experience of the things that encourage the use of drugs are boredom, failure of identity formation, alienation from the community and from family, absence of religious meaning to life and inability to deal with chronic depression and anxietv.

(OT 8106)

Finally, the results of the 1973 survey of the Melbourne drug sub­ culture cited earlier in this chapter, show quite clearly the dominance of mood altering influences such as excitement, mental stimulation and relaxation, as reasons for continued use of drugs. These results are

rep reduced in Table III.. 14.

Table III.14; Seasons for being a Drug User

Marijuana Multi-oral Intravenous users users users

% % %

Excitement 33.5 29.9 23.4

Mental Stimulation 20.1 23.8 11.7

Relaxation 13.9 6.2 2.2

Escape from self 2.5 7.1 15.6

To gain self knowledge 16.0 25.0 11.2

Other intrapersonal 3.1 5.2 12.9

Rebellion 7,7 7.4 £$..&

(Open Exhibit 182, page 77)

FAMILY ISFLUENCES

It was stated by a number of witnesses appearing before the

Commission that the family background of the user had influenced the commencement of drug use. However some witnesses thought that an addict was not necessarily a product of his or her borne environment. Dr J· 8 ■

A122

Moss from the Foundation for Multi-Disciplinary Education in Community- Health and Dr T.. G. C.. Murrell, Department of Community- Medicine, University of Adelaide, in a joint statement to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs which was

incorporated as evidence in this Commission said parents may be educating their children in the use of drugs as a preferred method of coping:

If we look at the period of time from discharge from obstetric hospital to six months of age, we find that:;

31 per cent of babies had received sleeping medicines at some time;

66 per cent of babies had received analgesics at some time;

__ It is our belief that we are beginning to accumulate

evidence that drug giving by parents is for them a learned behaviour, that children are exposed to parental modelling of drug taking behaviour from an early age and we wonder whether in this way children, are being conditioned to :ααα-medicai' use

of drugs that may establish life-time patterns in which drugs may be a preferred method of coping. (OT 7376)

The Report of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare, 'Drug Problems in Australia---an intoxicated society7 ’, quoted evidence from a Royal College of Physicians of London 1977 report which claimed that parental example often leads children to develop a smoking habit:

Some children begin to smoke at 5 years of age, and it has been found that about one third of adult regular smokers began before they were 9.. About 80 per cent of children who smoke regularly continue to do so when they grow up..

(Open Exhibit 379, page 35)

The Senate report also claimed that a smoking parent had twice the chance of having a smoking child and a smoking older brother H a d twice the chance of having a smoking younger brother (Open Exhibit 179, page 85).

Mrs P. L. Searles from the Drug Users Parents Aid Foundation (BUPA) τη Victoria pointed out that each young person who had attended the 5UPA Foundation had had a background of family problems including divorce, alcoholism and lack of discipline. Mrs Searles comnented:

The conclusion put forward by the BUPA Foundation is that the problem of drug misuse stems from home environment pressures; this in turn is brought about by social pressures on the

parents.

(OT 3222)

AI23

In evidence also presented to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of D r u g s , one of the main reasons given for

starting to drink alcohol by respondents to D. Carington Smith's Ά

Survey of Women and Drugs in H o b a r t ’ was the introduction to alcohol by

adults or family (OT 7462).

The influence of the home environment as far as the first use of

alcohol was concerned was shown quite clearly in the results of the

Queensland Department of Education's Report, 'Alcohol and Drug Use by

Queensland School Children' (Volume 1) (Open Exhibit 155). Table I I I .15 shows that almost 70 per cent of young school age alcohol users had

their first drink in the home.

The data in Table I I I .16 shows the growing influence of peer group

pressure on the older students in grade 12 with 23.9 per cent having

their first drink with friends. However the dominance of the parents

involvement was still evident.

In evidence also presented to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of D r u g s , Dr W. F. Salter, Medical

Superintendent of Hillcrest Hospital in South Australia felt that

rejection by their own family was just one of the many reasons why

people use drugs (OT 8105).

D r W. F. Salter's evidence was supported by the WHOS Fellowship

submission to this Commission which suggested that whilst a drug user

could be influenced by his or her environment, the home environment was

not the only force behind a person deciding to use d r u g s :

An addict can be affected by home environment, e.g. broken

h o m e , drinking parent, etc., but he is not necessarily a

product of this e n v i r o n m e n t . Many persons are blind to the

real causes of addiction because they look for external causes. Addiction comes from within. A n addict is an addict despite

his environment.

(OT 10078).

The results of the 1972 survey 'Drug Abuse by the Young Population

of M e l b o u r n e ' ^'suggest that the prevalence of drug use did not seem to

discriminate between intact and broken families. However the results

from the 1973 survey of the Melbourne drug sub-culture showed that,

while almost two-thirds (65.9 per cent) of those respondents with a non- disrupted family claimed that their parents were close to each other,

26.8 per cent admitted to an existing conflict. Unfortunately relevant information was not available for non-drug users but, as can be seen

from Table I I I . 17 the proportion of conflicted marriages increased with

the intensity of drug use.

A The res ults of this survey wer e published in the 1973 report of the

same title (Open Exhibit 182), mentioned previously.

A124

Table III.15

S i t u a t i o n in w h i c h D r i n k e r s h a d t h e i r F i r s t D r i n k

S i t u a t i o n :

G r a d e ( P e r c e n t a g e ) W e i g h t e d

T o t a l

6 7 8 9 10 11 12 P e r c e n t a g e

A t h o m e 7 9 . 5 7 0 . 4 6 7 . 1 7 0 . 1 6 0 . 8 6 9 . 2 6 7 . 0 6 8 . 3

A t a r e l a t i v e ' s

h o m e

4 . 6 5 . 6 1 . 6 5 . 1 7 . 0 5 . 5 4 . 0 4 . 9

A t a p a r t y 7 . 9 1 2 . 0 1 9 . 3 1 4 . 3 1 7 . 3 1 1 . 9 1 6 . 2 1 4 . 7

A t a f r i e n d ' s h o m e 1 . 3 1 . 4 3 . 2 3 . 7 4 . 3 3 . 0 5 . 1 3 . 2

In a c a r 2 . 0 2 . 3 1 . 2 2 . 7 1.2 0 . 9 0 . 5 1.7

A t a h o t e l 2 . 0 3 . 7 2 . 0 1 . 7 2 . 1 4 . 0 2 . 1 2 . 4

E l s e w h e r e 2 . 6 4 . 6 5 . 6 2 . 4 7 . 3 5 . 5 5 . 1 4 . 9

S a m p l e N 1 5 1 2 1 6 2 4 9 2 9 4 3 2 9 3 2 9 3 7 6 1 9 4 4

( S o u r c e : O p e n E x h i b i t 1 55, p a g e 43,.)

T a b l e I I I . 1 6

S o c i a l C o n t e x t o f F i r s t D r i n k

S o c i a l C o n t e x t

6 7

G r a d e

8

( P e r c e n t a g e )

9 10 11 12

W e i g h t e d

T o t a l

P e r c e n t a g e

P a r e n t s 8 5 . 9 7 5 . 3 6 9 . 2 6 9 . 9 6 2 . 7 7 0 . 1 6 7 . 9 7 0 . 6

O t h e r r e l a t i v e s 3 . 8 1 0 . 0 7 . 5 7 . 8 1 0 . 5 7 . 9 7 . 1 8 . 2

F r i e n d s o f m y o w n a g e 4 . 5 6 . 8 1 1 . 5 1 2 . 5 1 6 . 0 1 4 . 2 1 7 . 6 1 1 . 9

F r i e n d s o l d e r t h a n I 4 . 5 5 . 0 1 0 . 3 7 . 8 8 . 7 6 . 9 6 . 3 7 . 4

w a s

A l o n e 1 . 3 2 . 7 1 . 6 2 . 0 2 . 1 0 . 9 1 . 1 1 . 8

S a m p l e N 1 5 6 2 1 9 253 2 9 6 3 3 2 3 3 1 3 8 1 1 9 6 8

( S o u r c e : O p e n E x h i b i t 1 5 5 , p a g e 43.)

A125

Table III.17

P a r e n t a l R e l a t i o n s h i p a n d t h e I n t e n s i t y o f D r u g U s e (per 1 0 0

N o n - D i s r u p t e d F a m i l i e s )

P a r e n t a l R e l a t i o n s h i p

C l o s e a n d

H a r m o n i o u s

I n d i f f e r e n t C o n f l i c t e d T o t a l

No. % NO. % No. % No.

M a r i h u a n a u s e r s 113 7 2 . 0 9 5.7 35 2 2 . 3 157

M u l t i - o r a l u s e r s 1 9 0 6 9 . 3 17 6 . 2 67 2 4 . 5 2 7 4

I n t r a v e n o u s u s e r s 72 5 2 . 2 15 1 0 . 9 51 3 6 . 9 1 3 8

T o t a l D r u g s u b - c u l t u r e 3 7 5 6 5 . 9 41 7 . 3 153 2 6 . 8 5 6 9

( S o u r c e : O p e n E x h i b i t 1 8 2 , p a g e 66.)

T a b l e I I I . 18

R e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h P a r e n t s b y t h e I n t e n s i t y o f D r u g U s e

D r u g U s e G r o u p

E x c e l l e n t a n d

G o o d

I n d i f f e r e n t

B a d a n d

E s t r a n g e d

N o t a p p l i c a b l e

o r n o t k n o w n

W i t h

F a t h e r

W i t h

M o t h e r

W i t h

F a t h e r

W i t h

M o t h e r

W i t h

F a t h e r

W i t h

M o t h e r

W i t h

F a t h e r

W i t h

M o t h e r

% % % % % % % %

M a r i h u a n a u s e r s 5 5 . 2 7 1 . 6 1 5 . 5 1 1 . 9 1 9 . 0 1 0.3 1 0 . 3 6.2

M u l t i - o r a l u s e r s 5 4 . 0 6 4 . 2 1 4 . 2 1 7 . 6 1 9 . 1 1 3 . 6 1 2 . 7 4 . 6

I n t r a v e n o u s u s e r s 3 2 . 4 5 3 . 6 1 7 . 9 1 7 . 3 3 2 . 4 2 3 . 5 1 7 . 3 5 . 6

T o t a l 4 8 . 8 6 3 . 6 1 5 . 5 1 5 . 9 2 2 . 5 1 5 . 2 1 3 . 2 5 . 3

( S o u r c e : O p e n E x h i b i t 182, p a g e 67.)

A126

The survey report stated:

The average size of the family of our drug users did not differ

from that in the general population, but there was a marked

over-representation of oldest children and an under­

representation of middle-order children, whilst the observed number of youngest children equalled that expected from a

random distribution.

(Open Exhibit 182, page 66)

The survey also looked at the drug users' relationship with his or

her parents (see Table I I I . 18). The results here suggest that users

tend to have a better relationship with their m o t h e r s . Of course the

data does not show if this was the situation prior to the use of drugs

and hence it may only indicate an influence on the continued use of

d r u g s .

The survey results showed:

The relationship with both parents deteriorated with increasing intensity of drug u s e ... although over 40 per cent of parents

did not know that the subject was a drug user. This latter

proportion, however, decreased with the intensity of drug u s e ; and there was a converse increase in the percentage of parents

who were aware of the use of drugs by their son or daughter...

(Open Exhibit 182, page 67)

Some interesting data on drug overdose admissions were provided by

Dr B. G. Fotheringham, Medical Superintendent of Modbury Hospital in

South Australia. The data covers various unequal periods during the

years 1973 to 1976. These figures showed quite clearly that

approximately 40 per cent of the reasons given by patients for overdosing

related to marital problems(Open Exhibit 264).

Family influences were also strongly represented in the reasons for aboriginal children's involvement in petrol sniffing. A report entitled 'Petrol Inhalation at Maningrida 1978: Initial Findings' was presented in evidence by the author Dr H. D . Eastwell, Senior Lecturer in

Psychiatry at the University of Queensland. This report looked at the

problem of petrol sniffing by aboriginal children. One of the factors

seen by Dr Eastwell as being a characteristic of petrol sniffing

children from the Gunavidji and Nakara clans was the lack of parental

c o n t r o l :

...the problem of petrol sniffing behaviour, with its attendant delinquency is: why do not the Gunavidji and the Nakara control

their children? (Open Exhibit 461, page 11)

One of the other clans mentioned was the Galpu from Elcho Island.

Dr Eastwell claimed that the Galpu clan appear to foster agressiveness

in their children and that they actually condoned petrol sniffing by

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their y o u n g s t e r s . Dr Eastwell added that similar mechanisms seem at

work among the Gunavidji and Nakara clans (Open Exhibit 461, page 12).

Dr Eastwell felt that alternatively the low self-esteem of the

Gunavidji--Nakara clans together with the higher probability of parents from the clans being alcoholic and unemployed may have influenced the

children's d e cision to sniff petrol (Open Exhibit 461, page 12).

Maningrida community residents, both aboriginal and European, were reported by Dr Eastwell as being concerned with several aspects of

petrol sniffing by young aboriginal children. One of these was a

possible link between petrol sniffing and future use of alcohol with a

strong p o s s ibility of alcoholism. Sniffers compare their behaviour

with that of adult d r u n k s . Some stated that they are waiting until they

are old enough to drink. Others say they are imitating drunken parents.

Adult alcoholics are known to resort to petrol when alcohol is not

a v a i l a b l e .

CULTURAL INFLUENCE

There is a general tendency for most people to think of the problem

of drug abuse as a modern p h e n o m e n a . However it was also claimed that

the general use and abuse of drugs had changed little over the span of

t i m e .

In evidence also presented to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of D r u g s , Dr Η. B. K i l d e a , a general

practitioner said:

The reason for the current epidemic of drug addiction is often

presented as a consequence of modern l i f e ; the soul-destroying pace of the competitive world, the disruption of traditional

standards and the elevation of materialistic and hedonistic

drives. In fact, the use and abuse of drugs has altered little

in its general pattern over the span of recorded history.

(OT 7799--7800)

Dr K i l d e a 's paper entitled 'Doctors---Are they Drug Pushers, Drug

Users or A b u s e r s , or W h a t ? ' contains a section covering the historical

perspective of drug use and abuse and makes reference to the following:

'Of all remedies which it has pleased almighty God to give to

man to relieve his suffering none is so universal and so

efficacious as op i u m ' , wrote Sir Thomas Sydneham, a seventeenth century physician and the father of English medicine.

...In eighteenth century England, Dr George Young wrote that

'opium had got into the hands of every pretender of practice

and is prescribed every day, not only by many charitable and

well meaning ladies, but even by the too officious and ignorant

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n u r s e s .' He complained that 'great numbers are daily

destroyed, not indeed b y such doses as kill s u d d e n l y ...but it

is being given unreasonably in such diseases and to such

constitutions for which it is not proper.'

...In 1884 the superintendent of the Toronto asylum, in which

Dr George Yo u n g worked, complained in the 'Toronto Daily Globe' of the increasing number of opium addicts that were being

admitted to his hospital.

...In 1885 two doctors from the German Morphine Institute

confirmed the value of cocaine in the cure of the morphine

habit, and morphine was replaced by cocaine which was said to

be free of addictive properties...

...In 1 8 9 8 . . .Heroin was claimed to have all the therapeutic

advantages of opium, bu t to be free from all the addictive

properties, and it was especially recommended in the treatment of opium a d d i c t i o n . ..

...In 1964 the first treatment centre for the replacement of

heroin b y this drug (methadone) was established in New York.

Heroin addicts were weaned off their heroin and maintained on

regular doses of methadone.

(OT 77 9 8 — 99)

In an article by the Institute of Mental Health and Research Post

Graduate Training, 'Drug Use among the Young Population of the State of

Victoria, Australia: A Metropolitan and a Rural City Survey:' written

by J. Krupinski, A. Stoller and G. D. Graves and published in the

Journal of Drug Issues (Volume 7, No. 4, p p . 36S--376) the authors

q u o t e d :

However, as Kohn and Mercer stated: 'Hard evidence for a

relationship b etween socio-political ideology on the one hand, and drug use and drug use attitudes on the other, has been

sparse, diffuse and unsystematic.' (OT 3022)

In a letter to the Chairman of the South Australian Royal Commission

into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs and incorporated into the evidence of

this Commission, Dr S. B. Furnass, the Director of the University Health Service at the Aus t r a l i a n National University, Canberra said that the

drug scene may be but a symptom of a malaise in western society:

.. .It is m y impression that the drug scene may be but a symptom

of a malaise in western society whose economic and political

activities are still largely dominated by the production-

consumption ethic, having yet found no alternative to warfare

in its attempts to solve the long term issues of unemployment

and increasing leisure.

(OT 10270)

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Despite this evidence a number of witnesses saw some cultural values as influencing the use of drugs,

Dr H S. Waddy, Deputy Director, Central Drug and Alcohol Advisory Service., Health Commission of Hew South Wales, during the presentation of a submission from the Australian Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Dependence Working Committee on Undergraduate and Postgraduate Training in Alcohol and Other Drugs, agreed with the proposition that the major factors influencing drug use are social and cultural and the context in which drug taking takes place was a major determinant of drug user patterns (OT 1449-4).

Hr h. huger, a U.S. citizen, who was in Australia assisting in the establishment of an Odyssey rehabilitation centre in Hew South Wales made several observations on why the Australian environment may lead young people to commence drug use:

...there is a danger that the beautiful sun and surf which

abound in Australia sometimes accentuate the hedonism, fun living qualities, and strong desire for a care free life on the part of youths. (OT 10254A)

Mr luger saw the Australian 'mateship' tradition as influencing the continued use of drugs (OT 10254— 4A).

Dr J. F. Rutter, a semi-retired medical practitioner from Melbourne, mentioned the growth of 'coleoptera' type of music with its emphasis on drugs in the music or the use of drugs by the musicians (Open Exhibit 365, page 365).

Reference to the influence of modern music was also made by Mr V.. :M. Hesbitt in a report to the Hew South Wales Catholic Social Welfare Commission entitled 'The Use of Drugs by Students in Catholic Schools':

The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper Album premotionally made no secret of its hallucinatory nature (now the record cover confirms it) and coincident with its release was 'leaked' some of the Beatles own use of LSD. There seems little doubt of the true intent of some of their lyrics’ double entendre, e.g. 'Mother Mary's-- Words of Comfort---let it be' seem to be only very

thinly veiled reference to the relief from anxiety promised by marihuana. (OT 14754)

Mr V H. Hesbitt also cited a survey, undertaken for the Hew South Wales Health Commission, into the relationship between contemporary music, drug attitudes and drug behaviour which concluded that pop musicians did not deliberately put pro-drug messages into their music.

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However the survey did find that 6 2 per cent of the musicians

interviewed did in fact use marihuana and concluded that there was a definite link between existing drug beliefs and practices and the type of music preferred by the listener (OT 14755).

This interest in m o d e m music was reflected in the results of the survey entitled 'Drug Use by the Young Population of Melbourne’, mentioned previously in this Chapter.

Cultural influences also played an important part in the involvement of aboriginal children in petrol sniffing. According to the opinions of the Maningrida community residents summarised in a report entitled 'Petrol Inhalation at Maningrida 1978: Initial Findings' by Dr E. D. Eastwell, Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, University of Queensland, the

hand of petrol inhalers at Maningrida displayed an apparent disregard for some aboriginal traditions. The sniffing of petrol enabled this hand of young children to overthrow certain avoidance rules of the aboriginal culture (Open Exhibit 461, page 4).

AVAILABILITY

Although it was not considered the most important factor influencing the use of drugs,, several witnesses claimed that the ready availability of drugs had a significant influence on the use of drugs.

In an exhibit, submitted by Lr D- de Souza, First Assistant

Director-General of Health, entitled 'Drugs Demystified’ the author, Ms H. Nowlis, claimed that availability was just one of the factors considered necessary for drug use:

So such factors have as yet been clearly identified as either necessary or sufficient to serve as a basis for reasonably accurate prediction. Availability of drugs, a situation in which drug use is perceived as safe and association with

friends who use drugs seem to be the only factors that can be identified as necessary for drug use. None is a sufficient factor. (Open Exhibit 32, page 33)

Evidence from a number of other witnesses including Dr J. Erupinska, Director of Research, Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria, Dr Clare Sprague from the Rehabilitation organisation GROW and Dr P. J. J. O'Neill, Co-ordinator of Addiction Services, Hunter Health Region, Sew

South Wales Health Commission, all included availability as one of the main causes of drug use (OT 3022, 11303, 11754)

During a confidential session of the Commission a medical

practitioner described a user under her care as having been ±n just the right circumstances to commence drug use. These included drug availability:

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The girl was disturbed with an identity c r i s i s , separation

anxiety and possibly unrealistic expectations of her a b i l i t i e s . The drug was available through friends. The circumstances for use were just ri g h t that is, disturbed g i r l , drug

a v a i l ability and peer pressure.

(CT)

The results of the 1973 survey of the Melbourne drug sub-culture

which were included in evidence given by Dr J. K r u p i n s k i , clearly reveal that availability was one of the more frequent reasons for trying

specific drugs (See Table I I I .19)■

ADVERTISING

A number of witnesses agreed that advertising of licit drugs

influenced persons to either commence drug use or to continue the use of

legally obtainable drugs. Some also suggested that the advertising of

licit drugs affected community attitudes to and consumption of both

illicit and licit d r u g s . However the Advertising Federation of

Australia claimed that advertising was not a reason for commencing drug u s e .

In evidence presented to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, and incorporated into the evidence of this Commission, Mr W. D. Crews, the Director of the Crisis Centre of the

Wayside Chapel, Kings Cross, speaking on why people use d r u g s , said:

One of the main reasons I can see can best be explained in two

stories that have stuck in m y m i n d . When my little boy was

(two and a half) years old we were walking down Williams Street

and there was a big sign for Vincents powders displayed there.

He looked at me and said, 'Vincents make you b e t t e r !' People in

the Education Department did a survey amongst eight-year olds in Sydney and found that the most popular song was, 'I feel

like a T o o h e y s '. It was not, 'Mary had a little lamb'. The

message I get is that we are taught from the earliest age that

if you feel bad you should take a d r u g . People are not being

told what feeling bad is. I believe it is psychological and

physical. If you feel really terrible inside and you find a

drug that makes you feel better it will not matter whether or

not that drug is legal or illegal. We are getting people using

drugs to make them feel better.

~ (OT 11780)

D r J. H. Stewart, appearing on behalf of the Analgesics Sub­

committee of the Australasian Society of Nephrology and the Australian Kidney F o u n d a t i o n , pointed out that studies in New South Wales had shown that there was no evidence that women who used analgesics excessively

were maladjusted m entally or socially but indicated that they had merely been influenced by advertising and ready availability of analgesics (OT

10603).

He also stated:

Widespread advertising and ready availability appears to have created in many Australian circles a tradition of taking a

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Reasons for Trying Specific Drugs (in percentages of those who ever used them)

Marihuana % Hallucinogens %

Stimulants %

Curiosity 78.8 79.8 37.1

Conformity 27.0 21.3 17.4

Availability 19.0 15.0 15.1

Intrapersonal 2.1 12.9 8.7

Excitement 3.9 2.4 9.5

Mental Stimulation 2.5 6.7 24.3

Rebellion 1.5 1.1 0.3

Cocaine %

63.5

20.7

32.5

1.5

4.9

1.5

0.5

Narcotics %

62.1

18.5

22.9

11.9

3.5

3.1

1.8

B a r b i t u r a t e s

%

27.3

7.6

16.3

12.2

5.8

0.5

(Source: Open Exhibit 182, page 75.)

powder for any minor c o m p l a i n t , a tradition which is handed

down from mother to daughter, but which ma y n ot yet have become

established in New Australian families whose mother tongue is

not English.

(OT 10603)

The Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare's Report 1 Drug

Problems in A u s t r a l i a---an intoxicated s o c i e t y ? ' (The Baume Report)

identified 'the very professional and appealing tobacco advertisements' as having a direct bearing on children commencing smoking (Open Exhibit 379, page 85).

This conclusion was further supported in the book 'Drugs Society and Personal C h o i c e ' by H. and 0. J. Kalant which claimed that advertising

was used to reinforce the feeling among children that drinking and

smoking are adult practices:

Most children in our society grow up with the feeling that

drinking and smoking are adult practices and therefore that

they have pr o v e n their adulthood when they are able to drink

and smoke and carry it off. This impression is constantly

reinforced by advertising wh i c h implies that using a certain

beer or cigarette is either elegant, glamorous, or otherwise

desirable as a means of enhancing one's p r e s t i g e .

(Open Exhibit 601, page 44)

In a r e p o r t ,'The Use of Drugs by Students in Catholic Schools' to

the New South Wales Catholic Social Welfare Commission, Mr V. M. Nesbitt claimed that millions of dollars were spent each year on very

professional advertising which promoted the use of alcohol, tobacco and painkillers in either a setting of opulence, leisure and pleasure or as

acceptable and desirable behaviour:

Using every trick known to behavioural science, in what has

become known as 'supermarket psychology', a sustained effort expends millions in advertising to promote use of alcohol,

tobacco and painkillers as acceptable and desirable behaviour.

(OT 14746)

As a guide to the effects of advertising, Mr Nesbitt included the

tabulation reproduced here as Table III.2 0 . This table shows that most

people obtain information about drugs from magazines, n e w s p a p e r s ,

television and radio.

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Table III.20: Acquisition of Information about Drugs

Non-Users E x peri­ Users Total

mental Sample

% Users % % %

Magazines, Newspapers 67.7 62.1 53.2 65.6

TV, Radio 62.9 46.1 37.7 58.5

Books 25.1 34.1 36.5 27.2

Drug Users 20.0 64.0 78.8 30.7

Lectures 17.4 16.0 18.5 17.4

Medical literature 14.8 21.3 24.9 16.5

Peers 6.1 8.8 6.6 6.4

Parents 1.5 1.1 0.9 1.4

Personal Experience 1.1 3.2 17.4 3.1

(0T 14747)

In the Australian National University's Report entitled 'Drug

Education Programs and the Adolescent in the Drug Phenomena P r o b l e m ',

reference was made to a 1972 American Study which listed advertising as

one of the five main causes of drug abuse by school children.

However, evidence presented in a submission from the Advertising

Federation of Australia claims that a survey of over 250 articles and

studies on drug use from the United States of A m e r i c a , Canada and the

United Kingdom revealed that there was no factual evidence of a

correlation between advertising and trends in drug use. The submission s t a t e d :

Proprietary Drugs Advertising and its Effects

A number of U.S. Studies were u n c o vered, dealing with the

subject of proprietary drug advertising and its possible effect on young people's usage of illicit d r u g s . In all findings

examined, there appeared to be no correlation between this

cause-and-effect a r e a : *

* The National Broadcast Company conducted a study, over a

3-year field-work period, on the possible relationship

between exposure to television advertising of proprietary

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drugs and illicit drug u s e . The key findings in the study

showed that overall the exposure of TV drug advertising

n either directly nor indirectly leads young people to use

illicit drugs.

(OT 15930)

Alcohol Advertising and its Effects

There appears to be no factual evidence of a correlation

bet w e e n alcohol a d v e rtising and per capita consumption

i n c r e a s e s .

(OT 15933)

Tobacco Advertising and its Effects

The effect that advertising has or has not on overall cigarette

consumption is a complex, emotional and on-going controversy. For purposes of this paper, we will restrict and direct our

thoughts to the following mo s t relevant, rational and factual

points only:

* There is no statistical evidence that AFA members have

seen that proves there is any correlation between tobacco

advertising and overall tobacco consumption

increase/decrease trends. For example, in Italy,

cigarette advertising has been banned since 1963, yet per

capita consumption and increased per capita consumption

rates are amongst the highest in the world. In Norway and

Sweden all tobacco a d v e rtising was banned, yet cigarette

consumption continues to increase. In Russia, where no

tobacco advertising exists, tobacco usage is much higher

than it is in Australia. There are many other examples

thac show little or no consumption decreases occurring

when tobacco advertising bans or restrictions have been

i m p l e m e n t e d .

(OT 15935)

While the Advertising F e d e ration of Australia's submission quoted Norway as a country experiencing increased tobacco use despite the ban

on advertising, the 1977 report of the Senate Standing Committee on

Social Welfare, 'Drug Problems in A u s t r a l i a---an 'intoxicated society?', claimed that the ban was followed by a decline in the per capita

consumption of cigarettes and tobacco of 2.7 per cent. This would tend

to suggest that advertising does in fact have some impact on the use of

the advertised drug (Open Exhibit 379, page 9S--99).

Advertising of tobacco is further discussed in Part XII, Chapter 3.

RELIGION

In evidence also given to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, the Di r e c t o r of the Crisis Centre at

Sydney's Wayside Chapel, Mr W. D. Crews, agreed that the apparent rise

in drug use had been associated with a decline in formal spiritual

values and the growth of new religious groups.

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While the results of the 1973 Melbourne drug sub-culture survey

suggest religion was not given as a specific reason for either being a

user or for trying specific d r u g s , they show that a significantly higher proportion of users had no religion or were agnostic and that eastern

religion and p h i losophy appeared to have some influence on drug users.

Influences of eastern philosophy and eastern religion were mentioned by 10 per cent and 16.8 per cent of the drug sub-culture sample

respectively. Furthermore the influence of eastern philosophy was

higher amongst the older users. The results are shown in Tables III 21

to III.23. ------------ —

In a report to the New South Wales Catholic Social Welfare

Commission, Mr V. M. Nesbitt pointed to a research paper by a Mr J .

Orford, 'Aspects of the relationship b etween alcohol and drug abuse',

which suggested that religious conversion may be an escape route from

dependence. Mr Nesbitt added that in the case of alcoholism dramatic

and unpredicted changes in behaviour occur quite frequently and that it was not uncommon for some of these behavioural changes to be associated

with changes in religious belief or observance (0T 14761).

Table III.21

Influence of Eastern Philosophy and Religion on the Drug Scene

Drug Use Group

Percentage

Eastern Philosophy %

influenced by Eastern Religion %

Marihuana users 4.6 5.7

Multi-oral users 9.0 20.1

Intravenous users 15.6 22.9

(Source: Open Exhibit 182, page 79.)

Table i n . 22

Influence of Eastern by Age of First Use Religion on Multi-oral and Intravenous Users

Age of First Use

Multi-oral users No. Influenced %

Intravenous users No. Influenced %

Under 18 82 12.2 88 13.6

18 and over 242 22.7 91 31.9

(Source: Open Exhibit 182, page 79.)

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Table III. 23

Influence of Philosophy on the Marihuana and Multi-oral Users by Length of Use

Marihuana Users Multi-oral Users

Length of Use No. Influenced

%

No. Influenced %

Under 2 years 100 34.0 65 35.4

2-3 years )

) 93 45.2

126 47.6

4 and more years ) 130 58.5

(Source: Open Exhibit 182, page 80.)

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Chapter 4 Profiles of Illegal Drug Users

The experiences of 139 illicit drug users were documented in evidence to the Commission through personal appearances of users before the

Commission, written submissions, and evidence by parents of users. This chapter offers a history of some people who have been involved in the

drug sub-culture in an attempt to identify general patterns of

behaviour. However it is extremely important that caution be exercised in interpreting these results. The analysis cannot be seen as

statistically valid in any meaningful sense. The evidence given in

written statements by these users was not always comprehensive enough to draw precise conclusions. Another problem is that only those people who were sufficiently motivated for a variety of reasons came forward to

give evidence. This creates a bias in the results with an over­

representation of users undergoing treatment and under-representation of active use r s . The summation of this evidence could not be described as

a random sample of the drug-using population. At best, the results can

be only interpreted as a general indicator of the characteristics of

those drug users who gave evidence.

Of the 138 users who stated their sex, 106 were male and 32 were

female. Although this appears to be an extraordinary bias towards

males, it should be pointed out that most surveys of drug users indicate

that a high proportion of users are male.

Of the 112 who gave their age, 54 were in the 20— 24 years age

bracket, 32 in the 2S--29 year group and 12 were between 15 and 19 years

o l d .

Looking at marital status, 59 per cent of those who volunteered

their status were single, while 24 per cent were married and a smaller

number (17 percent) were either divorced, separated, widowed or in a de

facto relationship.

CASE STUDY A

Age:

S e x :

Occupation: Marital Status: Substances U s e d :

Approximately 28

Male Unemployed Separated, one child Marihuana, heroin, amphetamines, LSD, methadone,

mescaline and mushrooms.

Patterns of Drug U s e : He first used alcohol at the age of 13 and at 14

years of a g e , began using marihuana during a trip to India. His use

continued through the rest of his school years and progressed onto

other drugs. By 1976 he had tried almost all illicit drugs and was

dealing extensively. He 'scored' and dealt in a string of hotels in

Sydney's eastern suburbs. He was able to obtain drugs legally from

doctors by feigning illness. He had also grown marihuana for his

own use in pot plants.

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Relationship wi t h Alcohol: He drank alcohol excessively in conjunction with other d r u g s .

Drugs and D r i v i n g : He stated that he would not want drug users to be in

control of any machinery.

Trafficking: He became involved in dealing as a means to obtain money

to support his habit. He pointed out that this was common among

heavy users. He had imported LSD and heroin on a small scale.

Drug-related Offences: He had a h istory of eight arrests, approximately four being drug related with another two, d r u g - i n d u c e d . Charges had included possession and supply of m a r i h u a n a , stealing and false

p r e t e n c e s .

Personal Attitudes: He was in favour of reform of the laws relating to

marihuana as this would lower the incidence of people coming into

contact wi t h harder d r u g s .

Treatment: He had undertaken several treatment programs including

electric shock therapy, medication and Narcotics Anonymous.

CASE STUDY B

Age:

S e x :

O c c u p a t i o n : Marital Status: Substances Used:

25 Female Unemployed (trained nurse) Single M a r i h u a n a , hash, hash oil, LSD, m o r p h i n e , heroin,

opium and M a n d r a x .

Patterns of Use: The witness commenced using cannabis when she was 18

years o l d , shortly after leaving High School. She was first

introduced to marihuana by her boyfriend. Her use of marihuana

continued for about nine months and she progressed to hash and hash

oil. She began to use LSD at age 20 and after her first 'trip'

indulged heavily, taking the drug approximately every 3 days for 3

months. Her first use of heroin occurred in 1973 when a friend gave

her an adulterated 'joint' without her k n o w l e d g e . On a short trip

to Indonesia in 1973, through her association with musicians, the

witness was introduced to morphine. On her return to Australia she

became sick for a week with a h a b i t . When she approached the end of

her nursing training she began to smoke heroin, progressing to a

cap of heroin a day. At the conclusion of her course, she ceased

using heroin for three months but continued smoking m a r i h u a n a . She

went through withdrawal aided by a doctor who gave her some M a n d r a x . On other o c c a s i o n s , she had obtained Mandrax legitimately by

'shopping a r o u n d ' with three or four other users to different

doctors. After her three month lay-off from using heroin, she

drifted back into using narcotics regularly.

Relationship with Alcohol: No evidence was received.

Drugs and Driving: No evidence was received.

Trafficking: She said that she had supported her heroin habit through

trafficking.

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Drug-related Offences: The witness had several arrests for drug-related offences including p o s session of c a n n a b i s , possession of opium and passing a forged prescription.

Personal Attitudes: She thought that the suppression of marihuana had led people directly onto taking heroin.

Treatment: She stated that she had tried every means possible to cease

using heroin. At the time of giving e v i d e n c e , she was undergoing a

methadone blockade treatment program. She stated that methadone

blockade had effectively halted her dependence on heroin. She

thought that it was pointless to waste mo n e y in obtaining heroin

when she did not achieve any satisfaction from using it. With the

dosage of methadone she was consuming, she felt able to carry out

normal everyday functions.

Marital Status: Single

Substances Used: C a n n a b i s , LSD, and psilocybin (mushrooms)

Patterns of Use: His first use of cannabis occurred at age 18 during

his first year at University. Towards the end of his first year he

commenced using marihuana semi-regularly. While at University he

tried LSD and on one or two occasions since. In his second year at

University his use of cannabis increased but was still intermittent. Once the witness left university and began working f u l l - t i m e , he

could afford to buy and use cannabis regularly. In more recent

times, the witness along with a friend has grown some cannabis

plants for their own use.

Relationship with Alcohol: He did not take much alcohol and made a

point of not mixing alcohol and cannabis.

Drugs and Driving: He regarded driving after using marihuana as a

'waste of being stoned' since driving required concentration and

thought wh i c h spoilt the effect of the drugs.

T r a f f i c k i n g : He trafficked in marihuana and hashish occasionally with some friends. He remarked that a fringe benefit from dealing was

that their supply of free high quality cannabis was ensured.

Drug-related O f f e n c e s : He had never been arrested by police for any

drug-related crime.

Personal Attitudes: The witness stressed that the people who used

cannabis could not be set apart from others in the community. He

added that the m a jority of users had only one area of maladjustment. This was an insecurity directly related to the laws on cannabis. He

was critical of the double standards represented by the 'a p p r o v e d , advertised, exhorted use of alcohol, cigarettes and pills' which

made the 'attitudes and values of our laws impossible to take

s e r i o u s l y '.

CASE STUDY C

A g e : S e x :

24 Male Scientist Occupation:

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Treatment: No evidence was received.

CASE STUDY D

Age:

S e x :

Occupation: Marital Status: Substances Used:

29 Male Lecturer Separated, one child

Cannabis, psilocybin (mushrooms), LSD, amphetamines, Ritalin and amyl nitrite.

Patterns of Use: The witness classified himself as an 'episodic heavy drinker' until early 1977. He did not drink regularly, but when he

did, he would consume an inordinate amount. His first use of

marihuana occurred at a student party in late 1967. He regarded it

then as being 'foul-tasting' and added that it did nothing for him.

During 1968, the witness started work and remarked that he 'drank

copiously, smoked as much dope as was obtainable, tried LSD and

indulged in taking some deviously 'scored' licit drugs. From 1969

to mid 1972, he regularly drank alcohol and smoked cannabis, often

excessively, but without reaching a point where he felt that his

actions could be described as irresponsible. He moved to another

city in an attempt to alter his alcohol dependency in a new

environment. However as he became familiar with his new

surroundings, he again began to indulge in drinking heavily and

smoking marihuana. In early 1974, his wife-to-be gave him an

ultimatum to cease drinking which he did for eight months. During

this period he continued to use cannabis because, 'it was not a

negative influence upon our relationship'. Again, however, he

lapsed into his former behaviour patterns. He has since separated

from his wife due to the combined pressures of his excessive

drinking habits and their workload. After his separation, he drank heavily and described his consumption as 'enormous' by previous

comparison. Early in 1978, he contacted Lifeline and through

counselling and his own desire, he stopped drinking.

Relationship with Alcohol: The witness argued that the legal drug

alcohol had a more deleterious effect on his life than the illicit

drug marihuana.

Drugs and Driving: He did drive while he was 'stoned' but his

perception was not good and he did experience some distortion.

Drug-related Offences: The witness, at the time of giving evidence, had been charged with a number of offences including possession and

smoking of Indian Hemp, trafficking in Indian Hemp and unlawful

possession of money obtained from selling drugs.

Personal Attitudes: He suggested that the scientific evidence for and against the use of cannabis was inconclusive. He argued that the

concept that the use of marihuana leads to a progression to harder

drugs was a myth. He also disagreed with the viewpoint that

marihuana smoking led to a lack of motivation. He thought that the

image of a marihuana user being an undesirable member of the

community was unwarranted as he had known many users who were

actively involved in their community.

A142

Treatment: The witness had u n d ertaken several different treatment

programs over a period including electro-convulsive therapy,

medication, group therapy and analysis.

CASE STUDY E

Age:

Sex:

Occupation: Marital Status: Substances Used:

26 Male Unemployed

Single Methedrine, LSD, heroin, cannabis, barbiturates,

Ri t a l i n and Dilaudid.

Patterns of Use: His first involvement with drugs occurred at age 13,

with his use of methedrine while at school. To obtain 'speed'

tablets, the witness, along with some companions, would break and

enter pharmacies. When he was 17, he extended his use to other

drugs such as LSD, heroin and cannabis. His use of heroin ceased

when he was 23. He used barbiturates for some time after he came

off heroin to suppress the withdrawal symptoms. He told the

Commission that his most recent use of drugs occurred in the last 12

months when he had obtained some 'speed'. In 1977 he had obtained

some R i t a l i n through legal prescriptions from doctors whom he

described as 'bent'.

Relationship wi t h Alcohol: Only since he had ceased taking illicit

drugs had the witness begun drinking alcohol.

Drugs and Driving: No evidence was received.

Trafficking: During the period 1973— 74 he became heavily involved in

trafficking in methedrine, LSD, heroin and marihuana.

Drug-related Offences: He had several convictions for drug-related

offences including self-administration of heroin, p o s session and trafficking in heroin.

Personal Attitudes: He stated that he left the drug sub-culture because of his age. He began to find it difficult to relate to the young

people who were now making up the m ajority of drug users. The

witness stated that some users of cannabis had turned to heroin and

cocaine when their usual supply of cannabis was difficult to obtain.

He wanted the authorities to turn a blind eye to marihuana and

adopt stringent measures against hard drugs.

Treatment: No evidence was received.

CASE STUDY F

Age

S e x :

Occupation Marital Status: Substances Used:

25 Male Unemployed Not stated

Tranquillisers, amphetamines, barbiturates, morphine, LSD, purple hearts, marihuana, opium, pethidine,

Valium, heroin, cocaine and Mandrax.

A143

Patterns of U s e : Being an asthmatic and regularly hospitalised when he was young, the witness stated that he had been introduced to

numerous drugs including t r a n q u i l l i s e r s , a m p h e t a m i n e s , b a r b i t u r a t e s , morphine and other opiates, from the age of five. By the time he

was 11, he had overcome his asthma but still used amphetamines and

barbiturates when he had an occasional attack. He commenced use of

alcohol at the age of 14 and remarked that his consumption averaged

between 2 and 3 large bottles of spirits a week. He started using

LSD at the age of 15 and while at s c h o o l , he was introduced to

'purple hearts' and 'pep' pills. When he was 16, he began using

opium derivatives from cough mixtures and any opiates obtained over- the-counter from chemist shops. He added that he also smoked 'opium

tar'. A f t e r obtaining his first j o b , he mainly used alcohol for

about six months, averaging a bottle of spirits a day. He also

indulged in opium smoking and tried cannabis for the first time. At

one stage a workmate gave him large quantities of pethidine and

morphine with an approximate street value of $ 6 0 0 0 - - $ 7 0 0 0 . The

drugs were the balance of items stolen from hospitals. His use of

drugs progressed to a stage where he was maintaining a $500--1000 a

week narcotic habit through selling heroin and cocaine. He

undertook a methadone program for three months but ceased when he

began to obtain narcotics from doctors through assuming various

names by forging p r e s c r i p t i o n s . At the time of giving evidence the

witness had registered for a treatment program and was receiving

pethidine and pentabarb daily and methadone on weekends. During

sittings the witness told the Commission that his last use of heroin

and marihuana was two days ago and his last use of M a n d r a x was about

a month before giving evidence. He had taken cocaine intravenously

approximately four months before his appearance at the Commission. On the day that he gave evidence he had taken pethidine together

with 4 Va l i u m tablets (size 5 mg each) at 8.30 am and consumed 3

ten-ounce glasses of beer at l u n c h t i m e .

Relationship wi t h A l c o h o l : He regularly drank alcohol.

Drugs and Driving: No evidence was received.

Trafficking: He sold c a n n a b i s , heroin and cocaine for profit to support his habit. He had obtained heroin from Thailand which had a street

value of between $50 000--60 000.

Drug-related Offences: He had received several charges including

breaking and e n t e r i n g , possession of instruments used for

administering narcotics and possession of marihuana.

Personal Attitudes: No evidence was received.

Treatment: At one stage he had undergone a methadone p rogram for three

months. He entered a psychiatric hospital for treatment during 1974 and was discharged after three weeks. At the time of giving

evidence he had registered for a treatment program w i t h a State

Health authority. He had applied for registration on a methadone

program but was refused at least six t i m e s .

CASE STUDY G

Age: Not stated

A144

Sex:

Occupation:

Male Consultant

Marital Status: N o t Stated

Substances U s e d : C a n n a b i s , heroin, LSD.

Patterns of U s e : The witness had smoked cannabis 'on and o f f for six

years. At one stage on an overseas t r i p , in a nine-month period, he

was smoking cannabis daily. He said that he used marihuana for

relaxation. In more recent times he had smoked it every day when it

was available, although there had been an occasion when he went

without the drug for three to four months because of a supply

problem. The witness had used LSD approximately a dozen times, four

or five years before the time of giving evidence. He had

experimented w i t h heroin out of curiosity while on an overseas trip

to Asia.

Relationship with Alcohol: He consumed alcohol regularly.

Drugs and Driving: He stated that he was capable of driving after

smoking cannabis although there was a tendency for him to go more

slowly than usual.

Trafficking: No evidence was received.

Drug-related Offences: The witness had one conviction for the

possession of a small amount of marihuana for which he received a

small fine.

Personal Attitudes: The witness had never seen anyone violent while

smoking marihuana whereas he believed that alcohol and violence were closely associated. He suggested that marihuana was one of the only

drugs that did not cause death through overdosing. He did not

believe that there was a link b etween marihuana and hard d r u g s . In

his opinion most people who had used marihuana did not have any

involvement wi t h heroin. However, he also argued that restriction

of marihuana could cause a greater likelihood of users progressing

to other drugs if marihuana could not be o b t a i n e d . He strongly

advocated that the use of marihuana should be decriminalised.

Treatment: No evidence was r e c e i v e d .

Marital Status: Single

Substances U s e d : Cannabis and heroin

Patterns of Use: The witness began smoking marihuana at university at

the age df 18. He smoked it occasionally at parties and with

friends but never became a regular user. At 22, he was offered

heroin and tried it to make him 'feel better'. His use of heroin

progressed until after about a year he had to keep up its use to

allay the symptoms of withdrawal. After spending seven months at a

methadone clinic in an earnest attempt to cease his use of h e r o i n ,

he drifted ba c k into using heroin after realising that 'methadone

CASE STUDY H:

Age:

Sex:

Occupation:

26 Male Pest Exterminator

A145

was no better than h e r o i n ' . He ceased using drugs after he was

arrested by customs a g e n t s .

Relationship with A l c o h o l : No evidence was r e c e i v e d .

Drugs and Driving: No evidence was r e c e i v e d .

Trafficking: The witness supported his own habit through dealing in

heroin. When he was younger he had broken into chemist shops to

steal d r u g s .

Drug-related O f f e n c e s : The witness had one conviction for possession of a p r o h ibited import. He was fined $400 and received a three year

b o n d .

Personal Attitudes: He thought that it was a misconception that drug

traffickers had to lure people to take d r u g s . He remarked that the

demand was so high that this was not necessary. He said that the

drugs were expensive but the people who wanted it were prepared to

pay. He did not believe that there was anything wrong,

psychologically or medically, in using heroin. On the subject of

treatment p r o g r a m s , he thought that the system of registration of

heroin addicts which applied in England was a more useful and

sensible method of therapy than methadone treatment p r o g r a m s . He

believed that people who were on a methadone program, to a large

extent, continued to use heroin as well. If heroin users could,

under medical supervision, legally obtain heroin, then there would cease to be a black market thus curbing the criminal involvement

with d r u g s .

Treatment: As noted a b o v e , he received treatment at a methadone clinic for seven m o n t h s---however he drifted back into heroin usage.

CASE STUDY I

Age:

Sex:

Ocupation: Marital Status: Substances Used:

Not stated Male Sales Manager Not Stated Cannabis

Patterns of U s e : He first came into contact with cannabis through a

senior employee at a firm with which he had dealings. To satisfy

his curiosity he purchased from this acquaintance 4 ounces of

m a r i h u a n a . At that stage this purchase lasted a considerable time

since he still indulged in drinking alcohol regularly. He said that in more recent times he had an occasional drink of alcohol but

considered marihuana as his social mixer in preference to alcohol. He added that he had not been intoxicated during the last 2 and a

half y e a r s .

Relationship with Alcohol: He drank alcohol occasionally.

Drugs and Driving: No evidence was r e c e i v e d .

Trafficking: No evidence received.

Personal Attitudes: He stated that he had met many people who smoked

cannabis instead of drinking alcohol and they were perfectly normal people except in the eyes of the law. He constantly came into

contact wi t h senior company representatives who preferred to smoke c a n n a b i s . He saw no evidence in his experience that smoking

cannabis would lead to the use of other hard d r u g s . Over the period

that he had b e e n using m a r i h u a n a , the witness believed that there

had been no apparent change in his lifestyle, his ability to carry

out his work or perform any other duty. He suggested that alcohol

was responsible for a large proportion of crimes of violence, motor

accidents and robberies whereas cannabis smokers did not show

similar behavioural patterns to heavy d r i n k e r s . He believed there

was a high p r o b ability that young people would come into contact

with supplies of hard drugs. This occurred when marihuana users, in

their efforts to procure c a n n a b i s , would be enticed to try various

forms of hard d r u g s .

T r e a t m e n t : No evidence was received.

Drug-related offences: No evidence was received.

CASE STUDY J

Age:

S e x :

Occupation: Marital Status: Substances Used:

26 Female Skilled white collar Single

Cannabis, Mandrax, LSD,

m e t h a d o n e .

c ocaine, heroin and

Patterns of U s e : Her first experience with drugs occurred during her

last year at high school when she shared a 'joint' of hashish with a

group of friends. She said that she had been drinking up to 10

mixed drinks at a time on occasions during the previous 18 months

but she found the sensation with marihuana to be infinitely

pref e r a b l e . After this first experience with cannabis, for the next 12 months she used the drug whenever it was available, such as at

parties and gatherings. After that period, her use of cannabis

became more regular and she began smoking daily. She had her first

'trip’ on LSD at age 20, and over the following two years used this

drug approximately ten times. She said that she was always in

control of her faculties but LSD 'did not do anything' for h e r .

After a while she simply did not want to take any m o r e . She had

tried cocaine about half a dozen times, by sniffing it, but had not

indulged in its use for the past two years. The witness had smoked

heroin once and had 'snorted' it on a couple of occasions. She said

that she did not like the effect because it distorted reality too

much for her liking. Her first use of Mandrax occurred about seven

years ago but she had ceased using this drug because more stringent

administration by the authorities had made it more difficult to

obtain. At the time of giving evidence, she said that she smoked an

average of five or six 'joints' of cannabis per day, mainly using

buddha sticks but also marihuana or hashish.

Relationship with Alcohol: She drank alcohol socially but never to

e x c e s s .

A147

Drugs and Driving: She believed that she could still work and drive

while she was stoned on marihuana and her judgment was not impaired

to any mar k e d degree.

Trafficking: About four years ago, the witness and her boyfriend had

imported some hashish from a Eu r o p e a n city. It was sent by mail

from a friend, hidden in the middle of tea bags and cheeses. She

added that the purpose of the importation was not as a profit making

venture but only for their own u s e .

Drug-related O f f e n c e s : No evidence was received.

Personal A t t i t u d e s : She thought that people's personalities changed for the worse when they drank excessively and most became rude and

a g g r e s s i v e . On the other h a n d , marihuana smokers had no tendencies

towards violence. She said that in her e x p e r i e n c e , people who used

marihuana and heroin were in 'completely different scenes'. The

supply of marihuana usually came from a different source than the

supply of heroin.

Treatment: No evidence was r e c e i v e d .

CASE STUDY K

Age:

Sex :

O c c u p a t i o n : Marital Status: Substances Used:

21 Male Unskilled labourer Not stated Cannabis, M a n d r a x , LSD, mushrooms and heroin.

Patterns of Use: He commenced smoking marihuana at 17 years of age

while at high school. He obtained his marihuana from a friend who

was a regular smoker and who mixed within his circle of friends at

high school. Af t e r leaving high school and obtaining employment, he started to experiment with hallucinogens such as LSD and m u s h r o o m s . He said that he used them 'for a month or so' but after t h a t , lost

interest. He stated that most people he knew did not take

hallucinogens regularly. On a few occasions he had used Mandrax,

mainly at parties. Up until the time he was 19 he was using

cannabis r e g u l a r l y . Towards the end of 1976 he said that marihuana

became difficult to obtain but heroin was plentiful, cheap and of

high quality. He discovered that his usual marihuana suppliers were now dealing in heroin. He said that he, along with others in his

circle, turned to heroin because of this shortage in m a r i h u a n a . By

early 1977 he had acquired a habit that consumed up to four capsules

per day. The major influence on his cessation of heroin use was

that he could see his friends go downhill after using heroin for

some time. He said that he could see what was happening to them but

did not realise the deterioration that he was u n d e r g o i n g .

Relationship with Alcohol: He seldom drank alcohol. He regards himself as a social drinker.

Drugs and Driving: The witness stated that he would drive his motor

bike if he was 's t o n e d ' on m a r i h u a n a . With the exception of two

girls who had only experimented with cannabis, he knew of no one who

experienced any difficulty in riding a bike or driving a car after

A148

using m a r i h u a n a . He said that some people he knew thought that they

could drive better after smoking cannabis because they 'tend to get

right into driving or whatever they are d o i n g ' .

Trafficking: After leaving high school, he commenced buying marihuana in pound (454 grams) lots and distributing the product in ounce (28

grams) lots. This allowed him to m aintain smoking marihuana without cost to himself. After some time he had reached the stage where he

fully supported himself along with some friends. After his

addiction to heroin set in, he supported his habit financially by

dealing in all types of d r u g s .

Drug-related Offences: He had been charged wi t h possession, use and

sale of heroin and possession of m a r i h u a n a .

Personal Attitudes: He did not attribute his use of marihuana to his

subsequent use of heroin. He stated that he was in favour of

legalisation of cannabis because he was worried about the presence

of a criminal element in the marihuana scene. He thought that

smoking marihuana appeared to have no obvious effects on people

physically or on their aims and goals in life.

Treatment: No evidence was received.

CASE STUDY L

Age:

S e x :

Occupation: Marital Status: Substances Used:

24 Male Bricklayer's labourer Single Mushrooms, LSD, cannabis, heroin and morphine.

Patterns of Use: While living with his parents, at 17 years of age, the

witness was offered some 'magic' mushrooms from a friend. He has

continued to use mushrooms since that first occasion, approximately cnce every year. After he had turned 18, he purchased several

tablets of LSD. Up until the time of giving evidence he had

continued his use of LSD. He carefully selected his atmosphere

before taking it to avoid any unpleasant effects. Travelling in the

north of Australia, towards the end of 1972, the witness bought an

ounce of marihuana and 3 'trips' of LSD. Since that time he has

continued to smoke marihuana and hashish. The witness first used

heroin injected intravenously in 1973. In the b e g i n n i n g , he started using three injections per week and four months later he had

progressed to one a day. On an overseas trip in mid-1973, he began

to indulge h eavily in drug taking. His drug habits on this trip

included sniffing heroin, using opium and marihuana, injecting

m o r p h i n e , smoking hashish and using buddha sticks.

Relationship wi t h Alcohol: He drank alcohol and usually consumed a

glass of wine while smoking marihuana.

Drugs and Driving: He would drive a motor vehicle after using

m a r i h u a n a , but drove more slowly than usual because his reactions

were slower.

A149

Trafficking: The witness detailed his experiences in South-East Asia where he was manufacturing and dealing in hashish for some m o n t h s .

While o v e r s e a s , he had sent some hashish to Australia.

Drug-related O f f e n c e s : He had been arrested twice for possession of

drugs while in South-East Asia. On the first occasion, he had 85

doses of LSD and on the second, he was carrying over 300 grams of

hashish. On both occasions he successfully bribed officials to

escape being c h a r g e d .

Personal Attitudes: He argued that marihuana should be legalised since a scarcity of marihuana often led people to use heroin. He said

that when purchasing marihuana, the buyer sometimes discovered that the dealer not only supplied marihuana but also heroin. He said

that this was why he was led to abuse narcotics. He thought that

the p r olonged abuse of any drug wi t h the exception of marihuana

caused physical deterioration. In the main, he had not indulged in

using heroin to any great extent. His attitude to heroin was shaped

by the experiences of some acquaintances who had declined physically after using heroin for some time. He added that he continued to

smoke cannabis but did not touch any other d r u g s .

T r e a t m e n t : No evidence was received.

Marital Status: Married

Substances U s e d : Cannabis

Patterns of Use: He usually smoked marihuana once every two months

socially wi t h friends who were mainly professional people also.

They n o rmally smoked marihuana in conjunction with light to medium

amounts of alcohol. He obtained his 'deals' from f r i e n d s .

Relationship with Alcohol: He enjoyed the loss of inhibition when he

used alcohol socially b u t , being a dedicated fitness fanatic, he

disliked having a hangover and the harmful effects that alcohol had

on the body.

Drugs and Driving: No evidence was received.

Trafficking: No evidence was received.

Drug-related Offences: No evidence was r e c e i v e d .

Personal Attitudes: He remarked that he knew nobody who had suffered

any harmful effects through using marihuana, either psychologically or any other way. He thought that the laws relating to the use of

marihuana should be altered so that it would be legal to be able to

grow your own at home. He suggested that it should be legal for

some official agency to be able to dispense it so that a type of

quality control would be introduced. This, he agreed, would stop

the practice of 's p i k i n g ' marihuana with some other substance and

would also do away with criminal inf l u e n c e s . He thought that the

CASE STUDY M

Age:

Sex:

Occupation:

Not stated Male Professional

A150

fact that pos s e s s i o n of marihuana was a criminal offence caused more problems in the community than it s o l v e d . He argued that the

consumption of alcohol was a much larger cause of social problems

than m a r i h u a n a . He wanted the legal right to be able to introduce

his own children to m a r i h u a n a , to discuss the ma t t e r with them, to

show them what it was like and to let them smoke it in their house

first, 'rather than going behind the local toilet to smoke it'. He

thought that there should be a broad minded approach to heroin users

such that supplies of heroin could be provided by the appropriate

authorities. He argued that this measure would eliminate the

necessity for pushers to operate in this illegal market. He

suggested that increasing penalties would have no effect on criminal involvement in the heroin trade.

Treatment: No evidence was received.

CASE STUDY N

Age:

Sex:

Occupation: Marital Status: Substances Used:

Not stated

Female Medical student Single Cannabis, LSD, heroin and opium.

Patterns of U s e : Her first use of marihuana commenced in 1973. At this

stage she was only experimenting with the drug but after a couple of

years began to use it more regularly. She used it 'on and off' in

more recent times but did not like to smoke m a rihuana while she was

studying. She enjoyed it more at social gatherings or listening to

music. She had taken LSD several times. She had used heroin

intravenously over a year about eight times. She commenced using it

with some friends because of curiousity. She had access to

disposable syringes and was extremely aware of the dangers of

injections. While on an overseas trip in Asia, the witness had

tried some opium.

Relationship with Alcohol: She rarely drank alcohol.

Drugs and Driving: She thought that driving while 'stoned' on marihuana was far different to driving while under the influence of alcohol.

She sometimes drove a motor vehicle when she was 'stoned' on

marihuana, although she noted that she would not attempt to drive if

heavily stoned.

Trafficking: No evidence was r e c e i v e d .

Drug-related Offences: No evidence was received.

Personal Attitudes: She did not support the opinion that smoking

marihuana would make people apathetic. She thought that if a person

had goals in life then smoking marihuana could not induce apathy.

She supported the legalisation of m a r i h u a n a . She argued that there

were ma n y misconceptions about drugs and that people should be

educated so that they knew about and understood drugs. She thought

that the propaganda in the past about marihuana had be e n deleterious to proper drug education and led people to disrespect information- on other d r u g s . She believed that there was a significant amount of

A151

hepatitis contacted through drug taking and argued that users should be made aware of the problems associated wi t h hygiene and drug

taking. L ooking at the question of whether people progressed from

soft to hard d r u g s , she believed that there was a definite

association, since where drugs of one type were f o u n d , others were

also likely to be present.

T r e a t m e n t : No evidence was received.

CASE STUDY 0

Age:

Sex:

O c c u p a t i o n : Marital Status: Substances Used:

23 Male Unemployed Married C a n n a b i s , LSD, Mandrax, Avil, Valium, 1 s p e e d 1 and

'magic' m u s h r o o m s .

Patterns of Use: The witness attended high school until 1970 and the

following year became employed f u l l - t i m e . During that year he began to associate with people who were drug u s e r s . In the latter half of

the year he began smoking cannabis at weekends. He returned to high

school the following year (1972) to complete his leaving

certificate. He began to use marihuana regularly and LSD

occasionally. He was expelled from the school at the end of the

year for bad attendance. After leaving school he found employment

for the first six months of 1973 but did not work for two years

after that period. During this t i m e , he used m a r i h u a n a , hashish,

LSD, M a n d r a x , Avil, Valium, 'speed' and any other similar tablets. In late 1973 he became heavily dependent on LSD, consuming a dose

every two days. He was living with friends who had similar dr u g ­

using habits. His use of LSD became so heavy that no one would

supply him with the drug. With his LSD supply cut off he began to

recuperate. In 1974 he began playing a musical instrument with

various bands however his drug usage hindered the development of his musical career. Up until 1975 his pattern of drug use changed from

heavy LSD use to 'speed', d e p r e s s a n t s , antidepressants and alcohol. He also progressed to using 'magic mushrooms' and other

hallucinogenic plants. In 1975, he tapered his drug use to light

use of marihuana and alcohol since he had begun to realise the

effect of drugs on himself. Towards the end of 1975, due to his

desire to detach himself from criminal influences and for other

personal r e a s o n s , he broke away from his drug taking associates. In

early 1976 he married and ceased his use of illicit d r u g s .

Relationship with Alcohol: In recent times he only drank alcohol

occasionally.

Drugs and Driving: No evidence was received.

Trafficking: He agreed with the suggestion that it was common for a

user to be a trafficker in order to fund his own habit.

Drug-related Offences: He said that he had been arrested by police for

possession of illicit drugs but had never recorded a conviction.

A152

Personal A t t i t u d e s : The witness advocated stiffen penalties for

trafficking in drugs. He thought that there should be stiffer

penalties for the growing of any marihuana. He said that this

measure would discourage people growing marihuana in backyards which ultimately ended up in the schools.

Treatment: No evidence was received.

28 Female Drug counsellor

Not stated.

Pethidine, morphine, barbiturates, Palfium, heroin and LSD.

Her first experience with narcotics was the result of a motor cycle accident in early 1968 when she sustained multiple

injuries. As a result of this accident she remained an in-patient

in a hospital for four months. She became a resident of a

rehabilitation centre for 12 — 14 months and at the same time

remained an outpatient at the hospital she had previously attended. She suffered severe pain from the spinal injuries so she was given

injections of pethidine and morphine every three or four hours.

When she was discharged from the hospital she believed that she had

become addicted. At the rehabilitation centre she continued to

receive medication such as barbiturates and was prescribed large

amounts of narcotic pain-killing preparations by outside

specialists. She stated that there were others at the

rehabilitation centre who were in similar circumstances and they

would supply each other with drugs if one of them ever had a

shortage in supply.

She found that because of her injuries, her need for these

preparations was never questioned and she could obtain virtually as much as she needed. This situation continued until 1973 when she

had a further motor cycle accident while she was under the influence

of Palfium. Again, she suffered severe injuries and was admitted to

hospital. After four weeks, she stated that she signed herself out

because she felt that she was receiving insufficient medication.

She later realised that she was obtaining sufficient medication for her injuries but not for her addiction. At the time of this

accident she was residing in a communal house with several other

people who were using heroin and who supplied her with some.

After graduating from University, she found employment with several firms in her chosen field. Towards the end of 1975, she found that

drugs were starting to affect her work. About that time, she began

to mix with a new group of people who were using drugs such as LSD

and barbiturates. Her abuse of drugs led her to behave

irrationally. After contacting Lifeline, she was referred to

another charitable organisation which managed rehabilitation

programs. Since attending this centre she had ceased all use of

illicit drugs.

CASE STUDY P

Age:

Sex: Occupation:

Marital Status:

Substances Used:

Patfprns nf IIr p *

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Relationship with Alcohol: No evidence was received.

Drugs and Driving: No evidence was received.

T r a f f i c k i n g : No evidence was received.

Drug-related Offences: No evidence was received.

Personal Attitudes: The witness said that she thought that the

methadone program was sheer hypocrisy. She said that every addict

she met who had been on the program had never used methadone as it

should have been issued. She also believed that withdrawal from

methadone was more severe than heroin.

Treatment: She said that for years she had sought help in relation to

her addiction from many organisations. She ceased abusing drugs

after being referred by Lifeline to a charitable organisation

running a treatment c e n t r e . She stated that withdrawal was not the

intolerable experience that most addicts believed and said that much of the problem was psychological. Since breaking her addiction she

found that she could cope without narcotic pain killers.

CASE STUDY Q

Age:

S e x :

Occupation: Marital Status: Substances Used:

28 Male Advertising Single LSD, cannabis and mescaline.

Patterns of Use: His first involvement with drugs occurred at age 16

while he was a pupil at high school. He had read an article about

' p o t ' in a newspaper and was curious to try s o m e . He was introduced

to LSD by a person who was selling the drug at a c l u b . At this

point of time, his parents separated, and after a disagreement with

his m o t h e r , he left home and took up residence in a succession of

different places, almost all associated with a drug scene. He came

in contact with several older New Australians such as L e b a n e s e ,

Greeks and Egyptians who introduced him to hashish. At this stage,

he was taking LSD twice a week and did so for a long time. He found

it quite easy to obtain m a r i h u a n a . When he was 20--21 years of age,

he began to have some unpleasant experiences with LSD. Consequently he ceased his use of LSD but continued to smoke marijuana regularly.

Upon his conversion to Christianity he stopped using illicit drugs altogether.

Relationship with Alcohol: No evidence was received.

Drugs and Driving: No evidence was received.

Trafficking: About 1971 he began buying and selling m a r i h u a n a . He

would usually buy half a pound and sell it in ounce lots. (He noted

however, that he would never actually give the purchaser a full

o u n c e ) . He said that he only bought drugs from people whom he knew

but he would rarely know their source of the drug.

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Drug-related Offences: He never received any convictions for possession or trafficking in drugs.

Personal Attitudes: He did not believe that legalisation would stop or inhibit people from using d r u g s . He suggested that only through

religion could a former addict mai n t a i n a drug-free e x i s t e n c e .

Treatment: No evidence was r e c e i v e d .

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amounts and without the extra criminal charges attaching to

b reaking and entering, armed hold-ups of pharmacies, hospitals and, doctors' rooms.

(CT)

Ma n y drug users confirmed that the method of obtaining drugs from

doctors by m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n was very successful. Users would visit up

to 15 surgeries daily to obtain supplies. One drug dependent person was

able to obtain about 100 Palfium (dextromoramide) tablets each day by

this method (OT 22471).

Forged P rescriptions

The C o m m i s s i o n received a large bo d y of evidence indicating that

obtaining drugs by means of forged scripts was a common practice among

drug users. The usual routine is to steal prescription forms from

doctors' surgeries, and or purchase forms stolen by someone else, and to forge a p r e s c r i p t i o n for the drug desired. Users generally present

forged pre s c r i p t i o n s at a pharmacy remote from the surgery of the

medical prac t i t i o n e r whose forms are being used. False names and

addresses of patients are entered in the forms.

The C o m mission was told that drug users become familiar with

pharmacies where scripts are dispensed with a minimum of questioning; in some cases a p h a rmacist will dispense a prescription knowing it to be a

f o r g e r y .

E vidence from an officer of the New' South Wales Health Commission

indicated that it was not possible to q uantify the amount of narcotic

drugs o b tained in this manner as the standard of forgeries had improved

greatly over the past few years; many were never detected.

A drug user told the Commission in confidential evidence that he

obtained Pa l f i u m (dextromoramide) tablets by forging prescriptions in his mother's name, as she was receiving this substance for a cancer

c o n d i t i o n .

Stealing Drugs

Pharmacies; doctors' surgeries, cars and bags; hospitals; drug

factories and warehouses are all targets for drug users seeking to

obtain supplies of narcotic drugs. M a n y drug users admitted to the

Commission that they had been involved in burglaries of such premises.

One witness stated in confidential session that he broke into between 50 and 60 doctors' surgeries before he was finally arrested:

We used to steal anything with s8 or DD on it, and there was

always pl e n t y of needles and syringes and tourniquets. It was

like a supermarket, but we did not touch anything except dope.

(CT)

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Increased security at pharmacies and other establishments in recent years is believed to have been responsible for an increase in the number

of armed hold-ups on chemist shops. Detective Inspector Baker, Officer- in-Charge of the Victoria Police GIB Drug B u r e a u , stated that armed

hold-ups on pharmacies were invariably committed by drug offenders (OT 22208). This was confirmed by other senior law enforcement officers.

Senior Sergeant K. S. Astill of the Ne w South Wales Police Drug

Squad in evidence given in August 1979 told the Commission that there

was at that time a heroin drought and as a result the number of

robberies of pharmacies and armed holdups had increased (OT 23468).

Many drug users also admitted to stealing drugs from other u s e r s---

commonly referred to as a 1 rip o f f 1. One witness said in confidential

evi d e n c e :

My associates were regularly engaged in busting chemist shops and into drug company stores. I also conspired with friends to

relieve other drug addicts of their supplies.

(CT)

Trafficking

There is no doubt that most drug users traffic in drugs. Persons

dependent on heroin and other narcotics are especially likely to deal in drugs owing to the high cost of supporting the h a b i t .

Officers from all police forces and the Narcotics Bureau confirmed that the user/dealer was an integral part of the drug scene. For

e x a m p l e , Chief Inspector W. L. Goedegebuure of the Northern Territory

Police Force explained:

It has come to the knowledge of investigators of the Northern

Territory Police that a person who is addicted to heroin may

need as much as one hundred dollars per day to maintain such

addiction. There is no lawful way in which a heroin addict can

earn such sum of money and one of the most prevalent ways of

doing so is to sell drugs of most types.

(OT 5669)

A Queensland Police constable told the Commission in confidential session:

I do not think in my experience here or in Sydney that I have

ever effected an arrest of a person in possession of heroin for

sale or supply that was not either on it at the time of his

arrest or had immediately withdrawn from it. The bulk of

persons that I have personally charged with possession for sale or supply are addicts and they appear to p u s h , to sell, to

maintain their own habit...

(CT)

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Mr M. J. R o g e r s , the then Commander of the Nor t h e r n Reg i o n of the

Narcotics Bureau said:

It is true to say that efforts are being concentrated on

persons involved in alleged trafficking and it is equally true

to indicate that in many instances so-called 'traffickers' are 'users' as well. Through nec e s s i t y to support their own needs

of drugs and money to purchase drugs, users engage in

t r a f f i c k i n g .

(OT 4489)

A high p r o p ortion of drug users who appeared before the Commission

admitted to trafficking in drugs. In confidential evidence, one heroin and cannabis user stated, concerning his selling cannabis:

As far as selling, I was only selling for the purpose of

providing my own sm o k i n g---that was al l---because $30 every two

or three days is a lot of money.

(CT)

At a time when the same witness became addicted to heroin he

commenced to sell heroin as well:

The principle I worked on was that if I could get it and turn

perhaps half of it over, I could keep the other half for

myself.

(CT)

Another heroin user told the Commission in confidential evidence

that heroin is so expensive that few people are simply users; most sell

at least some to help finance their habit.

Some users have also been involved in importing illegal drugs into

Australia, some of the drug being reserved for their own use and the

remainder sold on the streets to cover the cost of their trip.

Theft of Goods or Money

Mr R. J. Phillips, Commander of the Eastern Region of the Narcotics

Bureau, stated that ma n y users and traffickers had turned to crime

because of the cost of their habit. Drug-oriented crime such as theft

and robbery had become necessary to satisfy needs for mo n e y (OT 9783).

A senior South Australian Police officer estimated that some 50--60

percent of all armed hold-ups were committed by people associated with

the drug sub-culture.

Confidential evidence presented to the Commission by a senior New

South Wales police officer showed that from 1 January 1979 to August

1979, all 36 persons involved in a total of 57 armed hold-ups on

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premises other than those in which drugs were stored were either

influenced by drugs or committed the offences for the purpose of

obtaining drugs.

One drug user currently serving a sentence for thefts from a service

station and a TAB agency told the Commission in confidential session of

the circumstances surrounding these crimes:

Prior to committing the two armed hold-ups in June, 1977 I was

under a lot of pressure. I had obtained heroin on credit and I

could not obtain any more until I paid 2,000.00 I owed to the

dealer. I had also been threatened that if I did not pay I

would have 'my head blown off' .

(CT)

Many other drug users who gave evidence before the Commission had

either been charged with, and convicted of, theft or admitted to

rob b e r i e s . Stealing from parents, e m p l o y e r s , other drug users, and

breaking into houses and shops are some of the means by which the drug

user obtains money or goods which can be easily exchanged for money.

Prostitution

The Commission received a considerable body of evidence which

suggested that a large proportion of young girls working as prostitutes or in massage parlours were dependent on d r u g s . Detective Senior

Sergeant T. N. Ferguson of the Queensland Police Drug Squad said that it

could be expected that:

. ..young girls who are addicted to drugs will be easy prey for

persons intent on recruiting girls for brothels and massage

parlours, because of their need for large amounts of money to

purchase d r u g s .

(0T 2069)

The South Australian Police believe that about 60% of girls in massage

parlours in that State are heroin addicts. The massage parlours

themselves may be outlets for d r u g s .

Police witnesses from Western Australia, New South Wales, and the

Australian Capital Territory stated that massage parlours were not drug distribution centres in their areas. However, a Victoria Police Officer said in confidential evidence:

Prostitutes are organised to the extent that they are

trafficking in h e r o i n , mainly directed around St. Kilda. One

group was using street prostitutes and the others the massage

p a r l o u r s . I have niggling in the back of my mind that two

groups are related back further than what we have got. They

are organised in the sense that they can acquire half-pounds

and delivering it at Cap. level on the street.

(CT)

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A young drug user who was involved in pro s t i t u t i o n and massage

parlour work said:

Most girls working in massage parlours are on drugs, largely

M a n d r a x . I found it easier to work while on heroin because it

was easier to stomach the clients. Most girls find that they

cannot work without being stoned and a lot have got habits.

(CT)

Other Criminal Activities

A Queensland Police officer told the Commission in confidential

session that homosexual and lesbian activities in Brisbane were closely associated with drug trafficking and use. Several of the homosexuals

were suspected of committing acts of sodomy and indecently dealing with

young male juveniles.

Crimes of violence, and even murder, are becoming more frequent in

some a r e a s---par t i c u l a r l y Sydney and M e l b o u r n e . Detective Inspector G .

D. Baker of the Victoria Police CIB Drug Bureau, said:

A most disturbing feature has been the increase in crimes of

violence, especially those which involve firearms and other

weapons. In the first quarter of 1979 there have already been

three killings which were associated with the illicit drug

s c e n e .

(OT 22209)

New South Wales is also experiencing an upsurge in drug related

m u r d e r s . Since April 1978 eight murders connected either with a drug

'r i p - o f f ' or drug assault for the purpose of obtaining drugs for money

have o c c u r r e d . More frequently traffickers and users are arming

t h e m s e l v e s , not against the police but against each o t h e r , owing to the

increased violence associated with drug dealing.

The Commission received evidence from users of illicit drugs that

they had been involved in assaults and armed attacks on their families,

friends and s t r a n g e r s . One young heroin user has been convicted of the

murder of a drug dealer. Within the drug scene violence has become more

common as users seek to obtain drugs from dealers by f o r c e , or dealers

take mo n e y or drugs from users during a t r a n s a c t i o n . .

Violent illegal acts are also committed against p r o p e r t y---two users about whom the Commission heard evidence have been convicted of

attempted or actual b o m b i n g s . Forging cheques and bank withdrawals were also mentioned by a small number of users who appeared before the

C o m m i s s i o n .

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Chapter 6 Multiple Drug Use

DEFINING MULTIPLE DRUG USE

The Final Report of the Canadian Commission of Enquiry into the Non­ Medical Use of Drugs (The Le Dain Report) remarked on a growing social

awareness of, and concern about, 'multiple drug u s e ' or 'poly-drug use'. That Report suggested that multiple drug use could be examined from two perspectives (Open Exhibit 22, pp. 726--27):

* concurrent multiple drug use, where the emphasis is on the patterns

of use and the inter-relationships of the various substances

employed by a user at a particular time; and

* sequential multiple drug use, which involves the study of the

sequence in which each drug comes to be used or added to the user's

repertoire of drugs.

Four distinct types of concurrent multiple drug use were identified:

* intermittent, involving the use of two or more drugs but not at the

same time;

* simultaneous, where two or more drugs are ingested in such close

conjunction that their effects interact;

* cyclical, where drugs are taken consecutively so that the later ones

modify or counteract the terminal effects of the earlier ones; and

* interchangeable, which involves the substitution of one drug with

another of similar psycho-pharmacological properties (Open Exhibit 22, pp. 727 — 28) .

The Canadian Commissioners were careful to distinguish the

sequential multiple drug use concept from the idea of 'progression'

whereby it is often suggested that there is a tendency for drug users to

gradually move up the drug hierarchy to the 'stronger' or 'hard' dru g s .

'The emphasis of the term "sequential" is on the movement from one drug

to another without necessarily implying increasing danger or movement to more potent substances, both of which are connoted by the word

"progression"' (Open Exhibit 22, p. 727).

In their assessment of the evidence available to them on the extent

and patterns of multiple drug use they noted that in many studies the

terms used were not clearly defined. A multiple drug user was often

simply defined as a person who had 'ever used' more than one substance.

They suggested that definitions of multiple drug use should specify the levels of regularity and frequency of drug use and, if possible, supply relevant dosage information (Open Exhibit 22, p. 726).

THE AUSTRALIAN SITUATION

A significant number of witnesses who appeared before this

Commission offered the opinion that multiple drug use in its various

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forms was extremely widespread in this country. There was, however,

little factual information on which to base an assessment of the real

extent of the phenomenon, and what was forthcoming was usually the

product of studies subject to the same limitations noted by the Le Dain

Commissioners. A selection of relevant evi d e n c e---some of it supported by quantitative data of one kind or another but some of it merely the

expression of opinion by well qualified witnesses, follows:

Dr J. Krupinski, Director of Research, Mental Health Aut h o r i t y of

Victoria presented in evidence a report published in 1973 entitled 'Drug Use by the Young Population of Melbourne' (Open Exhibit 182), which

included a paper b y Mr A. Mackenzie on 'Patterns of Drug Abuse in the

Drug Sub-culture'. This particular survey was specifically directed at 697 heavy drug users in M e lbourne and pr o d u c e d the following details of

multiple drug use in this section of the community.

Drug types and combinations Percentage

Marihuana only 18.1

Marihuana and hallucinogens 33.0

Marihuana and stimulants (with or without hallucinogens) 15.6

Most or all six drug types 30.8

Other, one-only type 1.4

No illicit drugs 1.1

100.0

(Open Exhibit 182, p. 43)

In commenting on this table the author stated:

It will be noted that wi t h the one exception of marijuana, the

use of single drugs only was minimal. Eighteen per cent of our

respondents relied on marijuana only, whilst almost ha l f of

them used marijuana with hallucinogens or stimulants. Thirty

per cent had had experience with most, if not all, of the six

drug types studied; that is, marijuana, hallucinogens,

stimulants, cocaine, sedatives and narcotics.

(Open Exhibit 182, p. 43)

Dr J. E. Aldred, Senior Medical Off i c e r of the Poisons Division,

Health Commission of Victoria, said that as at January 1978 there were

1700 permits in Victoria for methadone under a methadone treatment

program for opiate addiction (0T 2660). A sample of 300 files of these

patients gave the following details of multiple drug use:

90 per cent (i.e., 270) gave a history of multiple drug use

over several years.

Of the 10 per cent (i.e., 30) giving a history of

single drug use,

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1 per cent (i.e., 3) were dependent on c o d e i n e ,

8 per cent (i.e., 24) stated to have used heroin

only, 1 per cent ( i . e . , 3) stated to have used opiates

(usually methadone) only.

(OT 2661— 62)

Dr G. Milner, Director of the V i c torian Alcoholics and Drug

Dependent Persons Services Branch, told the Commission that

approximately 6000 admissions were handled by his organisation during 1976. Of these, about 1400 persons were admitted because of narcotics

use problems. Dr Milner stated that 85 per cent of the narcotics users

had multiple drug use h a b i t s , 15 per cent using more than six drugs at

any one time and 70 per cent using between two and five illicit d r u g s .

Dr Milner went on to describe multiple drug use 'in our consumer

societies' as 'the rule rather than the exception'. He summed up as

fo l l o w s :

It is an error to consider any one drug alone. As the

consumption by an individual, or a society, of a given drug

increases, there is a spill-over effect; other drugs are also

increasingly used. Thus we now know, in contrast to old

American f o l k - l o r e , that the user of marihuana is usually a

drinker of alcohol and a smoker of cigarettes---more so than

the non-marihuana user. The heavy user takes even a greater

range of drugs, and tends to use increasing amounts. This

progression is common social experience; the more beer you

drink, the more aspirins you will take, and eventually you are

likely to develop other problems and be prescribed

tranquillisers and other d r u g s .

(OT 2602)

Another source of quantitative data relevant to the possible extent of multiple drug use in Australia is the annual statistical report of

the Australia Crime Intelligence Centre of the Commonwealth Police

(ACIC) entitled 'Drug Abuse in Australia' (Open Exhibit 42). A section

of the ACIC report is devoted to multiple drug involvement in reported

offences and by reported o f f e n d e r s . Some of the more significant

conclusions derived from the data for 1977 and previous years are

recorded below.

The proportion of offenders involved with most drug combinations

remained relatively steady compared with corresponding figures for 1976 although multiple involvement with different types of narcotics increased substantially. 13.6 per cent of narcotics offenders were involved with at least two narcotic type drugs compared with 7.5 per cent in 1976.

Some 30 per cent of offenders involved with narcotics were also

involved with cannabis while only 5 per cent of cannabis offenders

were involved with narcotics. These figures duplicated the 1976

results almost exactly.

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- Multiple drug involvement was most obvious with a m p h etamine and

hallucinogen offenders during 1977, e . g . , ne a r l y two-thirds of

hallucinogen offenders were also involved with cannabis but only 1

p e r cent of cannabis offenders were involved with hallucinogens.

- Generally speaking cannabis offenders in 1977 and in p r evious years

showed a low p r o p e n s i t y for involvement with other d r u g s .

- Under the definitions employed heroin, pethidine, m e t h a d o n e , etc.,

are drug types of the drug group narcotics. Similar categorisations are applied to other d r u g s . In 1977 81.3 per cent of all offenders

and 70.7 per cent of all offences (compared with 82.5 pe r cent and

73.0 per cent respectively in 1976) involved one drug type only.

84.9 per cent (compared with 85.7 per cent in 1976) of all offenders

were involved in one drug group only. These figures indicate no

significant change in multiple drug involvement over the period.

(Open Exhibit 42, pp. 16--20)

Not unexpectedly, the multiple drug involvement of reported offences and offenders derived from ACIC data runs at a much lower level (around

15 per cent on total figures) than the sort of m u ltiple drug usage

figures (85 per cent--90 p e r cent) reported b y other witnesses surveying

the known drug using population. This simply reflects the fact that a

multiple drug user is fairly unlikely, at any one time, to be actually

charged with offences involving more than one d r u g . It would be far

more usual for him to be charged only with an offence involving a single

drug found in his pos s e s s i o n at the time of arrest despite the distinct

possibility, borne out by the other data, that he was involved with

other illicit d r u g s .

Yet another perspective of multiple drug use in the c o m munity was

introduced by a senior medical officer of the Commonwealth Dep a r t m e n t of Health. In confidential session he presented an analysis of drug deaths in Sydney from 1972 to 1978 based on a review of coroners' reports. The

multiple drug use information from this study was restricted to deaths

caused b y alcohol in combination with other drugs. As a pro p o r t i o n of

total deaths, use of barbiturates with alcohol rose from 3.4 pe r cent

in 1972 to a peak of 34.7 per cent in 1977, and in 1978 accounted for

23.9 per cent. The pro p o r t i o n of total a l cohol-related deaths involving alcohol intake in combination with other drugs bottomed at 5.4 per cent

in 1974 and peaked at 28.3 per cent in 1977. In 1978 it was 19.8 per

cent.

Generally speaking, they tended to support the v i e w that multiple

drug use is on the increase and that the regular heavy users of illicit

drugs are likely to be persons who also use a mul t i p l i c i t y of d r u g s ,

even while demonstrating a preference for one par t i c u l a r substance.

Mr K. P. L a r k i n s , Director of the Geelong Centre for Alcohol and

Drug Dependence, noted that multiple drug use was par t i c u l a r l y common

amongst heavy users:

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What we have noticed with the group of 'problem users' is that

in most cases there is multiple drug useage. Users of

marihuana are also users of alcohol and similarly with users of

heroin. Heavy use of one substance seems to be accompanied by

heavy use of others.

(OT 3102)

In confidential evidence, a Brisbane clergyman closely involved with the teenage drug sub-culture in that city expressed his opinion that

multiple drug use was increasing. The witness informed the Commission:

People today take everything. They drink, they shoot a bit of

heroin, they smoke pot, they drop mushies, they sometimes take datura, and it is a really fruit-salad thing, plus it has

become n o n - s p e c i a l i s e d ...

(CT)

Dr W. E . M i c k l e b u r g h , Director of the Mental Health Branch of the

Australian Capital Territory Health Commission, stated that multiple drug use was becoming very common. He said:

People will have a drug of preference very often of course; if

they can get heroin they will get heroin; but when it is

difficult to get or they haven't got the means to get it or

something, they will often go onto something e l s e . Even when

they have got heroin they will often use other drugs as w e l l .

I would say that multiple drug use is the common pattern rather

than single drug use.

(OT 1591)

In speaking of his experiences with heavy drug u s e r s , Mr W. D .

Crews, Director of the Wayside Chapel Crisis Centre, Kings Cross,

S y d n e y , stated:

Many of the people we see are the heavy abusers and abuse all

sorts of drugs. They will smoke 60 cigarettes a day and drink

more alcohol than the average person drinks. They will take

far more analgesics than the average person, too. As well as

that they are taking heroin and other things. You find a

person is abusing whatever he can get that is abusable. That

is a bit of a change to a few years ago when the heroin scene

only existed. You had acid or other d r u g s . The alcohol scene

also existed and the drugs were not mixed too m u c h . Nowadays

they are becoming the one thing and people are abusing whatever they can get.

(OT 11780)

Mr D . A. G o r d o n , Executive Director and Founder of the WHOS

Fellowship offered the opinion that the 'age of multiple drug u s e ' had

a r r i v e d . He told the C o m m i s s i o n :

We seldom get an addict coming to us now who is simply using

one d r u g . Barbiturates are commonly used with h e r o i n . This, I

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think, is ma i n l y because of the po o r quality of the heroin that

is being sold in the streets or the lack of treatment

facilities for a d d i c t s . They try to bring themselves off

heroin habits with barbiturates or drugs like Mandrax

(methaqualone) and since this is becoming harder to get drugs

like Serepax (ox a z e p a m ) .

The point is that addiction, is not caused by a singular drug

and if a pe r s o n can't get the drug that he first started using

he will simply use another drug unless he is given a better

alternative and shown how to live without drugs at all.

(OT 10153)

Dr M. J. Roland, P s y chiatrist-in-Charge of the Wistaria House

Treatment Centre in Sydney, described some of the drug combinations

commonly employed by heavy u s e r s . She stated:

Some people addicted to heroin take other d r u g s , especially

mandrax, methaqualone and marihuana. Simultaneous use of

heroin and barbiturates, e s p e cially in females, is also not

u n c o m m o n ... Heroin addicts use methadone, dextromoramide

(Palfium) and Dilaudid ( h y d r o m o r p h o n e ) , Percodan (oxycodone) obtained from general practitioners or sold in the drug sub­

culture .

(OT 14513)

Dr P. P. Manzie, a lecturer in the School of Community Medicine at

the University of New South Wales, informed the Commission that his

experience at the Brisbane Street Clinic, Sydney caused him to reject

the progression hypothesis that marihuana use inevitably led to hard

drugs. But he continued:

Admittedly, addictions never fail to be multiple. Other

n a r cotics---m o r p h i a , pethidine, Fortral, especially P a l f i u m---enter the spectrum. Mandrax is freely available. Lysergic

acid and amphetamine appear occasionally. Barbiturates and

chloral hydrate (Do r m e l , Noctec) would appear the most

damaging---unlike heroin, and like alcohol, they cause

permanent mental and physical i m p a i r m e n t . The m a j o r i t y of

pharmacists are careful in prescribing dangerous drugs. A few

doctors are less r e s p o n s i b l e , addicts know who will

'u n d e r s t a n d ' prescribe on request. F r o m the Brisbane Street

Drug Dependency Unit we have become aware of the dependency

potential of diazepam (Valium), need to resist being conned

into prescribing this psychotropic, to help sleep, or to allay

the tensions of 'coming d o w n ' . Male addicts often, but not

always, drink heavily, the women not so m u c h---a pattern shared

with the 'no r m a l ' population. All smoke to excess.

Barbiturates are usually injected intravenously, Carbrital

being a f a v o u r i t e .

...To sum up, the clients seen at Brisbane Street almost all

take a variety of d r u g s , including cannabis products, perhaps

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cost and availability be i n g d e t e r m i n a n t s ; but do not show a

pattern of progression from soft to hard.

(OT 12948)

Ms A. J. M. Bryant, Senior Social Worker from the Buoyancy

Foundation of Victoria, told the Commission that:

Whilst it has been found that most users have a particular

preference for a certain substance, multiple drug use is very

common.

(OT 3090)

In a submission originally tendered to the South Australian Royal

Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs and subsequently

incorporated into the evidence of this Commission, the Medical

Superintendent of the Hillcrest Hospital, Gilles Plains, South

Australia, Dr W. F. Salter said:

They are inclined to multi-drug use and not n e c e ssarily to any

specific drug. Originally when the drug-taking vogue came into being, there was a tendency for a person to become experienced

in the use of one drug and get to know that one well. More

recently it seems that the drug-taking po p u l a c e tend to use

anything that is available. There is also a habit of sharing

around drugs that are available at the time.

(OT 8104)

The widespread occurence of interchangeable multiple drug use in the community was further illustrated in an indirect fashion by a member of

the N e w South Wales Police Drug Squad. Senior S ergeant K. S. Astill

told the Commission that the best way of confirming that there was a

heroin shortage was by reference to the number of ph a r m a c y robberies.

These regularly increased in response to a 'drought' as addicts sought

heroin substitutes such as pethidine, dextromoramide (Palfium) and

methaqualone (Mandrax) (OT 23468).

A Health Department officer, in providing examples of multiple drug use, reported that of 15 patients admitted to two capital city hospitals in the two months immediately prior to his giving evidence, 10 had used

two or more drugs at one time or another. The four most extreme

examples of multiple drug use (i.e., 'ever used' drugs) were as follows:

Case history 1 (male): morphine, amphetamines, LSD, heroin, cocaine, marihuana, p silocybin/psilocin.

Case history 2 (male): LSD, heroin, marihuana, diazepam and other

tranquillisers, antidepressants, barbiturates.

Case history 3 (female): heroin, pethidine, cocaine, methadone, LSD, methaqualone, dextromoramide.

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Case history 4 (sex u n k n o w n ) : a m p h e t a m i n e s , LSD, m a r i h u a n a , hashish (Confidential Exhibit 25, p .1).

The witness indicated that a disturbing feature was that the

medicinal c o m p o u n d s , e . g . , the antidepressants, barbiturates, etc., employed by many of the multiple drug users presenting for treatment

were obtained on genuine prescriptions from medical practitioners.

The case histories of addicts' and former addicts' provided

elsewhere in this Part give useful examples of the prevalence of

multiple drug abuse.

OVERSEAS TRENDS

Dr D. de Souza of the Commonwealth Department of Health, informed

the Commission of the most recent developments discussed by the 28th

Session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs at Geneva in

Fe b r u a r y 1979. He said that although drug abuse characteristics varied considerably from one country to another, a rapidly increasing tendency toward multiple drug abuse had been reported from many a r e a s , including

Oceania (OT 21024 and 21042). Quoting from the conference report, Dr de

Souza c o n t i n u e d :

multiple drug a b u s e ,...with the exception of traditional opium

consumption, was emerging as the most common pattern of dr u g ­

taking in most countries of the w o r l d . Various kinds of

combinations were applied. Multiple drug abuse was often

combined wi t h consumption of alcohol. Easily available

substances were usually combined, often in order to experience a stronger effect or as a substitute for a drug of choice which

was not available.

(OT 21031)

A p a r t icular consumption pattern giving rise to increasing concern was the frequent taking of opiates in combination with other

psychoactive substances such as barbiturates, non-barbiturate sedative hypnotics and alcohol (OT 21026). Also widely reported were increases

in the abuse of cannabis/alcohol combinations especially amongst young persons (OT 21027).

GENERAL

Clearly, Australia is not alone in experiencing an upsurge in

multiple drug u s e---it is a world-wide p h e n o m e n o n . The precise causes

are difficult to ascertain. Perhaps the increasingly widespread

availability of a va r i e t y of drugs both legal and illegal, coupled with

short-term fluctuations in the supply of heroin and cannabis, have been the main factors leading to multiple, or poly-drug use especially

amongst the regular drug taking segment of the population.

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The increasing tendency toward multiple drug use obviously has

important implications for the planning and implementation of all

programs---law enforcement, education, treatment and rehabilitation, etc.---aimed at arresting the drug problem. Administrators need to

recognise that multiple drug use introduces an additional perspective which must be taken into account if the anti-drug programs they control

are to continue to address themselves to the problems of the real world

and thus remain fully effective.

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Part I V

T he Factual Term s o f R eference

Part IV The Factual Terms of Reference

C h a p t e r 1. P r o d u c t i o n of I l l egal D r u g s

C h a p t e r 2. M e t h o d s o f I m p o r t a t i o n o f Illegal Drugs

C h a p t e r 3. E x t e n t of I m p o r t a t i o n o f Illegal Drugs

C h a p t e r 4. E x p o r t a t i o n of I l l e g a l D r u g s

C h a p t e r 5. T r a f f i c k i n g in I l l e g a l D rugs

C h a p t e r 6. T e r m o f R e f e r e n c e C:

The E x t e n t of

(i) I l l egal Use of D r u g s

(ii) Illegal D i v e r s i o n o f Drugs

( H i ) M i s u s e of D r ugs so far as is

R e l e v a n t to the I l l egal U s e

of D r ugs

C h a p t e r 7. The O r g a n i s e d B a s i s o f D r u g - r e l a t e d C r i m e

T h e C o m m i s s i o n h a s c a l l e d Ter m s o f R e f e r e n c e (a), ( b ) ,

(c) a n d (d) 'The F a c t u a l T e r m s of R e f e r e n c e ' b e c a u s e t h e y

r e q u i r e d the C o m m i s s i o n to a s s e s s s i t u a t i o n s w h i c h in f a c t

e x i s t . T h o s e T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e r e q u i r e an i n q u i r y a n d r e p o r t

u p o n :

(a) t h e e x t e n t of, a n d the m e t h o d s u s e d in:

(i) ( H ) ( H i )

the i l l e g a l i m p o r t a t i o n of d r u g s ;

the i l l e g a l e x p o r t a t i o n of d r u g s ;

the i l l e g a l p r o d u c t i o n of d r u g s ;

an d

(iv) the i l l e g a l t r a f f i c k i n g in d r u g s ;

(b) t h e p l a c e s w h e r e d r u g s m e n t i o n e d in p a r a g r a p h (a)

a r e p r o d u c e d o r f r o m w h i c h t h e y a r e o b t a i n e d a n d

t h e p l a c e s to w h i c h t h o s e d r u g s a r e s e nt;

(c) th e e x t e n t to w h i c h :

(i) ( H )

d r u g s a r e i l l e g a l l y u s e d ;

d r u g s l a w f u l l y o b t a i n e d are d i v e r t e d

to i l l e g a l t r a f f i c k i n g or i l l e g a l

( H i )

u s e s ; or

d r u g s a r e m i s u s e d in s o far as s u c h

m i s u s e is r e l e v a n t to the i l l e g a l

use o f dr u g s ;

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(d) t h e e x t e n t (if any) to w h i c h t h e i l l e g a l a c t i v i t i e s

m e n t i o n e d in p a r a g r a p h (a) o r the i l l e g a l us e or

t h e d i v e r s i o n m e n t i o n e d in p a r a g r a p h (c) a r e e n g a g e d

in, d i r e c t l y o r i n d i r e c t l y , b y p e r s o n s w h o e n g a g e ,

on an o r g a n i s e d b a s i s , in o t h e r i l l e g a l a c t i v i t i e s ,

w h e t h e r or n o t r e l a t e d to d r u g s ;

It w a s f o r e s h a d o w e d in P a r t I C h a p t e r 3 t h at, b e c a u s e

e v i d e n c e r e c e i v e d b y t h e C o m m i s s i o n w a s i n v a r i a b l y r e l e v a n t

to m o r e than o n e o f t h e s e p a r a t e q u e s t i o n s p o s e d b y th e T e r m s

o f R e f e r e n c e , it w o u l d m a k e f o r a m u c h c l e a r e r R e p o r t i f the

f a c t u a l m a t t e r s r e l a t i n g to t h e s e f o u r T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e

w e r e c o n s i d e r e d u n d e r t h e h e a d i n g s s e t o u t a b o v e . T e r m o f

R e f e r e n c e (c) c o n t a i n s t h r e e s e p a r a t e q u e s t i o n s a n d t h e

a n s w e r s to t h e m i n e v i t a b l y o v e r l a p o n e a n o t h e r . F o r t h i s

r e a s o n t h e t i t l e to C h a p t e r 6 is l o n g a n d i n e l e g a n t .

U n d e r t h o s e h e a d i n g s a r e s u m m a r i s e d m a n y t h o u s a n d s o f p a g e s

o f e v i d e n c e so th e s u m m a r y i t s e l f r e f l e c t s c o n c l u s i o n s w h i c h

t h e C o m m i s s i o n h a s f o r m e d on t h i s e v i d e n c e . No r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s

a r e m a d e in t h i s P a r t b u t r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s m a d e e l s e w h e r e in

t h e R e p o r t a r e i n f l u e n c e d by th e C o m m i s s i o n ' s c o n c l u s i o n s on

e v i d e n c e r e l a t i v e to t h e s e f a c t u a l t e r m s o f r e f e r e n c e .

The C o m m i s s i o n w a s n o t a s k e d in its T e r m s o f R e f e r e n c e to

i d e n t i f y a n d n a m e p e o p l e w h o m a y b e b r e a k i n g the law. It

t h e r e f o r e t o o k t h e v i e w t h a t it s f u n c t i o n wa s n o t to i n v e s t i ­

g a t e a n d i d e n t i f y l a w b r e a k e r s a n d that the i n v e s t i g a t i o n ,

d e t e c t i o n a n d p r o s e c u t i o n o f s u c h p e r s o n s wa s a m a t t e r f o r l a w

e n f o r c e m e n t a g e n c i e s . C a r e h a s b e e n t a k e n n o t to n a m e s u s p e c t e d

p e r s o n s in the R e p o r t , j u s t as c a r e w a s t a k e n in the c o n d u c t o f

th e C o m m i s s i o n n o t to p u b l i c i s e th e a c t i v i t i e s o f p e r s o n s f o r

w h i c h t h e y h a d n o t b e e n c o n v i c t e d . T h i s a p p r o a c h w a s a d o p t e d to

e n s u r e t h a t the n o r m a l p r o c e s s e s o f th e l a w w e r e n o t i m p e d e d .

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Chapter 1 Production of Illegal Drugs

INTRODUCTION

For convenience, drugs of abuse may be considered as falling into two

broad categories. The first category includes natural plant products

and their immediate derivatives. Most of these ha v e , or had, important

or valuable applications in medicine (including folk medicine) but

several of them never had any real medicinal uses, being employed in

social and religious ceremonial and ritual. These products come from

well defined, even if widely spread, geographical areas. Most have

been replaced in Western systems of medicine by synthetic or semi­

synthetic substitutes, leaving the natural materials with only limited applications in modern medicine. It is in this category that many of

the most widely abused drugs are found. They include opium, cannabis,

coca, and the naturally occurring hallucinogens found in some species of fungi and other plants such as cacti and vines. A few natural animal

products are also known to have hallucinogenic properties.

The second category of abused substances comprises the modern chemo­ therapeutic drugs developed for highly specific medical purposes but

sometimes found to have side-effects that can lead to the development of dependence in patients taking them. Those side-effects may render them interesting or desirable to those seeking distinctive life styles.

This category includes sedatives and hypnotics, such as the barbiturates and methaqualone, stimulants such as the amphetamines and pain killers such as codeine and pentazocine.

Several of the natural products in the first category, especially

the opiates, cannabis, and cocaine, are produced in great quantities in certain parts of the world to satisfy the considerable and continuing

demand. They enter the illicit drug market mostly through the

activities of organised drug traffickers. It is here that drug abuse

and large-scale crime have their closest links.

For reasons connected with their relatively high cost and restricted availability (due to the actions of law enforcement agencies) attempts have been made to produce some of these substances in Australia. For

example, cannabis has been introduced successfully in many places

although the hemp-producing variety dates here from the days of the

First Fleet. Australia has the capacity to become self-sufficient in

cannabis. The coca bush has not been grown in Australia but opium

poppies are commercially cultivated in Tasmania to obtain morphine and codeine for pharmaceutical purposes. However, illicit opium production is not known her e . Generally speaking, there is no significant illicit manufacturing of narcotics in Australia.

In producing countries, while certain of the natural plant products and derivatives subject to abuse are prohibited or strongly discouraged, others do not appear to warrant official sanctions. The national

authorities may find it very difficult, if not impossible, to prevent

production of prohibited substances. This could be either because the

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producers rely o n the crops for their livelihood, because the p roduct is

n e c essary for the wellbeing or survival of the pop u l a t i o n groups using

it, for reasons of political expediency, or because the central

government does not enjoy full control throughout the country. For

e x a m p l e , unless grown under licence, opium cultivation is pro h i b i t e d in p r a c tically all the countries where it is p roduced but there continues

to be massive output in some areas. In South America coca plants are

extensively cultivated and the leaves are chewed by the Indian

p o p ulation as a means of adapting to their harsh geographical and

economic c i r c u m s t a n c e s . Thus it is difficult for the authorities to ban

the p r o duction and use of coca without seriously affecting the life

style of these Indians. Illicit trafficking in coca and cocaine is

therefore possible. It has to be recognised that, as long as there is a

demand for these so-called recreational d r u g s , attempts will be made by

those seeking profits to meet that demand, w hether p r o d u c t i o n is

permitted or prohibited.

Pharmaceutical substances in the second category are either legally imported into A u s tralia or are manufactured within the country.

Supplies of these drugs reaching illicit users are m o s t l y stolen or

otherwise diverted from manufacturers and pharmacists or obtained

through doctors, for example as a result of overprescribing. Illicit

attempts to manufacture drugs such as amphetamines and lysergic acid

diethylamide (LSD) have been detected from time to time in Australia but this production has never been significant in the overall p icture of

drug abuse. Therefore, restrictions placed on the importation and

prescribing of certain drugs considered d a n g e r o u s , or their total

prohibition, are fairly effective ways of reducing abuse since it is not financially rewarding for illicit importers to face the risks involved in importing drugs which have only a relatively low 's t r e e t ' market

v a l u e .

THE OPIATES

Opium Production and Illicit Narcotics

Historically, cultivation of the opium poppy, p apaver somniferum, was widespread over large parts of Asia (the modern countries of Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China and some other areas). The

poppy can grow at fairly high altitudes in poor soils, making it an

ideal crop in many s i t u a t i o n s . Opium poppies are now grown legally in

Turkey, Pakistan, India, and also in Australia (Tasmania), but there is large-scale illicit production of opium in B u r m a , Thailand and p ossibly Laos (the Golden Triangle countries), Pakistan, Afghanistan, and M e x i c o . It is reported that China no longer produces any opium but there ma y be

some illicit production in Iran and India.

As far as Australia is c o n c e r n e d , evidence received b y the

Commission in Australia and information gathered during overseas visits indicated clearly that the major source of illicit opiate narcotics is

the Golden Triangle, a rugged highland area of some 60 000 square

k i l o m e t r e s , centred on the borders of B u r m a , Thailand and Laos but

considered by some experts to extend into South China.

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Estimates of total op i u m output from the Golden Triangle have varied considerably. Figures range from 450 tonnes in 1975 to 250— 300 tonnes in 1977, of which Thailand was believed to have produced only one-quarter, to as m u c h as 500--700 tonnes annually, around 400 tonnes in B u r m a ,

130--200 tonnes in Thailand, and an unknown amount in Laos. The opium

is produced by hill tribes living in scattered, semi-permanent villages in mountainous and densely-forested areas of northern Thailand, no r t h ­ eastern Burma and north-western Laos. The people practise a ' slash-and- burn' style of agriculture, destroying areas of forest to plant their

c r o p s . The soil is quickly impoverished and whole villages then move to

a new location. As a consequence, there is little regard for political

boundaries and the national authorities find it exceedingly difficult to penetrate into the region or to keep track of the semi-nomadic t r i b e s .

Opium is a convenient cash crop for these people, and almost the

only one available to tribes living over 1000 metres above sea level.

It is easy to handle and transport and gives a reasonable return; it is

also used by the people themselves for medicinal and recreational

purposes. The remainder of the crop is sold or bartered to traffickers,

a practice which the tribes see as legitimate trading. It is reported

that the average annual opium output per family is 2 k i l o g r a m s . In 1976

the price received for opium was about $200 per kilogram. Incomes are

therefore small and if acceptable substitute crops could be found,

offering the hill tribes a higher income and standard of living, opium

production might be greatly reduced. This strategy is being pursued

actively in some places, especially in Thailand w h e r e , for e x a m p l e ., the 'King's Hill Tribe Development P r o j e c t ' has been in operation since

1969.

After purchasing the opium, traffickers may elect to extract the

morphine base close to the production a r e a . This process, which

requires large amounts of lime and other s u p p l i e s , reduces the volume

and weight to be handled subsequently to a tenth. The morphine base or

opium is carried by caravans to illicit heroin laboratories in the

B u r m a — Thailand border a r e a , usually in Burma but also in Thailand.

There heroin is produced using chemicals, especially acetic anhydride brought from southern Thailand, first by road and then by animal

t r a n s p o r t .

Most heroin appears in two forms,---No. 3 heroin, a granular form

with some coloration and commonly referred to as 'beige rocks' 'brown

rocks' or 'grey rocks' and No. 4 heroin, a white powder. The purity or

concentration of diamorphine in both forms can vary because of several

f a c t o r s , including the skill of the manufacturer or perhaps the wish to have a particular level of purity to meet a particular market. However, it is generally recognised that although heroin No. 3 can have a purity

as high as 80 per cent diamorphine and heroin No. 4 can have a purity of

90 per cent or m o r e , most of the 'pure' No. 3 heroin imported into

Australia has a concentration of between 35 and 55 p e r cent diamorphine

while most of the 'pure' heroin No. 4, imported has purity of between 80

and 90 per c e n t . The heroin then enters the illicit world market mainly

through Burma or Thailand. Thailand appears to be the immediate source of most of the heroin coming to Australia.

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The use of opiate narcotics is p r o h i b i t e d in Burma and T h a i l a n d and

the respective governments actively engage in suppression. H o w e v e r they have a formidably difficult task. The Burmese G o v e rnment readily

concedes that Burma has a substantial local drug problem. The Burmese

army and police force are actively trying to prevent drug p r o d u c t i o n and

trafficking but they face great problems because of the unsettled

conditions in the narcotics pro d u c i n g areas, e s p ecially the border

r e g i o n s , and the presence there of p o werful dissident and insurgent

g r o u p s , some of which are m o tivated pol i t i c a l l y and others b y purely

commercial considerations. The resources available to the Government

are not sufficient to dislodge these g r o u p s .

In Thailand, efforts to suppress narcotics p r o duction are made by

the G o v e r n m e n t , pri m a r i l y through the Police Narcotics S u p p ression

Centre, but with inadequate resources and limited s u c c e s s . In addition, the Commission received evidence that corruption among some Thai

mil i t a r y and police officers inhibited those efforts.

The situation in Laos is not known with any degree of certainty.

The Laotian Government has made a pu b l i c commitment to drug abuse

control but it has also stated that it cannot be expected to take action

against drug p r o duction and trafficking w ithout extensive f oreign aid.

Informed witnesses appearing before the Commission all ag r e e d that South-East A s i a---the Golden T r i a n g l e--- was the main source of illicit

narcotics in Australia. However, small individual importations m a y come from the other areas. This is being c a r efully monitored.

Transit Countries

Ma n y times in Australia and in S o u th-East Asia the C o m m i s s i o n was

told that international drug traffickers had the finance and p l a n n i n g

skills to vary the routes and methods of their smuggling activities with considerable dexterity, speed and efficiency. However, mo s t expert

evidence suggested that transit points of special concern to Aus t r a l i a at present were those in Malaysia and Indonesia, with S i ngapore of

lesser i m p o r t a n c e .

Malaysia is the major transit point for Golden Triangle opiates and

also Thai-produced cannabis tops coming to Australia. The reasons for

the importance of Malaysia as a transit area include its ready local

m a r k e t , its closeness to Burma and Thailand, its land, sea and air

connections with those countries, and its long coastline w h i c h is

difficult to patrol and is dotted with innumerable, mostly u n o c c u p i e d , islands. Penang and Kuala Lumpur have direct international air

connections with Bangkok and Rangoon. In the near future Ch i a n g Mai

(Thailand), where large-scale drug trafficking takes place, will also operate as an international airport, connecting directly with Malaysia. Penang is at present a major transit area for illegal drugs en route to

Australia by sea (yachts, passenger liners and cargo ships) or air.

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Malaysia continues to amend its laws by introducing heavier

penalties, and in the future traffickers may seek to by-pass this

country, as they now tend to by-pass S i n g a p o r e . But while the

availability of alternative routes makes it relatively easy for

smugglers carrying drugs to Australia to by-pass Singapore, it would not be as easy for them to by-pass Malaysia.

The Commission received considerable evidence that Indonesia has

been, and is b e i n g , used as a transit area for drugs coming to Australia

by both air and sea. Indonesia, along with Papua New Guinea, is

Australia's closest neighbour, part of West Irian being approximately 200 km from Horn island, a distance well within the range of virtually

all aircraft. Likewise, Keopang is approximately 750 km from Darwin, a

distance well within the range of most light aircraft.

There seems little doubt that efficient law enforcement has resulted in a substantial diminution in the use of Singapore as a transit area

for drugs bound for Australia.

Licit Cultivation of Opium Poppies in Australia

In Australia, three companies are licensed to manufacture opium

derivatives from opium poppies grown in T a s m a n i a . These companies are

Glaxo Australia Pty Ltd, Tasmanian Alkaloids Pty Ltd. and Abbott

Chemical Pty Ltd. A witness told the Commission that a worldwide

shortage of morphine and codeine had followed the cessation of opium

cultivation in Turkey in 1971 and a number of countries, including India and Australia, increased their acreages of opium poppies in order to

overcome these shortages. Following a program of research and plant

breeding trials in the late 1960s and early 1970s commercial opium poppy cultivation began in Tasmania in 1971. This industry is based on poppy

straw extraction, that is, use of the dried stems and seed capsules of

the plant to obtain the alkaloids. No opium is produced at any stage.

A po p p y straw extraction plant was set up at Port Fairy, Victoria, in

1972 and another plant was later constructed at Westbury in Tasmania.

Tasmanian poppy growers must be licensed by the State Minister for

Health and are required to be contracted to one of the two companies and

to sell their entire crop to that company. The Poppy Advisory and

Control B o a r d , established by the Tasmanian Government and comprising representatives of the Departments of Health (Commonwealth and S t a t e ) , Agriculture, and Police, is responsible for enforcing the provisions of legislation relating to this industry and effects liaison with the two

producing companies. The Board's responsibilities for control and

supervision are comprehensive, embracing annual production, maximum stock holdings, security arrangements, factory p r o c e d u r e s , and

transportation of poppy straw, morphine base and codeine.

Licit poppy growing in Australia is limited to Tasmania, principally for reasons of security but also because the climatic conditions there

are suitable. In fact, Tasmanian-grown opium poppies give a higher

yield of alkaloids than crops grown in most other countries. A police

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witness told the Com m i s s i o n that poppy crops are cultivated in all parts of Tasmania except the west and south-west. In 1976— 77 the total

acreage of p oppies was 17 242, there were 747 licensed g r o w e r s , and the

yield of poppies was 9071 tonnes.

A c c ording to a Commonwealth Department of Health w i t n e s s , appearing before the C o m mission in 1977, Turkey's resumption of poppy cultivation on a large scale in 1974 could me a n that the world shortage of opiates

would be overcome quickly and a dangerous oversupply situation could

d e v e l o p . It should be noted that Turkey does not now produce opium but

utilises poppy straw for extraction of alkaloids. In final hearings in

1979, a senior Commonwealth Department of Health witness said that

Australia had recently come under some criticism i n t ernationally on

account of the world overproduction of opiates, to which Australia was

contributing. It was expected that b y 1985 the world would be producing

half as much again as would be required for legitimate p u r p o s e s . This

could cause the price of morphine to fall v e r y low and thereby encourage

farmers in countries such as Turkey and India to sell their opium on the

illicit market. He emphasised that this was not actually happening but

it was a definite risk. A l though Turkey had turned to po p p y straw

p r o c e s s i n g , if the farmers there could not make a satisfactory living

that way they would be tempted to go back to lancing the green poppy

capsules and collecting opium. At present there were heavy penalties

for doing this, and the Turkish authorities claimed there was no leakage of opium from Turkey, but he pointed out that Turkey was a relatively

poor country in b a d economic circumstances. Australia was therefore

coming under pressure to reduce the area of poppy cultivation b y at

least 20 per cent.

Illicit Use of Tasmanian Poppies

Several witnesses referred to the p o s s ibility of stolen poppies from Tasmanian poppy fields being used for illicit production of n a r c o t i c s . Most witnesses agreed that detected thefts had to date been on a very

small scale but several expressed the vi e w that security measures

required strengthening. A Tasmanian police officer said that as far as

he knew the only law enforcement agency with responsibility for the

security of the p o p p y crops was the State Police. To his knowledge the

Commonwealth Police was not involved in the security of crops but had

some responsibility during their transportation for processing. He

believed that the Bureau of Narcotics was not involved at a l l . The

Acting Assistant Dir e c t o r (Pharmaceutical) of the Commonwealth

Department of Health, Mr Murray Murton, told the Commission that he

could see no possibility of narcotics being diverted from the factories because the record-keeping was so accurate (0T 1361). A representative of the Australian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association agreed that there was no possibility of leakages of narcotics from factories. Dr R.

C. Webb, Director of the Commonwealth Department of He a l t h in Victoria

said that to date no containers had arrived at Port Fa i r y with seals and

padlocks broken, and there had been no reason to suspect that shipments

had been tampered with or that stated weights were inaccurate (OT 2845).

Whilst interference with poppy crops has resulted in the removal of

green capsules, there is no indication of attempts to produce opium.

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Evidence was given that some people were stealing green capsules and

boiling them in water, then evaporating most of the w a t e r , in an attempt

to obtain a strong solution of m o r p h i n e . Witnesses said that these

methods were generally unrewarding but a few users had claimed some

s uccess. A senior pharmacist employed b y the Tasmanian Department of

Health said that arrangements for boiling up capsules had b e e n found in

the b u s h and that people returning from leave to drug treatment centres

sometimes had positive urine tests for morphine as a result of drinking

a tea made from poppy capsules. It had been confirmed that a recent

death in Tasmania was due to an overdose of alkaloids (morphine,

thebaine and codeine) which were present in the body in the same

proportions as in poppy capsules, indicating that the deceased had

consumed a br e w made from stolen capsules. The witness could not say

how many capsules the deceased used. Traces were found in an otherwise

empty container, but the quantity consumed was not known.

Witnesses pointed out that although methods of using stolen poppy

capsules might be very primitive at the present time, development of

sophisticated means of extracting the morphine had to be expected.

Tighter security was therefore essential. A Tasmanian police officer

told the Commission that reported cases of interference with poppy crops rose from 15 in 1976 to 41 in 1978. A witness employed by the

Department of Health Services thought that the 15 reported cases in 1976 were only a small percentage of the actual number of cases of

interference that occurred. Only one person was prosecuted in 1976 but

five persons were prosecuted in each of the years 1977 and 1978. This

witness thought that if papaver bracteatum poppies could be substituted for papaver somniferum security would be easier as people would be less

inclined to interfere with papaver bracteatum c r o p s . Earlier, Inspector T. W. Cashion, head of the Tasmanian Drug Bureau, explained to the

Commission that the alkaloid thebaine is obtained from papaver

bracteatum and that this substance can be used to produce codeine. This

plant does not produce opium (OT 1130).

Illicit Cultivation of Opium Poppies in Australia

There is little evidence that opium poppies are grown illicitly in

Australia but a South Australian witness reported that poppies were

being grown in the W oodner— Elliston area of the Eyre Peninsula and that

considerable acreages were involved. He said that the area was rather

desolate with farms situated 20--30 miles apart. A Bureau of Customs

officer working in the region subsequently confirmed these statements. The witness thought that the crop was being exported out of the State

and did not suggest that opium was being p r o d u c e d .

Illicit Manufacture of Heroin in Australia

Although licit production of the opium poppy and opiates is closely controlled in Australia, it appears that a loophole for illicit

manufacturing of heroin exists, namely employing codeine phosphate

obtained from proprietary preparations. Codeine is a Schedule 3 drug

and some preparations containing it can be obtained from pharmacists

without prescription. It is a useful analgesic and cough-suppressant.

A senior pharmacist employed by the NSW Health Commission told the

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Commission that in one instance a p h a r m a c i s t sold six dozen packets of

Codiphen (which contains codeine phosphate), each containing 100

tablets, to a single p u r c h a s e r . Un d e r appropriate conditions this

q u antity of tablets could yield about 36 grams of heroin. He added that

a l though this p h a r m a c i s t was not b reaking the law, he was not abiding by

the spirit of the law. Since this evidence was given, sales of

analgesics containing codeine have been restricted.

The Commission was informed that heroin was not legally manufactured in A u s t r a l i a , and until 1975 it was believed that there was no illegal

manufacturing. H o w e v e r , in 1975 and 1976, five illicit heroin

laboratories were d i s c o v e r e d : three in Sydney, one in M e l b o u r n e , and one in Cairns. The method used in m a n u f a cturing the heroin was u n i q u e , and

A u stralia had the doubtful distinction of being the first country in

wh i c h the process was used for illicit purposes. Codeine phosphate

o btained from o v e r-the-counter sales of tablets or through thefts from p h a r macies was converted into morphine and then into heroin. The

operators used a recipe that originally appeared in a scientific

publ i c a t i o n in 1951. The process was limited to a small batch scale,

using 20— 30 g of c odeine at a time. M r M.A. B e s l e y , Secretary of the

Department of Bus i n e s s and Consumer Affairs, added that the last of

laboratories was d e tected in April 1976 and since then there had been

no evidence of other laboratories starting to operate (OT 73— 74). An

informed wit n e s s said h e believed reports that ;an illicit laboratory

in Sydney was c u rrently manufacturing bet w e e n 5 and 50 kg of heroin a

w e e k we r e most un l i k e l y to be t r u e .

Comments on Illicit Production of the Opiates.

The evidence dealing with production of the opiates showed that a

certain security risk attaches to the Tasmanian opium poppy crop.

However, as long as thefts and diversions can be kept to a low level,

and if supplies of narcotics continue to reach Australia from overseas

sources, direct p r o duction of narcotics from opium poppies is unlikely to be a significant pro b l e m in this country. This situation could

change if interception of illegal importations created a serious

shortage of 1 street' heroin. As far as the indirect manufacturing of

heroin from codeine is concerned, because of the limited output

possibilities, the need for adequate supplies of the starting materials and laboratory facilities, and the disadvantageous cost structure of the operation; all this is likely to remain a challenge to enterprising

individuals with some knowledge of chemistry rather than a serious

breach in narcotic control e f f o r t s .

COCAINE

Cocaine is obtained from the leaves of the shrubs belonging to the

genus Erythroxylon which are natives of western South America. The main source is Erythroxylon coca. Coca leaves have been consumed for many

centuries b y Indians living in the high Andes and also to some extent by

those living at lower altitudes in tropical situations, and this use

still continues. The leaves are generally masticated, often with the

addition of lime or ash, but in some circumstances infusions are

prepared from the l e a v e s . It is claimed that the stimulating and

energising properties of the leaves relieve the fatigue and hunger

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associated with extreme poverty or during long journeys when little food is available. The Indians also use coca as a remedy for a variety of

illnesses, to ensure longevity, as an a p h r o d i s i a c , and in religious

practices. Reports about the spectacular properties of coca reached

Europe and North America around the end of the nineteenth century, and

large amounts of leaves were imported and used to make coca wines,

tonics, and patent medicines of all k i n d s . This era was of relatively

short duration but at this time the main active principle of coca was

isolated and named 'cocaine'. No fewer than 13 other alkaloids are

present in the natural coca, but these have b e e n little studied.

Cocaine proved to be a highly effective local anaesthetic, the world's

first, and it came to be widely used in surgical and dental operations.

However, it also proved to be a powerful central nervous system (CNS)

stimulant producing pleasurable sensations that caused users to become psychologically dependent. It also was found to have considerable

t o x i c i t y . Synthetic local anaesthetics such as procaine and lignocaine, which are less toxic and free from the CNS stimulating effects, are now

very generally employed but cocaine continues to be used in surgical

procedures involving the eye, nose, throat and urethral mucosa.

Legislative action to restrict the free use of cocaine was taken

in the United States b etween 1906 and 1914, and the Harrison Narcotics

Act of 1914 (with amendments in 1922, 1951, and 1956) really marked the

end of the 'cocaine e r a ' though cocaine remains a prestigious, but

c o s t l y , recreational drug in some sections of the c o m m u n i t y . In the

last decade or so there has been a renewed interest in cocaine in the

United States, and some South American countries are reported to have

increased their output ve r y considerably. So far, this renewed interest appears not to have spread to any extent outside the United States and

some parts of Europe.

Most of the world's legally produced coca is grown in Bolivia and

Peru. Figures released by the Peruvian Government in 1975 showed that

pro d u c t i o n was authorised in 11 of the 24 departments of the country

wi t h over half the total annual output coming from the Department of

C u z c o . Local consumption inside the country accounted for 60 per cent

of the crop and it can be assumed that the rest was exported or made

available for export. In Bolivia in 1975 coca growing was legal in all

departments but actual production was confined to a few areas. United

States estimates indicated that more than half of the Bolivian

pop u l a t i o n were consumers of coca and that three and a half times as

mu c h coca was consumed locally as was exported legally. It is by no

means certain that coca production is confined, or even largely

confined, to these two countries or that all coca production there is

under government control. There is evidence of extensive illegal

production in Argentina, B r a z i l , C o l o m b i a , and Ecuador but no firm data are available.

Illicit laboratories in the coca-producing countries prepare cocaine (usually the hydrochloride salt) for illegal export. Depending on the

level of refinement the product may be relatively pure (90 — 100 per

cent) white flakes or a considerably less pure (70--85 per cent)

material containing non-alkaloid impurities. A fairly recent trend in the producing countries is reported to be the preparation of a crude

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paste from coca w h i c h is dried and used for smoking. Reports suggest

that some interest has been shown in the United States in this method of

using coca. Usually, in countries outside South America, cocaine 'cut' with a variety of substances (including m a n n i t o l , lactose, glucose,

etc.) is self-administered by sniffing or injection.

There is no evidence to suggest that any cocaine is produced in

A u s t r a l i a .

Mr M. A. Bes l e y agreed that Bolivia, C o l o m b i a , Ecuador, Brazil and

Peru were the world's major sources of cocaine, and that cocaine from

South America we n t to illicit markets throughout the world. He also

said that there was little information about the demand for, or

availability of, cocaine in Australia during the 1970s. Seizures in

Australia often proved to be diversions of the hydrochloride salt from

legitimate supplies or to consist largely of synthetics such as procaine (OT 85).

Mr J. L. D a v i s , a senior pharmacist employed b y the South Australian

Department of Public Health, told the South Australian Royal Commission on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs that cocaine was a 'middle-class w h i t e '

drug in A m e r i c a , and was very much in vogue and in d e m a n d . It was

smuggled from South America in large quantities. Legal supplies

intended for surgical patients were also ending up on the streets of New

York and elsewhere (OT 8616).

Dr D. de Souza, First Assistant Director-General, Therapeutics

Division, Commonwealth Department of Health, reported on a m eeting of

the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in F ebruary 1979. The

meeting was told that use of cocaine has recently expanded in No r t h and

South America and W estern E u r o p e , and now constitutes a serious problem.

It was estimated that several million people abused this drug. Some

20--30 thousand tonnes of coca leaves are produced annually for the

illicit m anufacturing of cocaine and about half a million people are

involved in production. Dr de Souza said that smoking coca paste was a

recent development and gave rise to rapid compulsion to continue u s e .

It frequently caused irritability, illusions, hallucinations and acute paranoid psychosis as well as problems of social adjustment (OT 21026).

Two senior representatives of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control said it was believed that cocaine was a new and serious threat

to the world drug abuse situation. There was greatly increased

cultivation in South A m e r i c a , most of which was going to the United

States and Canada. One of these witnesses said that medical experience

had shown that cocaine 'is nothing to pl a y with'.

HALLUCINOGENS

Hallucinogenic substances are either derived from natural sources, such as the peyote cactus (source of m e s c a l i n e ) , various mushrooms

(sources of psilocybin, psilocin, etc.) and vines or are synthetic

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compounds like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and phencyclidine (P G P ) . There are no accepted medical uses for hallucinogens apart from PGP,

which is used as an anaesthetic in v e t erinary practice.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

Illicit pro d u c t i o n of LSD mainly takes place in the United S t a t e s ,

the United Ki n g d o m and W estern E u r o p e . The illicit market for LSD is

probably worldwide although demand tends to be concentrated in the more developed countries. Other witnesses agreed that the United Kingdom and the United States were the main producers of LSD coming to Australia.

Dr D. de Souza, Fi r s t Assistant D i r e c t o r - G e n e r a l , Therapeutics Division, of the Commonwealth Department of Health, said that hallucinogens were being abused in ma n y countries although the magnitude of the problem

seemed to be declining; in particular, use of LSD was falling off. He

pointed out that a large LSD factory in the United Kingdom was closed

down in 1978, cutting off an important source of supply (OT 21027). Mr

M. A. Besley, Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer

Affairs, described LSD production in Australia. Illicit manufacturing commenced in the late 1960s, and two instances were detected but the

product was of an inferior quality. Since then LSD had continued to be

produced irregularly. The popularity of LSD in Australia fell rapidly

after 1974. A n y that was made here was of low quality. Local

manufacturers had attempted to counterfeit the various types of imported LSD wh i c h enjoyed a higher market price on account of its reputation for

greater purity. The LSD produced overseas was readily purchased by

experienced and devoted users (OT 75 — 76).

Commander D . J . Mitchell of the Narcotics Bureau Southern Region

said that in 1971— 72 students in Australian universities were reported to have engaged in the illicit production of LSD. Since 1972 LSD had

diminished in pop u l a r i t y and most batches now seized were of overseas

origin. He explained that in all detected cases of illicit LSD (and,

incidentally, heroin) manufacture the manufacturer had a background of chemistry or science. Equipment and chemicals needed could be obtained through universities or colleges or, with rather more difficulty, from commercial suppliers (OT 2323). A witness in Victoria told the

Commission that LSD was manufactured at one time in the hills near

Melbourne by persons who obtained their raw materials from chemists and the equipment from a university. They produced approximately 1000

tablets a mo n t h and sold them through a dealer. A Victorian Police

officer with forensic science experience described the events

surrounding the discovery of an illicit laboratory in Melbourne in 1972 where a man was accused of making LSD and possibly other illegal

sub s t a n c e s .

Inspector. D. T. Ayres of the Western Australian Police said that

about nine years previously a university student had be e n detected

making LSD for experimental purposes but since then there had been

nothing to suggest that any drug other than cannabis was illegally

produced in that State (0T 5 1 8 X ) .

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In Q u e e n s l a n d , Detective Senior Sergeant T. N. Ferguson, Off i c e r - i n ­ Charge of the Drug S q u a d , told the Commission that there had been no

proven cases of LSD production in Queensland (OT 2044). In Ne w South

Wales a representative of the A u s tralian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association said he was inclined to believe that LSD was being made in

the western suburbs of Sydney but he could not provide any e v i d e n c e .

H allucinogenic Mushrooms

A Queensland school teacher told the Commission that because LSD was difficult to obtain and was e x p e n s i v e , people were picking

hallucinogenic m u s h r o o m s . These could be collected easily around

Samford, for e x a m p l e . An informed witness agreed that psilocybin-

p r oducing fungi were growing in and around Brisbane and mentioned

S a m f o r d , Ferny G r o v e , P i n k e n b a , D a y b o r o , and Beenleigh. A senior

Queensland Police officer said that gold-top mushrooms (Psilocybe

cubensis) were plentiful in the Gold Coast a r e a , but there was no

evidence to suggest that they were grown commercially. He said this

prohibited plant thrived in the Currumbin and Tallebudgera Valley areas in the wet season and was harvested by drug users.

Captain B . G. M u n d y , Commanding Officer of the Salvation Army in

Darwin, gave details about the availability of m u shroom hallucinogens in the Northern Territory. He said that gold-top and blue meanie mushrooms grew freely in the tropical climate in animal manure and in manured

g a r d e n s . He referred to an incident where a resident of the Red Shield

Hostel in Darwin, who was accused of housebreaking, said he had picked

blue meanies in the hostel garden and boiled them to make a drink. As a

result he was found by the court not responsible for his actions.

Captain Mundy explained that the garden had shortly before this incident been treated with fowl manure (OT 5909).

Inspector T. W. Cashion of the Tasmanian Police said that

hallucinogenic fungi were prevalent in Tasmania and p s i locybin and

p s ilocin had been found in nine species. Each year abuse of these

toadstools grew more f r e q u e n t . He emphasised that their occurrence was State-wide (OT 1080).

Datura (Thornapple, Jimson Weed)

Plants of the genus Datura (Solanaceae) produce a number of

alkaloids, notably atropine, hyoscine and h y o s c y a m i n e , that can cause hallucinations. A witness in South Australia said that Datura was

causing considerable trouble in Adelaide and was becoming a social

p r o b l e m . People were preparing an infusion from Datura plants grown for ornamental purposes. Such infusions could cause serious disorientation.

In Victoria an informed witness told the Commission that Datura was

grown in the Loddon/Campaspe area and was being used experimentally by

14--25 year olds. A social worker in Queensland said there was some

experimentation with Datura and other substances in some Queensland

p r i s o n s . Several prisoners were known to have used extracts of Datura

by injection, drinking and smoking. The plant grew as a weed along

river banks near Wacol Prison. The prison authorities were endeavouring

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to eradicate the plant. This witness added that some prisoners were

smoking the skin of cane toads which contains the hallucinogenic

substance bufotenine.

Phencyclidine (PCP)

A senior United States law enforcement officer said the illicit

manufacturing and distribution of PCP was causing increasing concern in some parts of the United States. He added that manufacturing and use of

PCP in N e w York had grown to epidemic proportions. This substance can

cause severe mental disorientation and convulsions and is considered

highly dangerous. Its preparation also involves serious risks as ether, a highly flammable substance, and sodium cyanide, which is extremely

toxic, are used in the p r o c e s s .

No evidence was presented to the Commission that PCP is produced in

Australia or used here to any significant extent.

CANNABIS

World Sources

Indian h e m p , C a n n a b i s , probably originated in western Asia but

spread to the Middle East and Eastern E u r o p e , the Mediterranean and

North A f r i c a , and right across central Asia to the Indian subcontinent

and to China. It is now established also in parts of North, Central and

South A m e r i c a , southern Africa, and more recently in Australia.

Cannabis is an annual herbaceous plant growing to an average height

of some 7 feet but up to 10— 12 feet in favourable circumstances. There

are separate male and female plants. Although there may be several

varieties of Indian hemp it is thought that they all belong to a single

species, Cannabis sativa L.

Cannabis has be e n cultivated as an agricultural crop in parts of

Europe and the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and even in

tropical areas in South-East Asia (Thailand, I n d o n e s i a , etc.). The

plant has a number of valuable, and at one time important, uses: fibres

for cordage were obtained from the stems, oil used in paint

manufacturing was extracted from the s e e d s , and the residues were used

as animal fodder. The leaves and flowering tops, especially of female'

plants, produce a resin rich in a group of chemical substances that, if

taken into the body, produce a form of intoxication and, in higher

dosages, hallucinations. The most important psychoactive ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol (T H C ) . The plant and its resin have been employed medicinally and in ritual and religious practices throughout recorded history.

Basically, three types of cannabis preparations are employed for

recreational u s e . These differ greatly in their levels of potency.

First there is m a r i h u a n a , the dried leaves and flowering tops, often

A187

including small twigs. Imported preparations made almost exclusively

from the flowering t o p s , secured to short lengths of cane and known as

'Thai* or 'B u d d h a ' sticks, are very potent and mu c h favoured by users in

Australia, where some attempts have b e e n made to p roduce similar

p r e p a r a t i o n s . Second, there is hashish, or the concentrated resin from

cannabis flowers. This is several times more potent than the dried

leaves. It is b elieved that no significant attempts have been made to

produce hashish in Australia. Third, liquid cannabis, cannabis oil, or

hashish oil w h i c h is obtained by repeated extraction of the resin

(hashish) and is very rich in the psychoactive s u b s t a n c e s . It is not

known to be pr o d u c e d in Australia. Being so c o n c e n t r a t e d , this is a

convenient form for illegal importation in or on the body. There is no

evidence that THC is produced except in controlled scientific studies.

Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary of the Department of Business and

Consumer Affairs, told the Commission that cannabis grew readily in many parts of the world and was cultivated in significant amounts for illegal exportation in Thailand, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Turkey, North and South Africa, the West Indies and Mexico.

West Indian and M exican cannabis went ma i n l y to the American market but

cannabis products from all the countries mentioned above had worldwide distribution, especially in the developed countries (OT 87). Detective Inspector G. D. Baker of the Victorian Police Drug Bureau confirmed the

widespread sources of cannabis but said it was practicable to define a

p a r t icular area in the world as the major source for Australian

consumption. Seizures had been made of marihuana and h ashish coming

from Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia and South Africa. Coupled with the increasing local production it could be seen that there would rarely be a shortage of cannabis in Australia (OT 2769A).

However, Commissioner J. M. Davis of the Commonwealth Police thought

that the main sources of cannabis for Australia were Thailand, Indonesia and Lebanon (OT 448).

It was said that the most significant form of cannabis imported into

Australia at present was Thai (Buddha) sticks from Thailand, reported to be about as potent as hashish from Lebanon and Turkey (OT 86). Mr J. A.

Travers, Chief Investigator in the Narcotics Bureau, Western Region,

referred to the supply of cannabis products in Western Australia. The

source of Buddha sticks was Thailand, of cannabis leaf S u m a t r a , and of

hashish Afghanistan, Turkey and Lebanon (OT 638). Mr H. Bates,

Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau, said that South Africa was no

longer a significant source of cannabis for Australia (OT 333). Mr

Besley explained that hashish resin is more easily p r oduced when

cannabis is grown in plantations than among other c r o p s . Cannabis

cultivation in South Africa, though ve r y extensive, occurs on small

holdings in isolated patches. T h e r e f o r e , South African exports of

cannabis consist mai n l y of the leaf form (OT 87).

Commander D . J. Mitchell of the Narcotics B u r e a u , Southern Region,

showed the Commission that cannabis resin ranged in colour from

green/gold to very dark b r o w n . Lebanese hashish is green/gold and that

from India dark brown (OT 2335).

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Dr D. de Souza, First Assistant D i r e c t o r - G e n e r a l , Therapeutics

Division, of the Commonwealth Department of Health, provided a situation report based on the most recent session of the UN Commission on Narcotic

Drugs in February 1979. Cannabis continued to be the leading drug of

abuse in most countries. It was traditionally consumed b y people of

different ages in Africa, the Near and Middle East, Asia and the Far

East b u t abuse of this drug, sometimes in combination wi t h other

substances such as tobacco, had spread in recent years among young

people, principally those living in urban areas in m ost countries of the world. Illicit cultivation of cannabis had expanded in some countries

to meet increased international demand for it. It was estimated that

hundreds of thousands of tonnes of cannabis were produced annually and

tens of millions of people were using it. There appeared to be a rising

demand for cannabis and there was evidence of growing availability of

liquid cannabis on the illicit market (OT 21027).

Production of Cannabis in Australia

Cannabis cultivation has been detected in recent years in all

Australian States and Territories. Climatic conditions are less

suitable in Tasmania and the Northern Territory than elsewhere but plots have been found there and also in the A.C.T., in backyards, and isolated

rural areas. Inspector D. H. Haswell of the Commonwealth Police

referred to statistics which had been maintained since 1974 and said

that two crops were detected in 1974, four in 1975, eight in 1976 and

20 in 1977 (OT 173). The two crops in 1974 were in N e w South Wales and

they yielded 16 500 plants; the four in 1975 were in New South Wales (1)

and Queensland (3), totalling 4340 plants and 181 kg of cannabis; the

eight crops in 1976 were in Queensland (6) and South Australia (2),

yielding 23 288 plants weighing 1370 kg; and in 1977 four States were

involved: New South Wales (14), Victoria (4), Queensland (1) and Western Australia (1), the total number of plants was 28 485, weighing 3023 kg.

Acreages were 33 in 1975, 7.25 in 1976 and 547 in 1977 (Open Exhibit

41).

Mr A. W. Parsons, Director of the Cannabis Research Foundation, said some 2 million Australians had been catered for and the market supplied

400 000 regular users (OT 2466).

The Commission was told that local producers had attempted to

’counterfeit' particular forms of imported cannabis, the main objective being to obtain a higher price for an inferior product. In 1973 in New

South Wales a producer was preparing compressed cannabis leaf of local

origin and stamping it with a device suggesting that it was a product of

Mexico. In the same investigation another person was found to be

compressing locally-grown cannabis to make it look like a form imported from Thailand. (OT 71--72). Commander Mitchell described cases of

'forgery' of Buddha or Thai sticks. Local cannabis was being made to

resemble the imported article by binding the flowering tops of the

female plant on to thin bamboo sticks to take advantage of the higher

price paid for imported cannabis (0T 2333). A senior Narcotics Bureau

agent in South Australia also gave similar evidence, and in Queensland a police officer, Constable M. McKay, spoke of a new form of cannabis he

had recently seen. This was the 'cannabis brick', consisting of

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compressed cannabis leaf and cut into 'deals' like a tobacco plug (OT

2 0 1 1 4 — 15) .

In Q u e ensland the Commission sought information on the biology of

cannabis. M r S. L. Everist, for m e r D i r e c t o r of the Botany Branch of the

Queensland D e p a r t m e n t of Pr i m a r y Industries, said there was only one

authentic record of a n a turally o c c u r r i n g stand of c a n n a b i s , that was in

the Singleton area of New So u t h Wales, and he understood it had been

e r a d i c a t e d . Therefore all cannabis g r o w i n g in A u stralia could be

assumed to be deliberately cultivated. Mr Everist described the

conditions required for successful cultivation. He said plentiful

supply of good water was e s sential in the early stages but the plants

became more resistant as they grew older (OT 2 2 2 2 — 23).

The Commission he a r d evi d e n c e that attempts had been made to grow

small varieties of cannabis indoors under artificial lighting. Dr R. W.

Johnson, present D i r e c t o r of the Botany Branch of the Queensland

Department of P rimary Industries, said that he thought use of the term

'B o n s a i ' for small varieties suitable for growing indoors was

inappropriate as cannabis was an a n n u a l . He was 'very d u b i o u s ' about

the pos s i b i l i t y of growing cannabis indoors under artificial

illumination bu t later agreed that this mi g h t be feasible, though

p r obably expensive (OT 5218). An o t h e r expert opinion on this point

indicated that for 10 square metres of cannabis the costs would be

around $300, m o s t l y for power. This area could p roduce perhaps 60

ounces of dried cannabis worth, say, $40 an o u n c e , returning $2400 over

four months for an o u t l a y of $300. Smaller areas would be considerably

less p r o f i t a b l e . However, this was a theoretical exercise only.

The Commission received evi d e n c e of ext e n s i v e cannabis cultivation in Q u e e n s l a n d . A p o l i c e o f f i c e r said that cannabis was grown

practically everywhere within the State but e s p ecially in the north and

far north. Large cultivations had be e n found at Mareeba, Boonmoo and

A therton and others w e r e strongly s u spected in the Mt Molloy and Mt

M ulligan and D i m b u l a h areas. Sm a l l e r pla n t a t i o n s were believed to exist in hippie colonies in the W a t s o n v i l l e — S i l v e r Valley areas in the

Her b e r t o n and Ravenshoe police divisions. T h e r e were unsubstantiated

reports of cannabis b e i n g grown o n the coastal strip from Landsborough

to Pomona and in secluded properties at P o m o n a , Maleny, Kin Kin and

Wappa Falls. He added that cannabis was g r o w n in the Gold Coast area

but only in b a ckyard plots. There was no evidence of large-scale

cultivation there. A n o t h e r i n formed wi t n e s s said that cannabis was

being grown in private residences in Brisbane b u t he bel i e v e d that North

Queensland was the main growing area. Cash crop plantations were run by

three or four partners in the rain forests of N o r t h Q u e ensland and the

crops were harvested and sent to Bri s b a n e and Sy d n e y in pri v a t e vehicles

or by road transport. A Queensland police officer referred to a

cannabis plantation of several h undred plants gr o w n on Crown land in the

Redlands area ne a r B r i s b a n e . It was on a 160 acre pig farm.

In c o n s idering the situation in Ne w So u t h Wales the Commission

relied on the detailed inquiries pu r s u e d by the New So u t h Wales Royal

C o m mission into Dr u g Trafficking. T h e Ne w South Wales Royal Commission,

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in its report of October 1979, w h i c h was incorporated as evidence to

the Commission as Open E xhibit 687, stated:

Wi t h i n N e w South Wales there are clear signs of careful

organisation, planning, continuity of management and a structure

of o rderly marketing.

(Open Exhibit 687, p 1934)

In particular, the N e w South Wales Royal Commission considered that by the early 1970s, two groups of commercial growers had begun to emerge

and that both groups w e r e still operating in 1979. One of these groups

was centred around a number of families of Lebanese origin and the

second was composed principally of people who w e r e either born in

Calabria, a province of southern Italy, or w e r e of Calabrian extraction.

The N e w South Wales Royal Commission reported that the first of

these two groups was involved in cultivations at Thirlmere (near C a m d e n ) , Towrang (near G o u l b u r n ) , and Mudgee. The report summarised the

involvement of the second group in the following terms:

The activities w e r e located primarily at and around Griffith

and to a lesser extent in the Liverpool area of Sydney,

although there is every reason to believe that, with the

passage of time, the n e t w o r k extended into areas of the

Commonwealth well beyond the borders of Ne w South Wales.

(Open Exhibit 687, p 98)

Other evidence presented to the A u s tralian Royal Commission discussed the various cannabis plantations discovered in Ne w South Wales between 1974 and 1977. In 1974 two plantations w e r e f o u n d . Both plantations

were in the G riffith area, one consisting of 2 hectares (almost 15 000

plants) and the other 1.2 hectares (almost 1500 plants). In N ovember

1975 a p l a n tation of 12.7 hectares wa s discovered at C o l e a m b a l l y , in the Riverina. It contained 350 000 plants and w a s wo r t h about $20 million.

In January 1977 a 4-hectare crop was found at Taree worth $3 million.

This comprised 15 000 plants and 200 1-kg bags of seed. In March 1977

cannabis growing on 10 hectares and wo r t h $5 m illion w as detected at

Euston, on the Mu r r a y River.

Other detections in 1977 w e r e at: Ni m b i n (132 p l a n t s ) , Wilson's

Creek (500 plants and a large quantity of cannabis in drying sheds wo r t h

$1 mi l l i o n in total), Terragon (1 hectare) and N e v ergreen (220 000

plants on 0.4 h e c t a r e ) , all on the North Coast; Coolah (380 plants);

Bathurst (1200 plants w o r t h $1 million); Kincumber (220 plants) near

Gosford; Fairfield (2 tonnes wo r t h $2 million) and Edensor Park

(36.29 kg) ne a r Liverpool; Theresa Park (200 plants) near Camden;

Rob e r t s o n (550 plants) ne a r Moss Vale; Roto (300 plants) on the Western

Plains, and Goonoo Forest (1.2 hectares of cannabis worth $1 m i l l i o n ) .

A Queensland Police Officer told the Commission that cannabis was cultivated on a large scale at Murwillumbah, Mullumbimby and Nimbin just across the NSW border from Coolangatta, and the Town Clerk of Orange

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submitted that large areas of cannabis we r e cultivated around Orange.

Other w i t nesses spoke of cannabis pro d u c t i o n in the Tam w o r t h — Quirindi, Singleton, Bu s t o n and Griffith areas.

In V i c t o r i a , Inspector G. D. Baker of the Victoria Police Drug

Bureau said that cannabis grew well in most parts of the State and

cultivation had been detected in diverse localities. Large plantations were usually located in remote forest areas of the State. In December

1977 alone 20 000 plants were seized throughout the State; the smallest

seizure was one p l a n t , the biggest 17 000 p l a n t s . The plantations

referred to were at M e l b o u r n e , Healesville, E m e r a l d , M o r w e l l , McAllister River, Mt Beauty, W a n g a r a t t a , Mildura, Rainbow, L o m e and Swan Hill.

The biggest seizure (17 000 plants) came from three plots at Mount

Toole-Be-Wong near Healesville, about 60 miles east of Melbourne (0T

27 5 1 — 56).

Several witnesses spoke about cannabis growing in the hills near

Melbourne, from L i lydale and Fern Tree Gully to Gembrook and Warburton, in backyards and also in the b u s h , especially in communes near the towns

of Sassafras, Belgrave, U p w e y , Boronia and Emerald. A CSIRO technical

assistant gave details about his personal experience of growing cannabis for his own use and said he had obtained flowering tops of female plants

that were par t i c u l a r l y rich in THC. A plant breeder from a research

farm in Victoria also admitted he had grown cannabis for his own use and

said he had experimented with varieties and planting times. He had

found the best time to plant was early N o vember and he had tried to find

a variety that flowered at the hottest time of year; that way, he

considered the highest THC content was obtained.

A Victoria Police Officer from Mildura said that in August 1977 a

Turkish immigrant was discovered tending 500--600 cannabis plants on two separate properties at Kiamil near Onyen. In November 1978, 70 cannabis plants were seized at M i l d u r a , 2000 and 18 000 at K o o r l o n g , 5000--6000

at Red Cliffs, 10 200 at Irymple and 9000 at Cabarita. The witness said

that members of the Turkish community were implicated throughout the

Sunraysia District, and on a fairly large scale. It appeared to be

awell-controlled and co-ordinated group e f f o r t . A retired Victoria

Police Officer spoke about the involvement of Greeks and said that

Italians also were involved in cannabis cultivation, especially around Mildura and in the Portland a r e a .

Statements about large-scale cultivation of cannabis in the Mildura area were supported by a police officer serving in the Mildura C I B . He

said that various ethnic communities, but especially the Italian and

Turkish, were involved in the organised production of cannabis.

In South Australia, in May 1979, a senior officer of the South

Australian Police D e p artment provided details of offences relating to cultivation of cannabis in the State over the period 1976 — 78. In 1976

six plantations were detected in Salisbury North, G l a n d o r e , Millicent, Whyalla, Loxton and Norwood (Adelaide). The two largest were at

Salisbury North (1285 plants) and Loxton (10 000 plants). In 1977 five

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plantations were discovered at Rosewater, Malvern, Collinswood, W i n k i e , and near B a r m e r a . The largest seizure was at Winkie (4300 p l a n t s ) . In

1978 19 p l a n t a t i o n s , mostly of large size, were located: 65 000 plants

near Tintinara, 18 821 plants at Virginia, 19 735 and 10 000 plants at

Waterloo C o r n e r , and 29 591 at Dalkeith. 11 other plantations contained several thousand plants and only three fewer than 1000.

The witness said that the large discoveries during the previous 12

months had resulted from a shortage of cannabis on the street market. A

probable indication of the effects of police action on commercial crops was the sudden increase in numbers of small or backyard crops detected

in surburban homes. The two main areas where major cultivations were

discovered were the Virginia--Two Wells market garden district north of Adelaide and the irrigated areas in the Murray Valley. Analyses of 13

samples of dried leaf cannabis seized in South Australia showed the

proportion of resin ranged from 0.8 per cent to 9.5 per cent, and the

amount of THC in the resin from 9.4 per cent to 64 per cent. The

proportion of THC in the plant material varied from 0.2 per cent to 3.4

per cent.

In Tasmania the climate and soils are not particularly suitable for

cannabis cultivation but Inspector T. W. Cashion of the Tasmanian Police said that the north-western part of Tasmania had produced significant

q u a n t i t i e s . Although most plantations appeared to be for personal use, there was evidence that some Tasmanian cannabis was sold on the local

illicit market. Inspector Cashion described the north-western area as lying between Deloraine and Queenstown.and said it was v e r y flat with

fertile soil. However, plantations had been discovered also in northern and southern parts of the State. He said the main offenders were people

coming from other States to settle on isolated properties. They were

using cannabis as a means of supplementing a social service benefit. It

was becoming increasingly popular for commune-type settlements to occupy isolated holdings, which were often abandoned dairy farms. He suggested that the relative cheapness of land in Tasmania made the State

attractive to commune dwellers from the mainland States and indicated

that there was an increasing tendency to use Crown land for growing

cannabis. He also said that fishermen were growing cannabis in

uninhabited parts of Tasmania and on coastal islands (OT 1 0 8 0--84).

Other witnesses said that Tasmania cannabis was of good quality.

Detections of cannabis plantations for 1976— 78 w e r e : 13 plantations (4 in Hobart) in 1976, 49 plantations (16 in Hobart) in 1977, and 64

plantations (17 in Hobart) in 1978.

In Western Australia Inspector D. T. Ayres of the Western Australian Police said there were instances of cannabis cultivation virtually all over the State. He thought most cannabis was grown by users for their

own use and added that the demand for cannabis in Western Australia was

far in excess of the supply available from local production. Places

mentioned by witnesses in connection with cannabis growing were the

Margaret River and Blackwood River area in the South-West and the Perth metropolitan ar e a---Claremont, Maida Vale and Sawyers Valley. Another witness said cannabis was being grown on an island near Onslow and on

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the Monte Bello I s l a n d s . Inspector Ayres said that in 1977--78 102

persons were charged w i t h cannabis cultivation offences. Most of the

cultivations we r e small but in January 1978 a large p l a n t a t i o n of just

over 2 hectares was located at Lake O' C o n n o r 380 km south-east of Perth.

In a l l , 10 000 plants and about 100 kg of dried leaf were seized. The

area was served b y a pipeline from a dam 2.5 km away and a 20 000 gallon

water tank set on a hill above the plantation. There were two sheds

with concrete floors, refrigerators, bedding and cooking facilities. It was estimated that the plantation would have cost over $5000 to

establish (OT 22380).

In the N o r t h e r n Territory d u r i n g , March 1978, Chief Inspector W. L.

Goedegebuure of the N orthern Territory Police Force said that until very recently cannabis cultivation appeared to be on a small scale with

complete lack of organisation. However, recent enquiries had indicated the p o s s ibility of l a r g e - s c a l e , organised cultivation in the Katharine and Wollogorang a r e a . There had been several seizures of the local

product, the two largest being 10 kg and 627 plants averaging 2 metres

high, and 50 kg and 800 small plants. Chief Inspector Goedegebuure

pointed out that climatic conditions in mu c h of the Nor t h e r n Territory

made cannabis cultivation somewhat difficult. Successful cultivators had invested considerable amounts of m o n e y . In particular, large

quantities of fertilizer were required to raise the fertility of the

soil. Three fairly large cultivations in recent years had be e n started

by persons coming from other States who selected the Nor t h e r n Territory because of its r e m o t e n e s s , the smaller risk of detection, and the low

penalties handed down if detected (OT 5666--70).

AMPHETAMINES

Mr N. R. Kelly, Executive Director of the A u s tralian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association, explained to the Commission that, with a

certain amount of expertise, amphetamines were relatively easy to

manufacture (OT 12628). A senior Narcotics Bureau officer said that

information received by the Bureau in late 1975 made it fairly clear

that an illicit amphetamine laboratory was operating in the Glebe area

of Sydney. E a r l y in 1976 a doctor was arrested and successfully

prosecuted for illegally making a m p h e t a m i n e . The product was of high

quality. Referring to this case, Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary of the

D e p artment of Business and Consumer Affairs, said the doctor was an

addict and that wh e n arrested he had 1.7 kg of amphetamine sulphate for

sale (OT 75).

A Narcotics Bureau witness told the Commission that, in F ebruary

1978, the Bureau obtained information about another illicit amphetamine laboratory. The offender proved to be a graduate chemist employed by a

chemical manufacturing company, but there was no connection be t w e e n his regular employment and his illegal activities.

A senior representative of the A u s tralian Pharmaceutical

Manufacturers' A s s o ciation said illicit manufacturers of amphetamines obtained their basic material by synthesising it from other materials. Two New South Wales Health Commission pharmacists informed the

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Commission that people could manufacture amphetamine but that they did not get the precursor through a pharmacy. The precursor could be bought

readily from chemical suppliers. They believed that if the suppliers

were suspicious they would inform the Drug S q u a d , but there were many

legitimate uses for the precursor.

METHAQUALONE

Dr C. P. V. E v a n s , Deputy Director-General of the Commonwealth

Department of Health, explained to the Commission that methaqualone was originally marketed as a safe sedative- - h y p n o t i c , superior to the

barbiturates and other sleep-inducing medications. H o w e v e r ,

methaqualone, particularly in combination with diphenhydramine

(Mandrax), proved to be both toxic and dependence producing. Mandrax

was used by habitual and recreational drug u s e r s , often in conjunction

with other drugs such as alcohol. Methaqualone and the various

preparations containing methaqualone were included in the fourth

schedule of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) R e g u l a t i o n s , and security requirements applied to the importation, movement to importers' premises and storage were as strict as those applying to narcotic d r u g s . He

added that methaqualone was imported into Australia by two main

importers— Roussel Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd and Riker Laboratories

Australia Pty Ltd (OT 3 8 4 0 - - 4 3 ) . Dr M. C. Hall, Commonwealth Police

Principal Research O f f i c e r , said that, to his knowledge, Mandrax was

fully imported. As far as he was aware it was not legally manufactured

in Australia and he did not know of any illegal production to date (OT

4042).

GENERAL

Australia has the range of climate, type of country and adequate

water to produce the main 'v o l u m e ' drugs of abuse---namely, heroin,

c a n n a b i s , and cocaine. As the necessary technology, expertise, and

finance are readily available h e r e , there is a possibility for viable

illicit drug m a n u f a c t u r i n g , especially in view of an ever-increasing d e m a n d . Labour costs are not a constraining factor in this industry

since the 'mark up' is so great in relation to current labourers' wages. Alternatively, evidence of the intrusion of ethnic groups into this

trade suggests a source of low-cost labour available for a variety of

r e a s o n s , some of which are family ties, co-operative efforts to succeed, common aims and a desire to emigrate to this country legally or

illegally, supported by a willingness to pay a substantial price for

that privilege. The relative inaccessibility of some portions of this country, climatically suited to production of any one of the three

' volume' drugs, provides a basis for thinking that one day, in the

absence of strong enforcement, Australia could become very much self­ sufficient in d r u g s .

Opium poppies are grown in Burma and Thailand at heights of not less

than 3000 f e e t , in latitudes comparable to parts of Australia. At those latitudes similar growing conditions can be f o u n d . Evidence disclosed little or no illegal growing of p o p p i e s , but the potential exists to be

guarded against. Whilst there is a ready supply of narcotics from the

Golden Triangle countries the need for Australian production of heroin

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does not exist. For that reason and because of strong enforcement,

attempts at chemically manufacturing her o i n from codeine in Australia have been eliminated. Conditions for growing poppies in Mexico closely

resemble those in Australia.

The demand in Australia for Buddha sticks or Thai sticks, to use

terms not favourably viewed by Thais, has become ve r y great. This is

some indication of the superior quality of 'tops' produced in Thailand. However, there are indications that some cannabis grown in North

Queensland and other parts of Australia could well produce a comparable THC content, though the evidence in relation to this analysis has not

been precise. Again, there is ample land and appropriate growing

conditions in parts of Australia to p rovide a source of supply of

cannabis which, assisted b y the technology and expertise available in

this country, could be as potent as any now imported.

Virtually the entire world supply of coca is grown in South America

at considerable heights, but again in latitudes comparable to those in

parts of Australia. The growing of the coca plant in Australia to

produce a source of illegal cocaine is a remote and highly speculative

possibility, but one wh i c h must not be ignored.

Trends in drug supply and drug-taking throughout the world are not

static. It is alleged, for instance, that the strong enforcement action by the U.S. Drug E n f o rcement Administ r a t i o n caused the supply of So u t h ­ East Asian heroin to be diverted from the West Coast of America to

Australia, among other countries. It is further alleged that

suppression of the alleged 'French Connection' resulted in the

development of the heroin trade in M exico and its dramatic entry into

the American market.

The message conveyed by these considerations is that strong

enforcement is n e cessary throughout Australia to prevent its being

further exploited as a drug producing country. Recent events have

indicated that, while cannabis can be grown throughout the length and

breadth of the land, strong enforcement measures can quickly dry up the

source. This pressure must be maintained.

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Chapter 2 Methods of Importation of Illegal Drugs

If evidence presented to this Commission was unanimous on any single

aspect of drugs it was that concerning the ingenuity and guile of drug

smugglers. Without exception knowledgable witnesses agreed with the

sentiments expressed by Mr D. J. Mitchell, Southern Region Commander of the Narcotics Bur e a u , when he told the Commission:

Methods used in the illegal importation of drugs are restricted only by the imagination of the importer.

(OT 2331)

Mr Mitchell explained that methods of importation fell into five broad

categories:

* by people entering Australia as airline or ship passengers, air crew

or ship's crews and acting either on their own behalf or as couriers

for others or perhaps both;

* through the postal system;

* in sea or air cargo arriving either as a private or commercial

shipment;

* by 'drops' from ships or planes;

* by landings from small boats or aircraft.

On the opening day of Commission hearings, Mr M. A. Besley,

Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer A f f a i r s , gave a

long list of methods used in recent years by smugglers, most of which

are illustrated in the examples quoted below. He also commented on the

probable results of the development of these techniques in these w o r d s :

Against the traditional importation of illicit drugs by Asian crew of merchant vessels plying between South-East Asia and

Australia, the constant development of more sophisticated

techniques indicates the probability of a higher incidence of undetected importations.

(OT 41)

He also made the point that:

... methods of importation always tend to be designed to

exploit the more vulnerable areas of the Department's (Customs) control system.

. (OT 50)

Evidence indicated that while it was probable that all types of

methods of smuggling were used to breach the Customs 'screen' in every

State, some methods were used more often in some States than in others,

either because of the presence of large international airports or

seaports or ---as dealt with in detail in other Parts of this Report ---

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b ecause some States and Territories have long stretches of remote

c o a s t l i n e .

Mr R. J. Phillips, Eastern Region Commander of the Narcotics Bureau, said he believed it was not possible to pinpoint detailed routes of

illegal drug entry into Australia because of the flexibility of

smugglers (OT 9775). But he went on to say that the most used route for

smugglers using b o d y or baggage concealment was by airliner from cities such as Bangkok, Kuala L u m p u r , Hong Kong or Singapore to Sydney. He

also pointed out that it was p ossible for smugglers to manipulate their

airline itineraries so as to reach Sydney and other Australian

destinations from the most unlikely ports of call.

M r Besley dr e w the Commission's attention to apparent increases in

smuggling activity in remote places in the following words:

Intelligence activity, together with a number of detections,

indicates that large illicit drug importations have been made

using small craft at remote areas on the west and north-west

coast, b y sea drops from merchant vessels, and by use of light

aircraft landing from overseas at remote, deserted a i r s t r i p s---often u n c h a r t e d---in the far north of Australia.

(OT 47)

These methods of importation are discussed in detail in Part VIII of the

Report, 'Coastal S u r v e i l l a n c e '.

FIN A N C I N G OF ILLEGAL DRUG IMPORTATIONS

Evidence from several sources pointed to changes in methods and

scale of financing illegal drug importations in recent y e a r s . A senior

Narcotics Bureau officer said in confidential session that, while at one time financing ma i n l y meant a group of people contributing money so one

of the group could go overseas to buy drugs for the group's own u s e ,

p r e s ent-day importations constituted a profitable business venture

offering returns unmatched in the legitimate business w o r l d :

Seizures of large sums of cash have been made from persons

whose status in the community suggests money in excess of

possible wages in a full lifespan.

(CT)

Mr J. M. Davis, Commissioner of the Commonwealth Police, gave

evidence that in 1970--71 large-scale organised crime groups had used

counterfeit Australian $10 notes to buy heroin in Malaysia (OT 541).

When the Commission explored in confidential session with a recently convicted drug s m u g g l e r , ways in which a large 'deal' could be arranged

in South-East Asia, the smuggler said his observations of 'the cannabis business' indicated smuggling schemes originated with two or three

people investing some money in one operation, then re-investing the

profits from this operation to finance increasingly bigger operations.

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The smuggler said that while he did not know of any finance from South­

East Asian sources coming into Australia to finance Australian-

originated s c h e m e s , he personally would have no difficulty raising

large sums in Singapore where he was well known and where his contacts

included a respected b a n k e r .

CORRUPTION OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS

A senior Narcotics Bureau officer explained in confidential evidence in one of the Commission's earliest hearings that one of the techniques

used b y drug importers was the recruitment of persons who work in

1 strategic areas'. He said this had included a limited number of

Customs o f f i c e r s , some of whom had been arrested and convicted. Other

evidence indicated such corruption attempts were not limited to Customs officers. In mid-1979 the Commission heard evidence concerning

investigations of an alleged conspiracy involving two airline cargo

clerks in different cities helping a syndicate in its attempt to smuggle cannabis resin and cannabis oil into the country. Evidence was also

received of a Canberra mailman who intercepted packages of toys

containing heroin sent through the mail from Malaysia and delivered them to a contact (OT 230).

PERSONAL IMPORTATION

Use of Couriers

Evidence concerning drug smuggling b y personal importation clearly showed drug smugglers often go to considerable trouble to select

couriers likely to have a veneer of respectability. Senator the Hon. D .

L. C h i p p , a former Minister for Customs, said there had been a shift

from 'the trendy, long-haired, bearded young person bringing a guitar in to the m i d d l e - a g e d , respectable or even elderly ladies probably carrying Billy Graham envelopes under their arms' (OT 9319).

The submission by the South Australian Police Department, originally to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of

Drugs and incorporated into the evidence of this Commission, gave this

description of the type of person used by drug traffickers:

... couriers are frequently selected because they have not come

under police suspicion. They are usually attracted to the

trade because of the pecuniary rewards offered or the chance of travel overseas, although loyalty to the principals through

personal liaison, as in the case of 'girlfriends' or other

personal relationships, is often a factor.

(OT 8316— 17)

Journalist and television p r o d u c e r , Mr P. F . B u r g e s s , who said that informed sources in Thailand in 1977 had believed Australia was the

substitute market for the South-East Asian drug trade lost after the

V ietnam war, gave profiles of two types of couriers being recruited

among Australians in South-East Asia, particularly B a n g k o k . One type

was the person travelling on package tours to such destinations as

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Chiang Mai near the Thailand opium-growing area or to Bangkok with the

cost of the tour being part of the courier's price. This arrangement

took advantage of the safety of travelling with a group. Other

couriers, travelling singly or in pairs, obtained lodgings in cheap

hotels where they could make connections with drug traffickers (OT

1 1 9 0 0 - - 0 2 ) .

A witness involved in an abortive heroin smuggling attempt in mid-

1976 described in confidential evidence how he and his girlfriend had

be e n invited to have an all-expenses paid holiday in Penang with an

additional payment of one oz. (28.3 grams) each of heroin to smuggle

into Australia a package containing between 10 oz. and 20 o z . of heroin.

They were instructed to fly via Auckland and Singapore and then return

by the same route to Melbourne. They had collected the heroin in Penang

but had been apprehended by New Zealand Customs on arrival at Auckland

Airport on the return journey. 'It was just a fluke they caught us' the

witness said.

A Bureau of Customs submission received in confidential session gave details of investigations from 1975 to 1977 of a Sydney-based syndicate of nine principals, which had established a courier operation:

Evidence shows that couriers were recruited in Australia and

South-East Asia. They were offered the sum of $3000--$4000 per

trip, together with air fares, hotel accommodation and all

expenses paid. Prior to departure they were briefed on Customs

procedures, and were instructed that, if arrested in Australia, to say nothing as the syndicate would provide legal assistance, bail monies and/or sureties. Once on bail, the courier could

either choose to face the charges and be paid $10 000 or accept

money, air tickets and a false Australian passport to abscond

the country. Female couriers were briefed...in the event of

arrest, to tell the authorities a prepared fictitious cover

story which was self-serving in nature and indicated that they

had unknowingly been duped into carrying suitcases of drugs.

Couriers commenced at Bangkok, then proceeded with the

suitcases of cannabis by air to Singapore. From Singapore, the couriers flew to either Sydney, Melbourne or Perth (and then on

to Sydney). Another modus o p e r a n d ! , was for the couriers to

sail by passenger liner to Fremantle, and then fly on to

Sydney. In known cases, the suitcases were then delivered to

an empty flat and left there to be collected. Another ruse was

for the courier to transit Sydney to New Zealand and then

transit back to Australia. Experienced couriers were also used to illegally export Australian currency on their persons to

Hong Kong, where it was exchanged and then taken to Thailand

as payment for drugs. In one incident, given in evidence, the

sum was $28 000 cash.

It is believed that in 1975, about forty individual couriered

importations were made into Australia by this group, each

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courier carrying either two or three suitcases of c a n n a b i s . A

reliable estimate of the total amount of drugs would be between 800--1200 kg. Customs examination resulted in the

arrest/seizure of 6 couriers in Australia and one in New

Zealand and the seizure of about 110 kg. of cannabis.

Independent action by the Narcotics Bureau resulted in the

seizure of a small quantity of the d r u g , and a total of $96 000

in cash consisting of couriers fees and payment for previous

s h i p m e n t s . About twenty couriers have been fully identified

and several have given e v i d e n c e , under indemnity, for the Crown in these proceedings.

(Confidential Exhibit)

Other confidential evidence gave details of another courier scheme apparently centred in Canberra in 1975 and 1976 in which girls between

18 and 23 years of age with no criminal records were recruited to take

holidays in Singapore which included a visit by train to Bangkok to pick

up heroin which was concealed either inside or on their bodies on return

to Sydney. Payment for the holiday was believed to be $1500 before

departure and an additional amount of between $10 000 and $15 000 on

delivery, depending on quantity. Six such courier runs were believed to have taken place.

Mr H. B a t e s , Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau, said in evidence that one courier had been known to carry as much as 2 kg of heroin with

a street value in Australia of $1 million.

Two incidents which occurred in Perth in early 1978 and which were

quoted in confidential evidence by Narcotics Bureau witnesses

illustrated varying techniques used by traffickers and their c o u r i e r s . In the first instance a woman detained at Perth Airport was found to

have 893.2 grams of No. 3 heroin in her brassiere. A man whom Narcotics

Bureau officers described as her 'controller' and who was travelling on the same flight was also arrested. The Narcotics Bureau evidence

indicated that another two or three couriers could have been on the

plane. In the second incident two Perth businessmen were convicted of

smuggling offences after a young woman employed to take clothing to

South-East Asia to 'test the m a r k e t 1 there had become suspicious of the

suitcase she was carrying on her return to Australia and had reported

her suspicions to Customs officers at Perth Airport. The bag contained

344 grams of No. 3 heroin hidden under a l i n i n g , and evidence was given

that in this instance and on at least two other occasions suitcases

taken from Australia by young women had been substituted overseas.

In confidential session a former drug trafficker gave the Commission examples of techniques used by couriers to reduce the chances of

detection. One technique was to have two people travelling on the same

plane but with no contact with one another. Someone would telephone an

anonymous 'tip' to Customs concerning one of the people and while

Customs officers were concentrating on this person the o t h e r , who was

carrying the d r u g s , would pass through u n d e t e c t e d . Another technique

was to use a child carrying a doll in which drugs were c o n c e a l e d . The

child would go into an hysterical tantrum if anyone attempted to take

the doll.

A201

The Commission noted a considerable body of evidence that the use of

false passports can often be part of the arrangements made between

couriers and their principals. Confidential evidence of a Commonwealth Police officer quoted one instance of a man arrested with 75 passports

in his possession. Another witness who admitted in confidential session to having used and trafficked in heroin said that 'at least 4 0 ’ people

whom he knew who had been overseas to get heroin had learned 'the right

w a y 1 to do so through connections in the drug scene. 'And by far the

best way is to try it with a forged passport and to get a passport in

someone e l s e 's name', he added.

Concealment Inside the Body

Evidence received by the Commission strongly suggests concealment of drugs within the bo d y by smugglers is fairly widespread and on the

increase (OT 22387--91) . Drugs concealed in this way are u sually placed

inside rubber contraceptives (condoms) or similar containers and

swallowed or inserted into the rectum or vagina. Drugs most commonly

found concealed in this way have been cannabis oil and hashish and

frequently heroin, but other drugs, such as cocaine, might also have

been concealed in this way.

Information circulated by the international police organisation

Interpol in May 1978 noted that the largest number of packages known to

have been swallowed was 55, containing a total of 2 kg of cannabis oil.

In Perth in June 1978 an Australian man admitted to State Police Drug

Squad detectives he had bought 168 g of heroin in Bangkok, packed them

into 50 individual contraceptives, swallowed them and passed them

naturally after returning to Western Australia by air.

Evidence detailed elsewhere in this Report shows that one of the

reasons for the use of internal body concealment by smugglers attempting to bring drugs into Australia is the difficulty in initiating body

s e a r c h e s , and p a r t i cularly internal or 'i n t r u s i o n ' body s e a r c h e s ,

because of what m a n y witnesses saw as the inadequacies of Section 196 of

the Customs Act, the legislation under which bo d y searches are carried

o u t .

On the other hand, evidence from Mr H. Bates, Commissioner of the

Narcotics B u r e a u , and other witnesses p ointed to the serious risks

involved in using such concealment methods. Packages of drugs swallowed can take up to 10 days to pass through the body but ma y cause intestinal

obstruction and require surgical removal. Also, drug poisoning can

occur if a package breaks. Mr Bates said persons were known to have

become extremely ill when attempting to smuggle hashish oil in this

manner into Australia and deaths from cocaine poisoning were not unknown o v e r s e a s .

In another incident in Perth, in January 1979, a New Zealand man

arrived at the airport and passed through the Customs with cannabis oil

concealed internally in 11 c o n d o m s , which he had swallowed. He later

passed several of the condoms naturally but subsequently suffered severe

A202

pains and had himself admitted to the Royal Perth Hospital, where the

remaining condoms were r e m o v e d . The total weight of the cannabis oil

was 167.3 g (OT 22400).

Evidence was given that smugglers using personal ingestion sometimes go to considerable trouble to avoid the risk of packages bursting. A

senior Narcotics Bureau officer told of a m a n who had been found in a

hotel room after a smuggling attempt in which the man had packaged 250 g

of cannabis oil and 6.5 g of prepared opium in 35 separate condoms and

then wrapped each condom in another six condoms. The m a n admitted

passing a total of 245 condoms. A Tasmanian witness in confidential

session described how a smuggler he had known had swallowed 61 g of

heroin wrapped in eight condoms and had then swallowed salt after his

arrival in Sydney, as an emetic to recover the condoms.

Interpol records show that the largest amount of drugs known to have been concealed in the rectum up to May 1978 was 1 kg of cannabis oil

wrapped in 23 condoms. In Australia a Commonwealth medical officer who

attended an examination of two female smugglers when 64 g of heroin were

detected noted that the smuggling attempt appeared to have been

'professional1 . The packages had been lodged so high in the anal

passage that insertion might well have required medical assistance, he said. He believed the smugglers consented to the examination because

they had believed the packages would not be found. The medical officer

said although similar quantities could be smuggled in the vaginal

cavity, such concealments were much more readily detectable.

Other incidents involving body cavity concealments reported in

evidence included:

- r a man detained in Perth who had concealed 25 cannabis 'Thai s t i c k s '

weighing a total of 43 g in his rectum;

* a woman detained at Brisbane Airport who had concealed 148.5 g of

heroin with a potential 'street v a l u e ' of $147 000 wrapped in a

condom 15 cm long and 5 cm in diameter;

* a woman detained at Melbourne Airport in May 1978 who had attempted

to conceal 69.9 g of heroin; *

* investigations by Narcotics Bureau officers indicating that a woman

had evaded detection attempts which had included a complete baggage search and a body search (excluding an internal or 'intrusion'

search) by concealing 60 g of heroin in her v a g i n a .

Concealment on the Body

Concealment of drugs either attached to the person or in clothing is also quite common, the Commission was told. Some Customs officers said

this method was particularly favoured by women. Techniques used include simple concealment in pockets, use of plastic bags strapped to the body

or stitched into clothing, and use of articles of clothing specifically made for smuggling ---sometimes in an amateurish fashion, but often in a

A203

highly skilled fashion. Evidence was given of an airline crew member

smuggling 3.5 kg of hashish in packets strapped to his body and legs.

Senior Inspector D. H. H a s w e l l , Officer-in-Charge of the

Commonwealth Police Australian Crime Intelligence Centre Drug Section, gave an example of the techniques used and payments involved for people

engaged in this sort of smuggling (Open Exhibit 32, p . 3 2 ) . A young

A u s tralian wo m a n detained at Sydney Airport in July 1976 was found to

have 930 g of almost pure heroin concealed in plastic bags held in place

on her stomach and buttocks by a stretch bandage and g i r d l e . The women

had been given the heroin in Bangkok by an Australian. She had been

promised $12 000 to bring the heroin into A u s t r a l i a .

Other examples quoted to the Commission indicating the variety of

methods used included:

* a smuggler detained while walking through Perth Airport with about

454 g of 90 pe r cent pure heroin in a shoulder bag;

* 19 g of heroin concealed in an artificial leg worn by a man at

Sydney Airport in July 1978;

* a woman in South Australia who had smuggled a small quantity of

heroin through Customs in 1973 in her h a i r .

Several examples were quoted of concealment in specially made or

adapted shoes, including one provided by Mr J. A. T r a v e r s , Narcotics

Bureau Chief Investigator, in evidence in Perth in May 1979 in which he

described the detention of a man found to have 252.7 g of cannabis resin

in his boots. Mr Travers said:

His feet had actually been glued to the inside of his boots to

stop them falling off. They were somewhat clownish, as you can imagine ---the boots were far too big for h i m .

(OT 22401)

Concealment in Personal Effects and Baggage

Methods used for concealment of drugs in the personal effects and

baggage of aircraft and ship passengers arriving either with the

passenger, as unaccompanied luggage, as cargo or through the postal

system provided many graphic examples of the ingenuity of smugglers.

Mr H. Bates in evidence said, the 'traditional1 false-bottomed

suitcase has been so refined in construction that detection is nearly

impossible without prior intelligence (OT 16717). Such suitcases, other evidence indicated, are a speciality of some Hong Kong merchants. One

authoritative witness said that in Bangkok and Singapore luggage-makers are making suitcases similar to a bag known as a Samsonite 3-suiter in

which each side contains a plastic bag adding only 2 mm to the thickness

of the suitcase but capable of containing up to 3.79 kg of h e r o i n .

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Mr M.A. B e s l e y , Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, made specific reference in the first day of the Commission

hearings to the use of sporting equipment to conceal d r u g s . Heroin and

other drugs have been found between the inner and outer casings of golf

bags, in surfboards where the normal 's t r i n g e r s ' inside the board had

been replaced by bags in such a way that the boards appear normal even

under x-ray, and in a q u a l u n g s , skis and in plastic tennis racquet cases.

The size of personal effects found to have been used to smuggle

drugs into Australia varies from vitamin capsules used to conceal

cannabis oil and Australian 50 cent coins prepared to conceal heroin to

a motor vehicle containing 1.9 tonnes of cannabis concealed in a false

floor.

The first submission by the Department of Business and Consumer

Affairs noted that concealment of cannabis oil (liquified hashish) is

known to have been particularly s u c c e s s f u l :

It is highly p o t e n t , has high unit value, low bulk for high

value, and is easily c o n c e a l e d . In some instances the liquid

has been injected under pressure into the cavities of moulded

plastic housings and containers of electronic and office

equipment like portable sound equipment and portable

t y p e w r i t e r s .

This approach capitalises on a natural reluctance of inspecting authorities to break open the permanent housings of such items. In 1974 towards 5 kilos of liquid hashish was detected.

Detections rose to 32 kilos in 1975 and to 45 kilos in 1976.

(OT 43 — 44)

A photographic register submitted by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs and incorporated into Commission evidence as Open

E xhibit 2 and additional information from the Department incorporated as a Confidential Exhibit gave examples of heroin concealments in the rear of tape decks, in backgammon b o a r d s , in toys, in cigarette packets, in

pockets sewn into clothing such as petticoats and brassieres and

corsets, in aerosol cans and tins of baby powder, and in solution in

bottles of liquor which travellers had imported as part of their duty

free concession.

Other evidence given by a witness known as 'Mr Melbourne (1)'

referred to heroin being imported by soaking carpets in water in which

he r o i n had been dissolved. Seizures mentioned by Mr J . M. Davis,

Commissioner of the Commonwealth Police, included 22 batik wall

tapestries impregnated with 4 kg of opium and 205 g of heroin concealed

in the base of backgammon b o a r d s .

Seizures found in unaccompanied baggage at Sydney Airport by the

Sydney Drug Dog Detector Unit have included 7 kg of Buddha grass in a

chess set and 1 kg of cannabis in the soles and heels of two pairs of

A205

built-up s h o e s . Other finds in unaccompanied baggage at the same

airport include 7 kg of cannabis found in false compartments of luggage

and 2 kg of pow d e r e d hashish resin taped to the inside of the hems of

Indian dresses.

Other Sydney Airport detections of concealments in baggage with or

without false compartments include:

* cannabis consignments weighing 3.5 kg and 20 kg in false-bottomed

suitcases imported by Turkish nationals in February 1978;

* 9.9 kg of heroin in plastic bags in a suitcase in M a y 1978 (the

intending smuggler had attempted to switch suitcases with an

a c c o m p l i c e ) ;

* 3.5 kg of cannabis oil located by a detector dog in June 1978 in the

compartment of a canteen of cutlery.

Evidence from Customs officers quoted similar examples from other

airports and sea p o r t s , including 8.5 kg of cannabis in false-bottomed

suitcases at Melbourne Airport in August 1978 and 481 g of cannabis oil

in a chess board and ornamental ox horns at Hobart in January 1978.

IMPORTATION BY MAIL

Evidence from officers of the Bureau of Customs and the Australian

Postal Commission gave many examples of attempts to smuggle drugs into

Australia using ma n y of the methods of concealment listed above, via

Parcels Post or through the mails. As is discussed in other parts of

this R e p o r t , several witnesses pointed to what they saw as the

shortcomings of the legislative provisions of the Postal Services Act

1975, particularly in regard to first class mail.

A senior officer of the Australian Postal Commission said some broad indication of the amount of drugs being carried through the mails might

be obtained from the statistics of postal articles forfeited. He felt

that these statistics could also be regarded as indicating the extent to which Customs resources were deployed on screening as much as indicating the incidence of transmission. He said that although the statistics

were incomplete, in the period 1 July to 23 November 1977, 236 articles

found to contain narcotic drugs were forfeited in States other than New

South Wales, and that this number would have been at least 350 if New

South Wales forfeitures were included.

A senior officer of the Narcotics Bureau said in confidential

session that staff resources would not allow inspection of every article and agreed it was true that considerable quantities of heroin were being imported by m a i l . However he said the detection rate in this area was

considered to be good. Several Customs Sub-Collectors of Parcels Post

on the other hand expressed concern at the amount of heroin they

believed was escaping detection.

A206

A Narcotics Bureau officer listed some of the methods used to

conceal drugs of various types in letters and parcels detected at the

Sydney Mail E x c h a n g e . These i n c l u d e d :

* in plastic bags b etween the pages of letters, in plastic bags

b etween two postcards taped together and placed in an envelope and

in plastic bags rolled inside magazines and newspapers;

* in cut-out pages of books and in the covers of photograph a l b u m s ;

* in the hollowed-out heels of s h o e s , inside small ornaments and lamp bases and in cut-out sections of picture frames and wooden carvings;

* in record cassettes and film canisters;

* in the corrugated cardboard wrapped around ornaments and in

m a tchboxes, toothpaste tubes, talcum powder tins and toys.

Some articles which the witness said were favoured for concealment

of cannabis oil included medicine bottles, plastic toys and

contraceptives among personal effects. Another witness told of hashish oil being detected in small quantities soaked into the centre pages of

such journals as the Asia Business Weekly.

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) had been found impregnated in

blotting paper, the lining of a cornflakes packet, the lining of a

record cover, paper inside a matchbox and in packing material, the

witness added.

Another witness, Detective Senior Sergeant T. N. Ferguson of the

Queensland State Police Drug Squad, pointed to the difficulties of

detecting LSD 'pills' when he explained they could be colourless or

purple, and could be less than the size of a pinhead and could be

secreted even under a postage st a m p . Another Brisbane witness said he

believed certain religious sects were involved in importations of LSD

in a crystalline form impregnated in religious mosiac types of

manuscripts.

A senior Customs officer in Adelaide told of two seizures of

cannabis at Parcels Post in that city. In the first instance, a box of

chocolates wrapped in Christmas paper was noticed not to be sealed with

cellophane. A slab of 163 g of cannabis was found under the first layer

of chocolates. In the second instance, two framed paintings from

Thailand which appeared to have unusually thick backing were found to

contain 1100 g of cannabis behind the b a c k i n g .

A senior investigator of the Narcotics Bureau in Western Australia who in confidential session referred to the problem of drug

importations, especially heroin, in first-class mail, told of one system that had been uncovered which enabled 8 oz of heroin a week to be

imported. Three men obtained addresses of unoccupied flats and houses. They also obtained a post office box in a false n a m e . Two men flew to

A207

Penang and sent ba c k small quantities of heroin in first class mail to

the various a d d r e s s e s . In fact 13 g of heroin were intercepted. One

ma n obtained 454 g of heroin from a Chinese opium den p r o prietor in

Penang. An Indian told him how to disguise the heroin in Christmas mail

b y placing a small plastic sachet containing about 5 g of heroin inside

a Christmas card and ironing it flat wi t h a household iron. Two cards

were received containing No. 3 heroin that had been ironed flat in the

sachet in this manner. No noise or shifting of weight could be detected

on shaking the envelope. Although this scheme was apparently not put

into operation, and the two men returned to Australia, the witness

believed that this type of operation was being developed by a number of

people, especially in South-East Asia. Christmas was selected because

of the large volume of mail arriving at that time wh i c h is not e x a m i n e d .

The witness also b e lieved that the pro p o r t i o n of drugs intercepted in

the mail was only about one-half of 1%.

A resident of a N S W rehabilitation centre referred in confidential

session to a man he knew by the name of Peter:

This Peter guy goes to Penang about every two m o n t h s , and mails

dope in heaps of letters, like he would send maybe a pound of

heroin in little letters, in hundreds of letters, to one or two

or three n e w l y constructed apartment houses, where they had

built them, but people haven't moved in...so wh e n the postman

delivers the letters he doesn't know there is anything funny,

he just assumes the first guy has moved in t h e r e .

(CT)

The witness indicated 'Peter' was back in Sydney by the time the

letters were delivered, being away only a few days.

A Queensland State Police officer told the following story---which

was later substantiated by other well-qualified w i t n e s s e s---concerning a known criminal operating in Brisbane:

(He) is alleged to leave Australia on a false passport every

four months. He visits Thailand and obtains the heroin, he

then proceeds to Singapore where he purchases toys and

m a g a z i n e s , the heroin is then concealed in these items. He

wraps them and addresses them to (Post Offices near Brisbane).

The last shipment contained 1500 g of heroin and was made up of

three parcels wrapped with br o w n paper and tied with blue

s t r i n g . ..

(He) left Singapore immediately after posting the parcels and arrived in Australia before the items posted did. (He) then

secured the services of (an associate) to visit the Post

Offices and collect the parcels.

(Confidential Exhibit)

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IMPORTATION IN CARGO

Many witnesses drew attention to the potentiality for smuggling

through cargo, especially in containerised cargo. The volume of all

types of cargo entering A u s t ralia, the size of individual containers and the need to facilitate cargo to consignees combine to give what some

witnesses described as 'the perfect opportunity' to smuggle not only

drugs but other types of illegal importations.

A Preventive Officer of the Bureau of Customs with considerable

experience in cargo said when referring to the Sydney waterfront:

All recent large narcotics finds have been made in c a r g o . Most

finds have been personal importation although some have been in commercial importations. We have knowledge of commercial

consignments containing narcotics being m i s s e d .

(CT)

Evidence from Messrs. W. Peck and P. R. P a r a g g i o , representatives of the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association whose members

include Boarding and Examining Officers of the Bureau of Customs said:

...we believe that any person with even a limited knowledge of

commercial cargo procedures will be aware that the enormous

volume hopelessly outweighs the limited resources assigned for examination and control p u r p o s e s .

The significant feature of importation by ship or air cargo is

the opportunity available to import large quantities of drugs with the minimum risk.

However, the emphasis is placed on the prevention of drugs

through passengers baggage, and the baggage of crew members of ships and aircraft. We consider that this avenue of

importation offers the greatest risk of detection and nets

significantly smaller quantities of drugs per seizure than the commercial cargo a r e a .

(OT 12970)

Containerised Cargo

Messrs Peck and Paraggio were particularly concerned about the

potential containers, especially full container load (FCL) containers, presented to the intending importer. By way of example they described a

case that occurred in January 1977:

An FCL container of rubber was imported by a group of

individuals acting under a fictitious company n a m e . The

contents were duly entered for home consumption and Customs

release authority obtained. Delivery of the container was

taken by the importers from the terminal at which it had been

discharged.

A209

The d i scovery of a large quantity of money in a laundry bag

deposited at a laundromat triggered an investigation that

disclosed that besides the rubber, the contents of the

container had included drugs.

The method of importation (FCL container) and the type of cargo

m a n ifested (rubber) had been used as a means of circumventing

Customs control.

What is significant about this case is that even if the

container had been selected for examination, the importer would have had access to the contents during the course of the

removal and prior to an appointment being made for a Customs

officer to conduct the examination.

(OT 12976C)

A Narcotics Bureau officer in confidential evidence said he believed that the amount of drugs recovered in the above-mentioned case was 'very very small' compared with the potential of the shipment.

Messrs Peck and Paraggio and other witnesses described what they saw as weaknesses in the method of Customs clearance whereby cargo was

cleared on d ocumentation before it landed in Australia or where it was

removed 'under bond' from the wharves and cleared later after inspection at a consignee's premises. A Customs Preventive Officer who in

confidential session was p a r t i cularly critical of the method of

inspection at a consignee's premises said:

...we are dealing with (as far as narcotics go) a very small

package worth a massive amount of money. N o w a container can

hold up to 18 tonnes of cargo but to import 18 tonnes of heroin

would be financially impossible. What is more likely to come

in would be something in the range of 20 to 30 kilos. That

could be included in a decent sized suitcase, so a man like a

supervisor at a consignee's s t o r e ,...anybody who is importing

containers: the supervisor's responsibility is to go around in the morning, break the seal on every container and open the

door. For one man to be bribed, all he has to do t h e n---when

he breaks the seal and opens the d o o r---before the storemen and

packers come in to unload the container, is to take his package

out and walk away with it.

(CT)

This witness submitted that containers provided the greatest

potential to any person who wished to import not only narcotics, but

because of the space provided, arms and ammunition also. He named

various members of the Sydney underworld as having an active interest in containers and container repairing companies.

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General Ships' Cargo

Evidence was also given to the Commission about other smuggling

attempts using general ships' cargo not packed in containers. This

evidence included:

* a former Government analyst who in confidential evidence told of

four-gallon drums of olive oil with special sections soldered in and filled with hashish;

* a senior Commonwealth Police officer who quoted a case involving six

p e o p l e , mostly of Lebanese origin, arrested in November 1976 by

Narcotics Bureau agents while dismantling three wooden crates in

w h i c h were concealed 90 kg of hashish and hashish oil;

* an Eastern Region officer of the Narcotics Bureau who told in

confidential session of the seizure of 141 kg of cannabis resin from

cargo discharged from the ship Marconi and another connected seizure of 1.3 kg of hashish oil in a whisky bottle;

* Mr R. J. Beattie, former Collector of Customs for T a s m a n i a , who told

of 39 kg of cannabis seized in Hobart concealed in the false bottom

of a specially made wooden case.

The anonymous witness 'Mr Melbourne (1)' said motor car parts were used

for smuggling drugs. He said one way to do this was to arrange for a

car pa r t to have a bogus identification number and send it to a

relatively small dealer who would normally not have drug c o n n e c t i o n s . A person would then go to the car dealer and specify the bogus car part

n u m b e r .

Deck Cargo

The use of motor vehicles or small boats imported either as cargo or

as personal effects as a means of smuggling large quantities of drugs

was also noted by several witnesses who spoke of the attraction to

traffickers of being able to pack and unpack the drugs in relative

privacy, and of being able to transport the drug 'shipment' with ease

from the port of entry.

Several spectacular seizures were mentioned, including the case in wh i c h two elderly American women were arrested after seizure of a total

of 1978 kg of cannabis resin hidden under the floorboards of a German-

made camper v a n at Gosford, New South Wales. The presence of the

hashish in the camper van was detected by a Customs Preventive Officer

who had drilled a small hole in the under-side of the vehicle's floor.

Another detection described by a Narcotics Bureau officer was that

involving 58.6 kg of cannabis in the form of Buddha sticks secreted in a

Ford Galaxie car imported from Bangkok. Another witness said the

operation was so sophisticated that the tyres of the vehicle contained

cannabis packed in such a way that it would have be e n driven without the

driver detecting anything u n u s u a l .

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Adelaide evidence included information concerning a Renault car

unloaded from the MV Vishva Vinhuti in Ja n u a r y 1978 wh i c h contained 95

kg of cannabis resin. The driver, a German student visiting Australia

on a temporary visa, had been promised $US10 000 on delivery of the

vehicle in Sydney.

Evidence detailed in the Chapter 4 of this Part of the Report

'Exportation of Illegal Drugs' details the Sydney case of a large

quantity of cannabis found secreted in a yacht crated as deck cargo from

Bangkok and en route to the United States in 1976.

Air Cargo Concealment

Witnesses gave examples of many of the methods quoted above also

being used to smuggle drugs through air cargo, either as a normal

freight shipment or as 'unaccompanied b a g g a g e ' . The latter is a

freighting method offered by airlines wh i c h enables passengers with

personal effects in excess of the normal baggage allowance to ship

personal effects by air, in aircraft arriving at the passengers'

destination within a short time of their arrival.

As well as the 'unaccompanied b a g g a g e ' examples quoted earlier,

other examples of smuggling through commercial air freight services

cited to the Commission included:

* 8417 g of cannabis packed in b etween layers of plywood used as

packing for three shipments of paintings from Bangkok to Adelaide.

A Customs officer had noted hairline cracks be t w e e n the layers of

plywood in the first shipment and had prised open the layers;

* 4 kg of opium impregnated in 22 Batik wall tapestries detected at

Perth in January 1977.

Ship and Aircraft Concealment

Evidence indicated that the use of hiding places in commercial ships and aircraft for smuggling drugs usually was associated with involvement of crew m e m b e r s . Drugs have been found hidden in many parts of ships'

structures as well as in toilets, underneath stairways and in locker

roo m s . The Commission noted that Bureau of Customs Special Service

Bulletins contained details of possible hiding places in merchant ships as a guide to officers conducting searches.

The 13.5 kg of heroin detected in Fremantle in September 1979 in the

vessel Kota Bali was said to be the largest detection of heroin imported

by this m e t h o d .

Among allegations attributed to former Narcotics Bureau agents

Deane-Spread and Colmer in articles published in the Bulletin magazine in August 1977 was the following statement:

A212

Some of these (Chinese-crewed) ships are specially built for

smuggling. There was a Hong Kong vessel seized in 1974 which

had secret passages not shown on the ship's official p l a n s .

The crewmen have been known to go to elaborate lengths to hide

drugs, hollowing out bollards and building false b u l k h e a d s .

Many of these hides were designed wh e n it was profitable to

smuggle cheap watches and radios into Australia. Now they are

used for n a r c o t i c s ...

Some evidence indicated that because larger ships with smaller crews was the predominant trend in modern shipping, the incidence of smuggling by ship was decreasing. On the other hand some witnesses pointed to the

fact that increases in commercial air traffic also increased the

likelihood of smuggling b y this means.

Mr A. E. Hutchison, NSW Assistant Collector of Customs (Air

Services), said that while the possibility of concealment within an

aircraft itself had long been a problem, there was little evidence to

suggest commercial aircraft were in fact being used to smuggle drugs

into Australia (OT 9541). Mr T. A. Chaseling, Security Manager for

Qantas, said in evidence in April 1978 only five crew members had been

convicted on drug charges since 1975 and that while employees had the

means to import drugs no hard evidence had shown it was occurring to any

great extent (OT 1 0 0 4 7 - - 4 8 ) .

GENERAL

Drugs illegally imported into Australia must first breach the

Customs screen. A strong Customs Department concentrating on

maintaining an effective primary screen at Australia's borders is

essential. Once drugs pass this primary screen they become inextricably mixed in the illegal commerce in drugs, whether imported or domestic.

All States and Territories presently have laws prohibiting this

commerce. These laws can be seen as a secondary screen designed to

p revent the trafficked goods reaching the consumer.

It is clear that, by their n a t u r e , certain illegal drugs lend

themselves most readily to particular methods of importation. The

method is determined largely by the value of the drug in relation to its

volume. This in turn decides what importers would consider an

e c onomic---or, more correctly, perhaps, lucrative---quantity for

importation. Thus LSD may enter the country in small quantities

concealed in blotting paper and under postage stamps while heroin is

apparently imported in considerable amounts through first-class and

other mail articles, but it is also well suited to concealment and

importation on the per s o n or internally concealed in the body. Cannabis oil, on account of its concentrated n a t u r e , has been imported in

personal baggage, in electronic equipment, typewriters, and similar

articles, and in some instances ingested within the body. Cannabis

resin is often secreted in conventional cargos such as tinned foodstuffs while cannabis tops (Buddha sticks, etc) have been imported in b a l e ­

sized packages by ocean-going yachts. H o w e v e r , these are only

A213

generalisations and instances of, for e x a m p l e , cannabis tops being

imported in small quantities in small mail articles are not u n k n o w n .

It is appropriate to note that most, if not all, methods described

here have been used overseas also. For example, the Le Dain (Canadian)

report on cannabis (Open Exhibit 20) described at page 173 hashish

shipments from the Middle East being introduced into the U.S. and

Canadian market via drops off the coast and by concealment in machinery

and motor vehicles. At page 177, the description of the situation

around the Mexican--!!.S. border and the use of light aircraft and small

boats for smuggling activities parallels evidence received by this

Commission in relation to Australia.

Clearly, there is wide scope for drug smugglers to exercise their

ingenuity in devising ways to circumvent the Customs screen or other

controls set up to p revent illegal importation of drugs into Australia. Were the consequences of drug abuse not so tragic, one might see the

contest between the enforcement agent on the one side and the trafficker and/or courier on the other as a game of skill in which each tries to

outwit the o t h e r . Figures for drug seizures make one suspect that the

score is at present v e r y much in the law-breakers' favour.

For effective deterrence there must be for the smuggler an

unacceptably high risk of detection and the certain knowledge that heavy penalties will follow detection. To achieve the first of these

requirements it is necessary for law enforcement always to be a step

ahead of the law-breaker to foresee changes in tactics and strategy and

to foil these. This is no easy task, and law enforcement agencies must

be ready and prepared to switch their efforts into different avenues

when it becomes apparent, or even likely, that importation routes or

methods are changing. It is a mistake to conclude that because a

particular drug is not being detected in illegal importation through a

given c hannel---heroin entering the country in general cargo, for

example---that it is not being imported at all by that m e a n s ; the fact

is that the detection system in this country presently leaves much to be

desired. Repeating the words of Mr D . J. Mitchell, Southern Region

Commander of the Narcotics B u r e a u :

Methods used in the illegal importation of drugs are restricted only by the imagination of the i m p o r t e r .

(OT 2331)

This Chapter has attempted to show h o w drugs in general are

illegally imported into Australia. Examples deal mainly with

c annabis---cannabis tops, resin and o i l--- and heroin, which are the

drugs most commonly detected at present, but m ention is made of LSD and

other drugs. It has to be recognised that drugs currently in fashion in

Australia could be joined, or perhaps r e p l a c e d , by others that have

either not yet made significant appearance on the street market here

(though they ma y have done so elsewhere) or have had an earlier period

of popularity and are reappearing. For e x a m p l e , recent United Nations

data show that coca paste is much used in South America, while cocaine

is increasingly in demand in the higher socio-economic strata in North

A214

America and Western Europe. Cocaine is a drug of a f f l u e n c e , and though

substantial abuse of this drug seems never to have taken root in

Australia there could be a trend in this direction at some future time.

Amphetamine-type s u b s t a n c e s , after a relatively quiet period, are again, and increasingly, being abused in all parts of the world, but especially in Japan. Abuse of barbiturates and non-barbiturate s e d a t i v e s ,

tranquillizers, and other psychoactive substances is once more on the

increase and some new hallucinogenic substances have made an appearance in recent years. Though it is not suggested that special methods of

importation might be used in respect of such d r u g s , enforcement agencies should not complacently assume that the only drugs they are likely to

encounter in their prevention work are cannabis and heroin with rare

instances of other drugs in small amounts.

A215

A216

Chapter 3 Extent of Importation of Illegal Drugs

The growing extent of drug abuse in Australia is part of a worldwide

trend, and the problem of illegal importing of drugs has reached major

proportions during the last decade. Substantial amounts of illicit

drugs are available on the world market and there can be no doubt that

traffickers see Australia as a significant and expanding market.

Informed witnesses agreed that it would, generally speaking, be true to say that all illicit drugs other than some forms of cannabis were

imported although there has occasionally been some localised

manufacturing of amphetamines, LSD, and at one time of heroin. The

drugs illicitly imported and trafficked are mainly heroin and cannabis and to a much smaller extent hallucinogens and cocaine. A considerable

amount of locally grown cannabis is now consumed in Australia but the more potent forms of cannabis ---Buddha sticks, hashish and hashish

oil ---are imported almost exclusively.

There is no way of determining with any accuracy what quantities of

drugs are illegally imported into Australia every year since, clearly, it is a major preoccupation of illegal importers to avoid detection.

The Commission can only report and analyse what is known and attempt to

identify trends and draw some broad inferences when the information

appears to warrant them.

Seizure statistics provide a historical record of amounts of drugs prevented from reaching the street market, but they cannot be used with

any confidence to show what quantities of drugs are successfully

imported illegally. The reason seizure data are unreliable measures is that the interception success rate is unknown and almost certainly

highly variable. Seizures depend on the manpower and other resources

deployed to detect illegal importations of drugs; on the varying levels of efficiency of enforcement agencies and on their selection of targets for intensive surveillance; on effective information gathering and the quick dissemination and proper use of the information; on the changing

tactics of importers and organisers of importations; a n d , of course, on chance. Possibly not more than 10— 15 per cent of illegally imported

drugs is detected and seized, but even this figure is based on intuition

rather than on factual evidence. In fact, estimates made by the

Commission with respect to heroin use by addicts in Australia suggest

that as little as 1 per cent of illegally imported heroin is seized.

Even when special efforts are made to improve detection methods and to increase the manpower and other resources devoted to drug detection, and they result in greater seizures, there is no way of knowing, unless

indirect evidence can be found, whether these represent a larger

proportion of the illegal importations or whether increased quantities of drugs are being imported and the proportion detected has remained

more or less the same.

A217

Except for seizure statistics, there are few reliable indicators of the extent of illegal importation of d r u g s . The value and significance

of several of these indicators are considered later in this C h a p t e r .

D E TECTION AN D SEIZURE OF ILLEGALLY IMPORTED DRUGS

Mr H. Bates, Commissioner of the Narcotics Bureau, giving evidence

to the Commission in November 1977, pointed o u t :

When you take into consideration the fact you have vast numbers

of people entering the country in concentrated periods, you

have got remote areas of the coastline accessible to

clandestine landings and visits, you have several hundred

remote airstrips in the north; it is impossible to believe that

this country could operate a sufficient force to maintain the

level of checks necessary to detect illicit drug importations

through these various a v e n u e s .

Add to that the really proficient methods of concealment now

being u s e d ; even the normal routine customs screening that

occurs would find it difficult to detect concealments of that

nature. As such it becomes necessary to develop advance

knowledge of the people and the methods and the areas that are

being used by drug traffickers and that obviously comes from

the intelligence operations.

(OT 329)

As discussed in Part VI of this Report, senior Customs officers

repeatedly spoke in Commission hearings about the difficulties of

thoroughly searching all passengers arriving at an international

airport, pointing out that in 1978 as many as 1200 passengers had to be

cleared at Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport within an hour.

Broadly speaking, the avenues of illegal importation include

individuals and paid couriers carrying drugs concealed on the person or in baggage and personal effects and arriving mainly b>? air but also by

s e a ; unaccompanied baggage and general freight; the overseas mail; air or sea drops along quiet stretches of coast; and direct importations by

sea or air in unguarded p l a c e s , possibly through elaborate operations. These methods are described more fully in Part IV, Chapter 2.

RECORDING OF DRUG SEIZURES

On behalf of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, the

Narcotics Bureau maintains statistics for quantities of drugs seized by the Bureau of Customs and the Narcotics Bureau itself. Mr H. Bates

explained that where the Narcotics Bureau was involved in an

investigation and seized d r u g s , those drugs were accounted for and

recorded in the Narcotics Bureau seizure statistics, even though a State or Territory police prosecution might follow because of insufficient

evidence to support a Commonwealth prosecution. He added, however, that quite a substantial quantity of drugs seized by State and Territory

A218

police was not recorded by the Narcotics Bureau (OT 288--S9) because

they did not receive the information.

The Commonwealth Police Australia Crime Intelligence Centre compiles statistics for drug seizures by both Commonwealth and State law

enforcement agencies including the Narcotics Bureau, based on the Drug Intelligence Reports scheme. A Commonwealth Police officer giving

evidence in confidential session discussed difficulties associated with measuring the extent of illegal importation from seizure statistics:

In the figures that I will produce tomorrow we have separated

not only the quantities of drugs seized and weighed and advised to us by State police and the Narcotics Bureau, but also the

number of seizures advised to us whether the quantities were

stated or not. This is a very serious error of omission and

for 1976 we had nearly 9000 s e i z u r e s , and of those there were

3648 with some sort of quantity stated and 3993 with no

quantity stated whatsoever.

We went further than that. We got our people coding this

information to try and work out from the narrative part of the

form whether they would guess that the quantity involved was

small---that is, less than 50 g r a m s . And there were about 1250

seizures that fell into that category---a further 1250

s e i z u r e s , and there were 41 further seizures for which it was

obvious that the quantity was greater than 50 g r a m s , but we had

no idea how big it was.

(CT)

In this connection the Commission heard other evidence that Drug

Intelligence Reports were not invariably or consistently submitted by State police to the Commonwealth Police, partly because of the poor

relations, and even distrust, existing between the Commonwealth Police and other police forces (see also Part VI, Chapter 1: Australian Federal P o l i c e ) .

Copies of the Commonwealth Police publication Drug Abuse in

Australia for the years 1970 to 1977 were submitted in evidence by the

Commonwealth Police (Open Exhibit 42). These reports include data for

drug seizures reported by all law enforcement agencies in Australia,

although as already mentioned they may be incomplete, particularly for some States. Although the totals include quantities of drugs seized by

State a u t h o r i t i e s , wh i c h would not necessarily have been reported to the Narcotics Bureau, they proved to contain so many inconsistencies as to

be almost meaningless.

Tables I V . 1 and IV.2 show national totals of drug seizures by all

Australian law enforcement agencies reporting to the Australia Crime

Intelligence Centre in 1971 and 1977 respectively. Table IV.2 is

reproduced here as an example of the system of recording now adopted by

the Commonwealth Police. This table goes into very much more detail

than either the earlier Commonwealth Police table or the Department of

A219

Quantities of Drugs Seized in 1970

Table IV.1

N a r c o t i c s

A m p h e t a m i n e s

a n d

S t i m u l a n t s

B a r b i t u r a t e s a n d

D e p r e s s a n t s

A m p h e t a m i n e s

a n d

B a r b i t u r a t e s

M a r i h u a n a

L . S . D .

T o t a l s

T a b l e t s 1 4 5 9 5 7 4 4 9 2 5 8 8 0 5 0 0 - - 4 8 4 2 4

A m p o u l e s 3 6 0 - 64 - - - 4 2 4

V o l u m e

(mis)

2 4 7 7 0 - - - - - 24 7 7 0

W e i g h t

(gms)

4 4 0 0 11 3 4 0 - 94 8 0 0 - 1 1 0 5 4 0

' D o s e s 1 - - - - - 2 9 1 0 0 2 9 1 0 0

P l a n t s - - - - 2 5 7 - 2 5 7

S e e d s - - - 2 0 8 7 - 2 0 8 7

(Source: Commonwealth Police Technical Report Number 3 - 'Drug Abuse in Australia - A Statistical Survey')

Business and Consumer Affairs' tables. Accordingly, it is not really

feasible to fully equate the more detailed Commonwealth Police figures with the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs' statistics. For

e x a m p l e , the more recent Commonwealth Police table breaks cannabis down into 'cannabis plants', 'cannabis seeds', 'marihuana', 'Buddha s t i c k s ', 'h a s h i s h ' , 'hashish oil', and 'c a n n a b i n o l '---many more categories than the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs now recognises.

F u r t h e r m o r e , the Commonwealth Police data include quantities of drugs seized that were either not imported or were not imported illegally;

this consideration will affect particularly the various forms of

cannabis and synthetic drugs used in medical practice. It is worth

noting, however, that the amphetamines may in part have been illegally

imported since their medical use is now very limited and highly

controlled. However, an illicit amphetamine laboratory was detected in 1978 so local production probably accounts for a significant proportion of the amount seized.

The Commission also examined tables for drug seizures in the annual

reports of the Department of Customs and Excise for 1967--68, 1 9 6 8 - - 6 9 ,

1969--70, 1970--71, 1971 — 72, 1972--73, 1973 — 74, 1975 and 1976, and the

Department of Business and Consumer Affairs Annual Report for 1977 — 78. A close study of these tables is made more difficult by changes in

reporting over the years and by certain inconsistencies. For example,

reporting periods have changed from financial years to calendar y e a r s . Earlier reporting of drugs referred to weights (grams, kilograms) and

also to volumes (litres), tablets, capsules, packets, ampoules, doses

A220

Weighed Drug Seizures* - National Totals for all Law Enforcement Agencies - Combined Figures - Australia, 1977

Table IV.2

Weight Number of Number of Number of Number of Number of Dose units

(gram) seeds plants tablets ampoules capsules (LSD only) * 1 2 * 4

Cocaine 556.086 - - - 2

Codeine 1.000 - - 34 -

Dextromoramide (Palfium) 2.000 - - 773 -

Hydromorphone 0.000 - 78 -

Methadone 29.550 - - 1633 3

Morphine 234.072 - - 23 50

Opium 4691.325 - - - -

Oxycodone 117.575 - - - -

Pethidine 238.000 - - 427 62

Phenoperidine 0.000 - - - -

Pholcodine 16.500 - - - -

Heroin 21 741.365 - • - 31 18

Fortral 0.000 - - - 10

Cannabis plants 25 291.281 - 290 100 - -

Cannabis seeds 11 118.036 109 301 - - -

Marihuana/Indian Hemp 5 286 963.145 - - - -

Hashish 265 329.102 - - - -

Cannabinol 569.310 - - - 2

Hashish oil 38 398.250 - - - -

’Buddha sticks' 191 252.094 - - - -

Amphetamine 663.900 - - - -

Me thylamphe tamine 22.500 - - 33 -

Methylphendiate (Ritalin)

7.080 295 -

’Other Amphetamine’ 0 . 0 0 0 - - 295 -

Methaqualone (Mandrax) 0 . 0 0 0 - - 4626 -

Amlyobarbitone 0 . 0 0 0 - - 18 -

’Other Barbiturate’ 84.150 - - 414 123

Mogadon 0 . 0 0 0 - - 37 -

Diazepam (Valium) 0.200 - - 704 42

27

1

126 105

7 2

884

153 139

4 6

1

19

139 127

11 864

Table IV.2 (cont.)

Weight Number of Number of Number of Number of Number of Dose units

(gram) seeds plants tablets ampoules capsules (LSD only)

Oxazepam (Serepax) 0 .0 0 0 - - 40 -

'Other Tranquillisers' 0 .0 0 0 - 204 -

'Other anti-depressants' 0 .0 0 0 - - 20 -

LSD 31.870 - - 457 -

Psilocybine/Psilocin 569.936 - 328 - -

Mescaline 0 .0 0 0 - - 4 -

STP/'Bromo-STP' 0 .0 0 0 - - 786 -

'Other'/Miscellaneous 15.000 - - 238 6

2

2

5

53 *

5376

* Drugs seized, with an estimate of their weight/quantity reported to the Australia Crime Intelligence Centre.

(Source: Commonwealth Police Statistical Survey - 'Drug Abuse in Australia 1977')

and dose u n i t s . Only in the most recent table from the 1977--78 Annual

Report of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, are

quantities reduced uniformly to weights (grams), except for LSD, which continues to be stated in dose units.

Furthermore, the earlier tables listed, for example, 'raw opium', 'prepared opium', 'liquid opium', 'opium dross', and 'other opium',

later to become simply 'opium', thereby reflecting the changing status of opium for Australia. Similarly, in the earliest table (1967--68)

'cannabis' is unqualified but gradually this changes to 'cannabis',

'reefers', and 'cannabis seeds' (1968--69), to 'cannabis', 'cannabis

seeds' and 'cannabis plants' (1973--74), and then to 'cannabis oil',

'cannabis' and 'cannabis plants' (1 976--30.6.78). It is noted that no

mention is made in these tables of 'cannabis tops', i.e., Buddha or Thai

sticks, or of 'cannabis resin'.

The reporting changes, however justified, make direct comparisons more than a little difficult. A few of the tables are reproduced here

for purposes of comparison (Tables IV.3 to IV.5 ).

An additional complication to the use of the tables of seizures

recorded by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs is that the

data include seizures made by State police if there was Narcotics Bureau participation in the seizure. Many seizures are therefore also recorded by State police and notified to the Commonwealth Police Australia Crime Intelligence Centre via the Drug Intelligence Reports. But as we have

seen, those reports are not invariably submitted to the Commonwealth

Table IV. 3

Narcotic Drug Seizures 1967-68

kilograms

R a w opium ............................................... 1.689

Prepared o p i u m ..................................... 6.284

Morphine/caffeine mixture ............................ 1.360

Opium dross . 0.756

H e r o i n ............................................... 3.002

C a n n a b i s ............................................... 2.812

litres

Liquid opium .......................................... 4.049

(Source:Department of Customs and Excise Annual Report for 1967-68.)

A223

Table IV.4

Drug Seizures

Type Unit 1970-71 1971-72 1972-73 (a)1973-74

Cannabis g 160 896 273 762 392 799 1 246 630

seeds 1307 382 182 2004

plants - ~ 41

Cocaine g - 3 446.5 30

Depressants tablets 75 513 192 -

g 1477 22 ~ 107.1

Heroin g 1728 1974 1385.5 3711

ml - 2 -

LSD tablets

tickets ) )

42 458 69 020 64 574 11 019

Morphine g 32 156.5 187.8

ampoules 6 8 - -

tablets 46 - -

Opium g 6551 6055 731.3 5643.4

ml - 245 -

Stimulants tablets 234 1058 1028

g 11 356 108 68 242.2

(a) As at 31.5.74

( S o u r c e:Department of Customs and Excise Annual Report for 1973-74.)

Table IV.5

Drug Seizures

Type of Drug 1974 1975 1976 1977

1.1.78­ 30.6.78

Opium (gms) 6132 4816 4509 4139 841

Heroin (gms) 5079 5938 15 351 11 711 14 340

Morphine (gms) 279 863 47 14 5

Cocaine (gms) 47 338 1561 140 -

LSD (dose units) 5505 9131 1458 1880 3

Cannabis Oil (gms) 4809 32 859 45 083 37 246 28 408

Cannabis (gms) 342 405 885 476 1 226 922 703 967 7 253 275

(plants) 913 822 855 1874 64

Prosecutions commenced

610 840 595 603 218

(Source: Department of Business and Consumer Affairs Annual Report for 1977-78)

A224

Police to be recorded statistically. Although the addition of

Department of Business and Consumer Affairs figures for seizures of

illegally imported drugs to seizure figures tablulated by the

Commonwealth Police from reports made by State police forces should, in theory, accurately express the amounts of the different drugs seized

throughout the Commonwealth year by year, this is not necessarily the

case. A considerable effort of interpretation is required.

DRUG SEIZURES R ECORDED BY THE NARCOTICS BUREAU

The Department of Business and Consumer Affairs in its first

submission to the Commission provided a table (Open Exhibit 1) of drug

seizures and prosecutions recorded by the Narcotics Bureau for the

period January 1967 to October 1977. Subsequently, the Narcotics

Bureau, acting on a request from the Commission, submitted corresponding figures for the whole of 1977, 1978, and the first half of 1979 to

update the earlier t a b l e . The consolidated figures are shown here in

Table IV.6.

Certain trends are apparent in these figures. Much less opium is

now being imported. A n enormous quantity was seized in 1967 but at that

time opium was used by members of the Asian, especially the ethnic

Chinese, community in Australia. It was not, and is not, a drug

preferred by E u r o p e a n s . The older Asian opium addicts are now dying

o u t . In the middle 1960s users in the Asian community began to favour

heroin. Mr H. Bates thought that this was partly because heroin is

easier to handle and to dispose of in case of a raid. Opium is a

treacle-like substance and extremely difficult to flush down a toilet or sink (OT 2 9 0 - - 9 1 ) . It is also bulky and has much lower weight-to-value

or weight-to-effeet ratios than heroin. Heroin be g a n to grow in

popularity with Australians probably towards the end of the 1960s.

Importations of cannabis products have in later years been

influenced by local cultivation of cannabis in Australia and the

tendency has been to import the more potent and concentrated, and thus

more valuable, Buddha sticks, cannabis resin and, since 1973, cannabis oil that are either not produced or are not produced in any significant

quantity in Australia. L S D , after a period of intense interest and

experimentation, has fallen out of favour wi t h drug u s e r s . Cocaine is a

particularly expensive drug that has never achieved the popularity in

Australia as a drug of abuse that it has in Europe and, especially, in

No r t h America.

DRUG IMPORTATIONS STATE BY STATE

Informed witnesses in all States and Territories gave evidence to

the Commission on incidents involving importation and attempted

importation of d r u g s , and the rising frequency of these incidents, and

also provided figures for total or significant seizures. N e w South

Wales, as the most populous State, is clearly the ma i n target area for

illegal importations of most drugs through 'conv e n t i o n a l ' air, sea, and postal routes. However, Mr J . A. Travers, a Chief Inspector of the

Narcotics Bureau Western Region, said in Perth that recent drug seizures

A225

Drug Seizures Recorded by the Narcotics Bureau, 1967 to June 1979

Type of drug3 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971

Opium (g) 21 530 3660 889 9685 6094

Heroin (g) 2572 1977 196 1405 2468

Morphine (g) - 1387 8 amps 150 tbs

18 amps

31

Cocaine (g) - - - 120 tbs 4

LSD (doses) 237 - 386 17 611 21 688

Cannabis oil (g) - - - - -

Cannabis (g)*3 1376 5654 47 809 98 078 178 654

1972

2746

2018

16 amps

198

69 863

533 846

1973

2960

3116

1536

120

23 442

6193

1 101 406

indicated that amounts of drugs illegally imported into Western

Australia were at least e q u i v a l e n t , per head of population, to amounts

imported into Sydney and M e l b o u r n e . An analysis by the Commission of

Narcotics Bureau figures does indeed show that Western Australia and

Victoria vied for second place in respect to heroin importations in 1977 and 1978.

Importations of drugs into Tasmania is a minimal problem, according to Inspector T. W. Cashion of the Tasmania Police (OT 1 0 7 5 - - 7 6 ) . There

is no international airport on the island and little overseas shipping

making Tasmania a first port of call. The figures show Tasmania usually

well down the list, or at the bottom, but there are occasions when large

seizures are m a d e ; for e x a m p l e , Tasmania is in second place for

importations of cannabis oil in 1978. It is believed that such 'out-of­ character' seizures indicate chance detections of consignments of drugs intended for other destinations or deliberate use of Tasmania as a

1 staging p o s t ' in getting drugs into the mainland States undetected.

To all intents and purposes, the A.C.T. can be disregarded in

connection with drug importations since it has neither an international airport nor, except for the Jervis Bay area, a coastline. Direct

importations would presumably have to be made through such devices as

sealed cargo containers or air freight conveyed to the A.C.T. without

undergoing a Customs i n s p e c t i o n .

Queensland and South Australia fall about the middle of the r a n g e .

Brisbane has an international air terminal but the volume of traffic

there is below that at the other Australian international airports. On

the other h a n d , there is still a considerable volume of shipping,

including general overseas cargo and containers. South Australia has no international airport and there is now much less shipping through South

Australian ports.

The Northern T e r r i t o r y , together with the north — west of Western

Australia, is an obvious target for large-scale importations involving 'non-c o n v e n t i o n a l ' air and sea r o u t e s . This is reflected in the

occasional very large seizures of, for e x a m p l e , cannabis tops in the

Northern Territory in 1978 and in Western Australia in 1977. In

a d d i t i o n , the Northern Territory has an international airport situated close to South-East Asia.

The following tabulations show the relative ranking of the States and Territories for four categories of drugs for the years 1977 and 1978. The data are taken from more extensive tables prepared by the Commission in a detailed, analytical study consolidating seizure statistics reported

in the Narcotics Bureau evidence to the Commission.

A227

HEROIN*

1978

NSW 12 743.9

VIC 2 070.3

WA 1 976.8

QLD 693.7

SA 205.1

NT 179.5

A.C.T. 10.2

TAS -

TOTAL * grams

17 879.5

CANNABIS TOPS*

1978

NSW 4 974 253.9

NT 186 152.2

WA 8 570.9

SA 2 947.1

VIC 2 607.9

TAS 2 284.4

QLD 664.3

A.C.T. 5.7

TOTAL 5 177 486.4

* grams

CANNABIS RESIN*

1977

NSW 6 442.0

WA 3 085.8

VIC 1 573.5

QLD 268.1

NT 244.3

SA 102.0

A.C.T. 9.2

TAS 2.0

TOTAL 11 726.9

1977

NSW 212 052.2

WA 206 380.3

A.C.T. 26 007.4

SA 11 102.8

VIC 10 453.6

NT 4 544.6

QLD 2 461.9

TAS 818.8

TOTAL 473 821.6

1978 1977

NS W 2 148 436.7 NSW 155 853.2

VIC 176 969.6 QLD 56 176.2

SA 95 514.9 VIV 13 806.1

QLD 5 839.7 WA 1 602.8

NT 1 849.9 A.C.T. 1 264.5

WA 690.5 SA 49.9

A.C.T. 108.7 NT 43.8

TAS 0.3 TAS 2.9

TOTAL * grams 2 429 410.3 TOTAL 228 799.4

A228

CANNABIS 0 ID-

1978 1977

NSW 96 280.1 NSW 35 262.1

TAS 483.0 WA 435.3

QLD 473.4 QLD 295.0

VIC 471.0 VIC 41.4

SA 19.9 SA 35.8

NT 3.0 TAS 10.0

WA 0.8 NT 0.0**

A.C.T. - A.C.T. -

TOTAL 97 731.2 TOTAL 36 079.6

* grams

** trace only

INDIRECT INDICATORS OF THE EXTENT OF ILLEGAL IMPORTATION

In addition to seizure data, there are a number of indicators of a

less direct nature that can be used to estimate the extent of illegal

importation.

Firstly, some witnesses appearing before the Commission believed

that numbers of drug detections and prosecutions are an indication of

the importation rate. For example, the first Department of Business and Consumer Affairs submission to the Commission in November 1977 stated:

The more marked increase in detections over the last 5 years

cannot be fully attributed to the use of additinal manpower

resources or technological developments. The inference is that there has been an increase in the throughput of illicit

importations roughly proportionate to the increase in

de t e c t i o n .

(OT 39)

However, seizure statistics and the corresponding prosecutions show fluctuations that are not readily explained, and this indicator

certainly has to be looked at over a long period. For example,

Inspector D, H. Haswell, Officer-in-Charge of the Commonwealth Police Australia Crime Intelligence Centre, said that although Australia seemed to be becoming more self-supporting in the production of some drugs, a

fall in prosecutions for 1976 as against 1975 (597 compared with 840)

was not necessarily an indication that less drugs were imported into

Australia in 1976. He added that importation techniques had improved

and he thought that detection was becoming increasingly difficult (OT

162). According to the Commonwealth Police publication Drug Abuse in

Australia 19.77, 603 drug prosecutions were undertaken by the Narcotics Bureau in 1977. The corresponding figure for 1978, as supplied to the

Commission by the Commonwealth Police, was 451. Drug Abuse in Australia 1977, comments that the great majority of the charges were concerned

with illegal importation of drugs and illegal possession of illegally

imported drugs.

A229

D r M. C. Hall, Principal Res e a r c h Officer for the Commonwealth

Police, commenting on prosecution statistics in the draft tables for

Drug Abuse in A u s tralia 1976, pointed out the limitations imposed by the

original data from which the report was c o m p i l e d . The report relies

solely on data obtained from law enforcement agencies in Australia, and the report described only detected abuses of illicit drugs or illegal

involvement of p r o p rietary preparations and does not p urport to depict the whole of the national drug abuse p r o b l e m . He added that changes in

the figures mi g h t reflect resource limitations or circumstances of

man p o w e r use in specific law enforcement areas rather than changes in

illicit drug use in the community (OT 4046). Similar comments have been

included in editions of Drug Abuse in Australia since 1974.

Bearing these qualifications in mind, detected heroin importation offences reported in Drug Abuse in Australia for the years 1972 to 1977

were, respectively, 18, 10, 27, 11, 77, 78. The 1978 figure obtained by

the Commission from the Commonwealth Police is 25. However, as

discussed elsewhere, the Commission found Commonwealth Police seizure data for 1978 were inaccurate, and this casts serious doubt on the value

of the last f i g u r e . For all offences involving heroin (possess, import, use/administer, t r a f f i c , other), the figures for the period 1972 to 1978 reported in Drug Abuse in Australia w e r e , respectively, 149, 221, 329,

915, 1948, and 2346. The figure for 1978 obtained from the Commonwealth

Police was 3278. A detailed break-down of drug types related to offence

types revealed that charges concerned directly with illegal importation of drugs for the period 1974 to 1978 were 2.16 per c e n t , 0.56 per cent,

1.22 pe r c e n t , 0.82 per cent, and 0.79 per cent, respectively, of all

charges laid.

A second related indicator, according to Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary

of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs (0T 3 9 - - 4 0 ) , is the

increased frequency of detecting large importations of d r u g s . However, a senior Narcotics Bureau officer in Ne w South Wales did not agree that

heroin was being detected in larger a m o u n t s . He said (OT 9772D) there

was a rise in the number of seizures rather than in the size of

individual seizures. The Commission looked at the evidence relating to seized drugs in general and found that, except for cannabis oil, there

was no obvious trend towards larger amounts being imported in single

c o n s i g n m e n t s .

Nevertheless, some l a r g e , and even very l a r g e , seizures have been

made, bearing in mind the method of illegal importation attempted. For

e x a m p l e , in Western Australia in 1976 some 45 kg of Buddha sticks and

nearly 11 kg of heroin were seized in a motel in Broome after being

landed from a yacht.

On a number of occasions amounts of heroin carried on the person by

passengers arriving at Australian airports have been detected in the 1

kg to 2 kg r a n g e , or sometimes m o r e . In passengers' baggage, even

bigger quantities have been f o u n d . Mr M. A. Besley said in evidence in

November 1977 that on one occasion 4.5 kg of heroin were seized in the

baggage of two Thai nationals at Bangkok airport as they were about to

board a flight for Australia. In May 1978 approximately 9.9 kg of

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heroin were discovered b y a drug detector dog team in a passenger's

baggage at Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport.

In September 1979 approximately 13.5 kg of No. 3 heroin were seized

in the ship 'Kota B a l i ’ at F r e m a n t l e ; it was the largest heroin seizure

made in Australia up to that t i m e . The heroin was concealed in a

structural cavity in the ship. There is good reason for believing that

this was not the first time the ship had carried drugs to Australia, and

it has to be recognized that other ships may well be regularly used for

such trafficking.

In 1978 4.6 tonnes of cannabis tops were seized from the yacht

1A n o a ' at Port Laurienton in New South Wales and at Pocklington Reef off

the coast of Papua Ne w G u i n e a . Also in 1978, approximately 180 kg of

cannabis tops were taken from a crashed light aircraft near K a t h e r i n e .

Large seizures of cannabis resin in 1978 in Ne w South Wales were

approximately 1.9 tonnes (from a Campervan) 36.5 kg, 24.6 kg, 19.9 kg,

and 16.7 kg. In Victoria and South Australia respectively in 1978 large

seizures of 95.1 kg and 94.3 kg were made. In M a y 1976, 283 kg of

cannabis resin were discovered in Sydney in a consignment of canned

mixed pickles of Lebanese origin.

Cannabis oil seizures in 1978 included 12 kg, 11.2 kg, and 8.4 kg in

baggage at Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport, and 6.2 kg, 5 kg and 26.3

kg from carge examinations in Sydney. The largest seizure in 1977 was

25 kg, also in Sydney.

The biggest single seizure of cocaine, approximately 1.5 kg, was

made in 1976; h o w e v e r , this was believed to be an exceptional

circumstance involving an 'o p p o r t u n i s t '.

Another possible indirect indicator is the extent to which some

methods of importation have become more elaborate, involving higher

initial expenses and an extended scale of activities. Entrepreneurs are ready to outlay very large sums of money to cover overheads and to

i n v o l v e , and put at risk, valuable assets like ocean-going yachts and

aircraft in order to import greater quantities of d r u g s . Mr Besley said

that one drug syndicate had outlayed more than $750 000 to purchase a

sea-going vessel, a DC-3 aircraft, very sophisticated radio

communications and radio communications monitoring equipment, and

property in a remote part of Western Australia in order to parachute

some 1.5 tonnes of cannabis resin into the Indian Ocean and subsequently recover it at sea for shipment to Australia and onward d i s t r i b u t i o n .

Another g r o u p , one of many known to have made extensive use of

professional c o u r i e r s , was estimated to have imported some 800 to 1200

kg of high-grade cannabis in the form of Buddha sticks over a period of

three years. The couriers were carefully briefed on courses of action

to take if they were a p p r e h e n d e d , and provision was made for their legal representation, funds for b a i l , and false travel documents to facilitate their escape from Australia, if necessary (OT 4 1 - - 4 2 ) .

A231

It has to be pointed out, however, that detection of such large-

scale, elaborate operations are e x c e p t i o n a l . Most drug seizures

continue to be made through 1 c o n v e n t i o n a l ' air, sea and postal routes of

importation.

Mr D. J. Mitchell, Commander of the Narcotics Bureau Southern

Region, said that since 1974 a change had come over the whole drug

s c e n e . People were becoming more organised, they had accumulated vast

sums of money, and recruited persons as couriers who did not remotely

resemble a drug u s e r . Large sums of mo n e y were paid to these people for

bringing drugs into the country. Also, methods of concealment had

improved; some of the false-bottomed suitcases had been almost

impossible to detect (OT 2321). The points raised by Mr Besley and Mr

Mitchell are dealt with in more detail elsewhere in Part IV of this

R e p o r t---in Chapter 2 on methods of importation and in Chapter 7 on the

organised basis of drug related crime.

Another useful indicator of the extent of illegal importation is

derived from drug i n t e l l i g e n c e . Sources of information include users, traffickers and other drug o f f e n d e r s , drug casualties and established informers together with undercover agents. Information can be developed through appropriate follow-up inquiries and exchanges wi t h other law

enforcement agencies within Australia and in other countries. For

example, amounts of heroin or cannabis destined for Australia can be

estimated from reported arrests in overseas countries of Australians

caught in p o s session of drugs and from the v e r i f ication of frequent

visits to Australia by offenders prior to their a r r e s t . Mr H. Bates

said that in the five years up to 1977 more than 700 Australians were

arrested overseas for drug o f f e n c e s . Many of these were serious

trafficking offences as distinct from possession. There were such 133

arrests in 1973, 194 in 1974, 147 in 1975, 169 in 1976 and 74 up to

N o vember 1977. He added that he thought a high number of overseas

arrests of Australians on drug charges was not brought to the attention

of the Australian authorities (OT 321).

Fluctuations in availability and street prices of drugs are also

indicative of the supply situation in relation to demand. Intelligence from street surveys and undercover activities has shown that casual

users and abusers alike can readily procure drugs of all kinds. Until

1978 there had been no marked increase in prices other than those

consistent with domestic inflation. From this it can be deduced that

the level of importation is usually high enough to meet the demand, and

at most times to replace quantities of drugs seized, thus avoiding

fluctuations in availability. The p o s s ibility that street drugs are

diluted more during 'famines' in order to keep up supplies to users

cannot be ruled out since there is no routine detailed chemical

analysing of all seized drugs in Australia. Experience in the United

States does suggest that heroin is diluted according to the balance

between supply and demand (Drug Enforcement, vol. 4, No. 3, December

1977). There a r e , h o w e v e r , occasional fluctuations in supply, and when a drug is not available abusers are sometimes forced to seek medical

assistance. For e x a m p l e , some years ago in Sydney a large seizure of

heroin in the Chinese section of the community deprived the poorer

A232

addicts of s u p p l i e s , and for the first time two Chinese sought help from

a methadone program.

Finally, the number of known users can be taken as an indicator of

the availability of drugs or of quantities reaching the street markets provided certain weighting factors are taken into consideration. Some witnesses attempted to make estimates on that basis. For example, Mr J. A. Travers said he believed that the suggestion made by Senior Counsel

assisting the Commission that possibly 2000 people in Perth were

regularly using heroin was a 'fairly conservative estimate', and he

thought that each user would average about half a gram of pure heroin a

day. He agreed with Counsel:

...you would need almost one kilogram of pure heroin a day to

be available for a conservative estimate of 2000 users in

P e r t h .

(0T 626)

In the Northern Territory, Chief Inspector W. L. Goedegebuure said it was estimated that there were 500 heroin users in Darwin. He pointed

out:

Assuming this figure to be correct, and assuming that each

addict consumes 0.1 gramme of heroin daily, then a weekly

importation of 350 grammes of the drug is required simply to

maintain the present level of use.

(OT 5665)

In an article entitled 'Why the drugs get t h r o u g h ' , published in The Bulletin magazine of 6 August 1977, the author, Malcolm Turnbull, dealt with heroin importations into Australia based on information provided by David Deane-Spread and Ted Colmer, former agents of the Narcotics

Bureau. The article stated:

Last year it (the Narcotics Bureau) seized a little more than

15 kilograms of heroin. According to an American narcotics

agent in South East Asia, that is less than one Chinese

syndicate brings into Australia in any one week. It is just a

fraction of what is consumed in Australia.

The health authorities concede that there are about 10 000

heroin addicts in NSW. This is widely regarded by law

enforcement agencies involved in narcotics as a very

conservative estimate. To say that each addict uses an average of a gram of heroin a day is another very conservative

estimate. All the same it means that at least 10 kilograms of

heroin would be needed, every day for those 10 000 addicts in

NSW.

It is clear from these three examples that there is wide

disagreement about the quantities of heroin (in terms of the pure

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substance) consumed daily by users and addicts. F u r t h e r m o r e , the

numbers of users and addicts quoted in these examples are founded only

upon opinion.

A New South Wales Police submission to the NS W Royal Commission into Drug Trafficking in November 1978, and incorporated into the transcript of this Royal Com m i s s i o n , attempted a detailed analysis of the numbers of regular heroin users in that State on the basis of heroin users

participating in methadone maintenance p r o g r a m s . It was considered that there might be between 5000 and 20 000. The numbers of people accepting

rehabilitation will tend to be fewer when drugs are readily available. Health authorities may see this as a lessening of the problem but law

enforcement experience suggests otherwise. In any event, estimates

based on head counts of patients listed in a drug program compared with

numbers listed in previous years could be influenced by a variety of

factors and will tend to be misleading unless suitable statistical

weighting is applied.

Numbers of users can also be estimated from 1 visible casualties'.

This measure has to be used with caution because deaths could be caused

by adulteration of the drug rather than by o v e r d o s e , and dealers may be

tempted to adulterate h e r o i n , and possibly other d r u g s , when they become less readily available. Mr Besley said he had reservations about the

value of inferences drawn from 'visible casualties' (OT 4S--49) since

(a) not all drugs, cannabis for e x a m p l e , produce visible casualties; (b) not all casualties become known; (c) casualties often become known only when use has reached an advanced stage; and (d) only illicit users of

opiates coming to the attention of Commonwealth and State authorities are officially recorded statistically, and even figures relating to

these casualties do not reflect those receiving treatment privately. No figures are available to indicate the casualty rate from abuse of drugs such as cannabis p r o d u c t s , synthetics, and hallucinogens.

The New South Wales Police submission stated that an American

e x p e r t , Dr M. Baden, multiplies the numbers of users who die from the

effects of heroin and other narcotics by 100 to obtain a figure for the

numbers of addicts in New Y o r k . On a recent visit to Australia, Dr

Baden collected evidence that enabled him to suggest that at least 5000, and possibly as many as 7000, people were regularly using opiate

n a r c o t i c s .

As discussed in Part IV, Chapter 6, the Commission has estimated

that there could have been between 14 200 and 20 300 hard core heroin

addicts in Australia in 1978.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers that in the USA a truly addicted heroin user would use 0.5 g of street

heroin a day but that for various reasons this consumption would

continue for only about 70 per cent of the time. According to the New

South Wales Police estimation, addicts may use an average of 1 g of

street heroin a day. The Commission used the NSW P olice average dosage

of 1 g per day together with the DEA's assumption that heroin addicts

only use heroin 70 per cent of the time, to estimate possible levels of

importation. These are considered below.

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POSSIBLE EXTENT OF ILLEGAL IMPORTATION

This Chapter shows that it is not possible to answer the question, 'What quantities of drugs are imported into Australia illegally?'

However, in attempting to estimate the number of hard core heroin

addicts, the Commission calculated that in 1978 between 900 kg and 1300 kg of pure heroin would have been required to support the estimated

14 200 to 20 300 addicts and provide for the quantities seized by law

enforcement agencies (see Part IV, Chapter 6).

Insufficient evidence was available to the Commission to allow a

similar detailed exercise to be attempted in connection with other drugs but it is possible to suggest some orders of magnitude as broad

indications. Taking the totals for 1978 for seizures of cannabis tops, cannabis resin, and cannabis oil arrived at in the tables prepared by

the Commission---namely:

cannabis tops cannabis resin cannabis oil

5 177 486.4 g

2 429 410.3 g

97 731.2 g

and multiplying these amounts by 10 (representing a 10 per cent

detection rate) and 6.7 (representing a 15 per cent detection rate) we

obtain the following ranges:

cannabis tops 3S--52 tonnes

cannabis resin 16--24 tonnes

cannabis oil 65S--977 kg

As these calculations have been made using only Narcotics Bureau

statistics they ignore any imported drugs seized by State authorities and hence understate the true position.

The significance of these calculations is uncertain but depends

largely on the assumption of a 10 to 15 per cent detection r a t e , which

may, in fact, be much too h i g h .

This Chapter demonstrates the continuing problems encountered by the Commission in attempting to make a reasonable estimate of the extent of the drug problem in Australia. The inadequacies of the available

statistics make it impossible to come to a reasonable estimate, as

opposed to a g u e s s , concerning the extent to which drugs are illegally

imported into Australia.

A further fundamental problem associated with the statistics upon which this Chapter attempts to base its estimates of the extent of

importation is the absence of consistent and uniform methods of

reporting.

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A236

Chapter 4 Exportation of Illegal Drugs

While several witnesses, both law enforcement officers and otherwise, voiced suspicions that some drugs, particularly cannabis, were illegally exported from Australia regularly and in quantity, the Commission

received little evidence of a concrete nature to confirm these

suspicions.

Although statistics provided by the Commonwealth Department of

Health show drugs are legally exported from Australia in quantity for a

variety of purposes, such as in the case of commercial exports by the

pharmaceutical industry, no statistics concerning illegal drug

exportations are available ---a fact explained by witnesses as being due firstly to the low incidence of detection of such exports and secondly

to the low priority Australian law enforcement agencies place on

detection of this sort of activity.

Most witnesses who discussed illegal exportation of drugs ---either potential or actual ---made a clear distinction between drugs grown or manufactured in Australia and those which might be exported from

Australia in the process of trans-shipment from one country to another.

Another question discussed in some detail was that of potential

targets for any Australian exportation, particularly in terms of what

some witnesses saw as an Australian--New Zealand 'Connection', a two-way flow of drugs between the two countries facilitated by the Australia-­ New Zealand Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.

EXTENT OF ILLEGAL EXPORTATION

The attitude of the Narcotics Bureau concerning illegal exportation was expressed by Mr D . J. Mitchell, the Bureau's Southern Region

Commander, in the following terms:

The Bureau has come to accept, until the contrary is shown,

that the exportation of narcotics, whilst no doubt occurring, is a matter of minor concern, and one which does not rate

attention in its list of priorities...

(OT 2329)

...However should this (exportation) occur to any great degree, Australia would quickly gain intelligence of it through our

Overseas Liaison Section which would undoubtedly be informed. The situation has not yet occurred.

(OT 2333)

Mr M. A. Besley, Secretary of the Department of Business and

Consumer Affairs, indicated the reasons for this attitude on the first

day of Commission hearings. He said:

A237

Australia's geographical position does not lend itself to

exportation in that it is remote from the major illicit markets

of Europe and United States of America but is relatively close

to drug source countries in South-East Asia. It is therefore

more practical for the international drug trafficker to obtain his supplies at the cheaper prices available in source

countries and import them directly to the market place and so

only have to face the risk once of being detected.

In the case of the European and United Kingdom markets there

has been a tendency to effect large scale importations from

South-East Asia to countries such as the Netherlands where they are re-exported in small consignments to other countries within the region. The risks of detection after having successfully

made the first major importation are greatly reduced as the

origin of the consignment has been lost.

(OT 64)

However Mr Besley also pointed to the potential for Australia to be

used by international drug traffickers in their efforts to confuse law

enforcement agencies:

Australia has been used for the transit of illicit d r u g s ,

destined for either New Zealand or the United States of

America. The detected incidence of Australia being used for

this purpose is low. However because of its proximity to

source countries within South-East Asia it does provide

international traffickers with the opportunity to lose the

origin of the consignment.

(OT 64)

This view was also e x p r e s s e d , but in stronger t e r m s , in 'Operation

of Drug Treaties 1 9 7 6 1 , a report of the Australian Government to the

United Nations on the working of international treaties on narcotic

drugs for the calender year 1976. This report, compiled by the

Department of Business and Consumer Affairs in collaboration with

Commonwealth and State Health and Police authorities, described the

situation concerning trans-shipment as follows:

Indirect routes, particularly through Australia and Pacific Island countries, were often used by traffickers. Drugs

destined for USA via Fiji and New Caledonia were detected in

A u s t r a l i a .

(Open Exhibit 43, p 30)

Evidence from other sources quoted below also referred to

possibilities of Australia being used for trans-shipment of drugs by

Asian-based traffickers whose 't r a d i t i o n a l ' routes, particularly to the United States, were being disrupted by international law enforcement

e f f o r t s .

Most Australian Commonwealth and State law enforcement officers whom the Commission questioned about the extent of illegal exportation

A238

supported the views expressed by Bureau of Customs o f f i c e r s , although

some qualified their remarks by pointing out either that detection of

such exportation was a Commonwealth reponsibility or that they had no

firm evidence of such exportations. Several suggested that exportation generally was limited to that of drugs for the smuggler's own u s e .

Some users also supported the view that the extent of exportation

was limited. One confidential w i t n e s s , facing drug-related charges at the time of his e v i d e n c e , told the Commission of an approach made to him

in 1970 to 1 look a f t e r ’ the Australian section of a route to smuggle

heroin from Hong Kong via Australia to Los Angeles. Another witness

under sentence for illegal importation described to the Commission how he advised the Australian High Commission in Singapore about proposed

shipments of heroin through Perth to the United States in 1978. Another

user summed up the situation as he saw it in these words:

I don't see why anyone would want to send it out of the

country. They would try to get as much in as they can.

(CT)

Mr J. M. D a v i s , Commissioner of the Commonwealth Police, said that

while there was a possibility that illegally imported heroin might be

re-exported, he had no direct knowledge of it. Neither did he have any

knowledge of Australian-produced drugs being illegally exported. He

b e l i e v e d , h o w e v e r , that some illegally imported drugs which had been

detected could have been meant for trans-shipment overseas (OT 447--

4 8 B ) .

Several witnesses, as is discussed b e l o w , made reference to

detections in New South Wales involving drug exportations to New

Z e a l a n d . These detections had mainly been of relatively minor

quantities of cannabis being carried personally or being smuggled

through the mails by young Ne w Zealand nationals. Other witnesses who

referred to the actual or potential trans-shipment of illegal drugs

through Australia spoke of Sydney A irport and Sydney Harbour as main

transit points because of their being such big ports of entry and exit.

In V i c t o r i a , Detective Inspector G. D . Baker, Officer-in-Charge of the Victoria Police Drug Bureau, saw the domestic market as p a r a m o u n t .

The State Police believed illegally produced and trafficked drugs were for local consumption and very little, if any, was exported either

interstate or overseas (OT 2769A).

In Queensland, a senior Queensland State Police officer said in

confidential evidence that while it was 'highly s u s p e c t e d ' cannabis from Queensland was being exported to other States and overseas on a

substantial scale, 'no information has been received which would

substantiate this'. The officer pointed out that the State Police Drug

Squad was not geared to infiltrate overseas operations and consequently it had to rely on information supplied by I n t e r p o l .

A239

In South A u s t r a l i a , Customs officers and State Po l i c e officers

indicated that the State's isolation from main airline routes and sea

lanes p r e c l u d e d the likelihood of any large-scale export of d r u g s . Mr

H. C. B a r r i n g t o n , Officer-in-Charge of the Narcotics B u r e a u district

office in South A u s t r a l i a , said one instance of illegal e x p o r t a t i o n from the State had been c o n f i r m e d . Four members of a ship p l y i n g between

A u stralia and Ne w Zealand had been arrested by N e w Z e a l a n d authorities

in p o s s e s s i o n of small quantities of c a n n a b i s .

In W e s t e r n Australia, State police officers doubted drugs were being exported overseas from the State. One officer pointed out that although

drugs p a s s e d through the State they were believed g e n e r a l l y to be only

in transit to other States. One officer in confidential s ession said

the one case of exportation he knew of in 1977 involved a w o m a n en route

to London carrying methadone and h e r o i n . ' She was a user and carrying

it for her use,' he added.

In Tasmania, Inspector T. W. Cashion, O f f i c e r - i n - C h a r g e of the

Tasmanian Drug Bureau, considered that illegal e x p o rtation of drugs from the State in an international sense was 'highly i m p r o b a b l e ' (OT 1978).

Mr R. J. Beattie, a former Collector of Customs for Tasmania, was of a

similar view, but also pointed out that a number of v e s s e l s such as

fishing vessels operated in Tasmanian waters and there were no controls over the sailings of these vessels (OT 1160).

In the No r t h e r n Territory, Chief Inspector W. L. G o e d e g e b u u r e of the Northern Ter r i t o r y Police said there was no knowledge w i t h i n the

Territory Police of illegal exportation of drugs (OT 5666).

Australian-produced Exports

Virtually all evidence concerning possible illegal e x p o r t a t i o n of Australian-produced drugs centred on cannabis in leaf form. When

discussing the potential for illegal e x p o r t , in a C o m m i s s i o n h e a r i n g ,

Narcotics Bureau Commissioner Mr H. Bates agreed that all indications

were that v i rtually all illicit drugs in Australia other than cannabis

were imported. He poi n t e d out that with the exception of cannabis,

known illicit p r o d u c t i o n of drugs was limited to some localised

manufacture on occasions of amphetamine and an occasional LSD 'f a c t o r y ' and one instance of heroin manufacture (OT 3 3 1 - - 3 2 ) .

Mr Besley on the first day of hearings also specifically r eferred to

suggestions that Australian-grown cannabis was being exported:

Most of these suggestions have been based on theories (local

p r o d u c t i o n is greater than local needs) rather than on reliable intelligence. However as the m a jority of the department's

enforcement efforts are directed towards drug importations

there is a lack of intelligence to support or refute these

s u g g e s t i o n s .

A240

W h i l s t it can be accepted that the export of cannabis in

c o m m e r c i a l quantities from Australia to Ne w Zealand would run

lit t l e risk of detection other factors need to be considered in

a s s e s s i n g the feasibility of such a suggestion.

(OT 66)

W h e n M r H. Bates was asked about the possibility of a surplus of

A u s t r a l i a n - p r o d u c e d cannabis, he replied:

It is always a possibility, although I think one of the things

t h a t needs to be considered is that the quantity of imported

can n a b i s has not risen as significantly over the last couple of y e a r s---that is the seizures that we have m a d e--- and whether

t h a t is because we have become less efficient or whether a lot

of the market is now being supplied by locally grown cannabis

as distinct from the imported cannabis.

W e have not seen, for instance, any substantial quantities of

ca n n a b i s being exported out of South Africa over the last

c o u p l e of y e a r s , but three to four years ago we were getting

s u b s tantial quantities of cannabis from South Africa.

(OT 333)

W h e n a g a i n asked about the possibility of cannabis exportation,

du r i n g C o m m i s s i o n hearings in September 1978, Mr Bates said a meeting of heads of n a rcotics law enforcement agencies in the Pacific region which a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e from the United States had attended as an observer had

i n d i c a t e d there was no evidence from any of the countries involved to

sug g e s t t h e r e was any exportation of cannabis from Australia in

s i g n i f i c a n t quantities.

Mr Bates, Mr Besley and several other witnesses from the Department

of B u s i n e s s and Consumer Affairs agreed there had been instances of

d r u g s , p a r t i c u l a r l y ca n n a b i s , being exported from Australia to New

Z e a l a n d a n d many witnesses made reference to the difficulties in

c o n t r o l l i n g the passenger flow between the two countries because of the A u s t r a l i a - - N e w Zealand Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement. In the main,

however, these witnesses pointed out that the exportations detected had b e e n sm a l l quantities carried for personal use (OT 65, OT 332).

Some e vidence from witnesses other than those from the Department of B u s i n e s s an d Consumer Affairs indicated their belief that exportation of can n a b i s to New Zealand was perhaps more widespread than Customs

o f f i c e r s thought. Among these witnesses was a senior officer of the

Q u e e n s l a n d State Police Drug Squad who said in confidential evidence

th a t p e r s o n a l police contacts in Auckland and Wellington had told him

' a l o t ' o f cannabis came from Australia.

'Transit' Exportation

M a n y of the witnesses who spoke of Australia being used as a transit

c o u n t r y b y international drug traffickers spoke of the potential for

A2A 1

this type of activity rather than producing evidence of a substantive

nature of its actual occurrence. However some samples of detection of

this type of international trafficking were quoted.

Much of the evidence concerning the potential for 'transit' activity focussed on the p r oximity of Australia to drug-producing areas such as

the South-East Asian Golden Triangle and the known capability of

international traffickers to change and diversify trafficking routes. Apart from the evidence from Mr Besley and other Department of Business

and Consumer Affairs sources already quoted, other witnesses also saw a potential for Australia not only becoming a bigger m arket for heroin

traffickers in terms of consumption but also as 'a pipe-line' to

circumvent United States Drug Enforcement A dministration efforts to

bl o c k illegal opium and heroin shipments into the United States from

A s i a .

Witnesses who referred to the possibility of Australia being exposed to much more attention from Asian heroin traffickers following the

disruption of 't r a d i t i o n a l ' markets and routes included Dr B. A. H e x e d , Exe c u t i v e Director of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse, author and lecturer on South-East Asian Affairs Dr A. W. McCoy (OT 18542) and

A u s t r a l i a n journalist and television producer M r P. F. Burgess (OT

1 1 9 0 1 - - 0 2 ) . One of the more specific references made to the possibility

of Australia being used as a transit country for international

trafficking was that by Mr N. R. Kelly, Executive Director of the

Aus t r a l i a n Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. He s a i d :

Dr J. Densen Gerber, a world expert in drug problems warned

Australia during her talks in April (1978) that this country

had been selected by Asian illegal syndicates to become the

corridor as controls increased in other countries.

(OT 12623)

The 1971 report of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking

and Drug Abuse gave a similar warning:

...if the measures being taken to combat drug trafficking in

the United States are successful the risk to Australia is

increased by the possibility of Australia becoming a

distribution base for other markets.

(Open Exhibit 19, p .29)

Bureau of Customs evidence concerning actual seizure of drugs

apparently passing through Australia agreed that except for some

isolated cases---including one large seizure of cannabis in a freighted yacht enroute from Bangkok to the United S t a t e s---most drugs seized were destined for New Zealand. Mr H. Bates said:

We certainly have had instances of transhipment through

Australia, certainly to New Zealand on a greater number of

occasions than to countries like A m e r i c a .

(OT 334)

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In his evidence concerning illegal exportation, Mr D. J. Mitchell of the Narcotics Bureau said there had been odd incidents where it was

suspected Aus t r a l i a n ports had been used as transit for drugs bound for

the United States, such as the case of an American citizen arriving in

Australia for 'a holiday' and staying only one day before returning

h o m e . H o w e v e r , he added that 'these incidents are few and rarely

detected' (OT 2329). Mr Mitchell went on to make the point that while

Australia's being a 'jumping-off' point for smuggling into the United

States was a possibility, he believed it did not happen at p r e s e n t . He

a d d e d :

You have to go through two Customs screens to get back to

America and it would mean that you would be in double jeopardy.

The commodity would be cheaper in America than it could be sold

for h e r e . These people are only in it for money.

(OT 2330)

Another Narcotics Bureau officer in confidential session referred to one specific incident which the Bureau believed could have involved

't r a n s i t ' smuggling on an organised scale to New Zealand using couriers:

...We have confirmed that one of t h e ... couriers transitted

Australia en route to New Zealand carrying false-sided

suitcases packed with compressed 'Thai s t i c k ' c a n n a b i s . There is every reason to believe that this activity would not be

isolated. In general at the present time it would not be

economic, and would be risky to transit drug laden cargo

through Australia to other world ports. However such activity

has been identified...

Customs passenger control in Sydney are alert to this

possibility. The possibility of drug exports or transits from

Australia is i d e n t i f i e d . However existing intelligence

indicates that this is of a low o r d e r .

(CT)

METHODS OF EXPORTATION

Evidence concerning methods of illegal exportation of dr u g s---at

least evidence concerning incidents of actual detection---indicated that methods used were substantially the same as the importation methods

described in Chapter 2 of this Part of the R e p o r t . Some witnesses felt

that would-be illegal exporters might tend not to take as much care in

their activities because of the belief that illegal exportation was

easier to achieve than illegal impo r t a t i o n . One such witness was Mr D.

J. Mitchell of the Narcotics Bureau. During the course of his

explanation of reasons why it was believed little exportation occurred

he said:

There has been little detection of the exportation of drugs

from Australia and those that have be e n have shown little

concern for c o n c e a l m e n t .

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Reliance seemingly is placed upon the lack of Customs vigilance on o utgoing p a s s e n g e r s , baggage and c a r g o .

(OT 2332--33)

Known incidents of illegal exportation such as those already quoted have included personal exportation of heroin and cannabis in various

forms either on the person or in baggage and exportation of cannabis in

various forms either by mail or in c a r g o .

A senior Narcotics Bureau officer described in confidential session how a Customs Preventive Officer carrying out routine searches in Sydney in February 1976 discovered a large quantity of cannabis secreted in the flotation areas of a Tempest class yacht crated as deck cargo from

Bangkok in the M V Straat C l a r e n c e . The yacht had apparently been

consigned by a person in Bangkok to a Sydney a d d r e s s . A Customs agent

whom Narcotics Bureau officers established had no criminal connection with the importation of the yacht received instructions from a person in the United States with the same name as the consignor to ship the yacht

to a yacht club in San F r a n c i s c o . This was done after Customs officers

removed 164 kg of cannabis from the yacht and re-crated it. After

liaison b etween the Narcotics Bureau and the United States Drug

Enforcement Administration, the suspect was taken into custody in the

United States and further amounts of cannabis left aboard the yacht by

Australian officers were seized.

A Narcotics Bureau officer in New South Wales said in confidential

session he thought cannabis had been illegally exported to the United

States in refrigerated c a r g o , and the money from the exports

subsequently 'l a u n d e r e d ' by a diplomat taking the money overseas and

exchanging it for d i a m o n d s .

GENERAL

Whilst the evidence disclosed relatively little exportation of drugs from Australia, the considerations in the conclusions expressed in

Chapter 2, dealing with methods of importation, are equally applicable.

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Chapter 5 Trafficking in Illegal Drugs

The term 'trafficking' has broad connotations and is used generally to

describe the movement of drugs from producer to user. While this

Chapter deals essentially with trafficking within Australia and illegal importation of drugs has already been discussed in earlier Chapters,

some aspects of this importation are referred to here. Evidence clearly shows the two drugs most trafficked in Australia ---cannabis and

heroin ---are also the drugs most regularly imported, and that

importations of any scale or regularity would be undertaken by

individuals or groups who have made prior marketing arrangements within Australia.

The Commission was aware that much of the evidence received on this

subject needed to be treated with reservation. Drug trafficking is,

above all, an illegal activity and by its nature given to secrecy.

Evidence in the main came from two sources: law enforcement

officers and drug users and/or dealers. The law enforcement officers

relied on drug offenders and informants for much of their information.

On the other h a n d , although a large number of users and dealers gave

evidence, the Commission found the reliability of this evidence was

often questionable. Sometimes it appeared to be more imagination or

speculation than a factual account of actual events. At other times

witnesses appeared less than candid.

Evidence which could be substantiated however indicated certain

general characteristics of illegal drug distribution within Australia. These general characteristics are:

* Distribution arrangements can vary considerably, but in general the

two most common arrangements were those described by Commonwealth and State law enforcement officers as the 1 straight line'

arrangement and the 1 pyramid' arrangement.

* In a 'straight line1 arrangement the trafficker (who can also be the

importer or, in the case of cannabis, the grower) is often a user

selling direct to other use r s .

* The 1 pyramid' arrangement is much more complex and can involve many

more people. These range from individuals or small groups of

financiers, importers or growers at the apex of the pyramid, through a group of 'middle men' or 'wholesalers' to perhaps lower-level

wholesalers and then to a larger number of 'retailers' or 'street

dealers' who make the actual sales to use r s . This type of

arrangement often includes couriers used to either import the drug or to transport it within Australia. *

* In pyramid trafficking, the amount of drug involved in individual transactions decreases and the market value increases in the case of heroin dramatically ---as the drug moves down the trafficking

pyramid to the user.

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* While traffickers in straight line arrangements might generally seek a profit only sufficient to support their own drug usage,

traffickers involved in the middle and upper levels of a pyramid

arrangement se e k---and obtain---very substantial profits.

DRUGS TRAFFICKED

Heroin and Other Opiates

Commonwealth and State law enforcement officers indicated in their evidence that while very little or virtually no opium or morphine is

trafficked in Australia except within Asian ethnic communities, heroin in both Grade No. 3 and Grade No. 4 forms is imported and trafficked in

q u a n t i t y .

No. 3 heroin is a granular form of the drug. It is grey, brown,

purple or beige in colour and is commonly referred to as 'rocks'. No. 4

is a white powder in its pure form. The prevalence of either form of

heroin in Australia varies. NSW police officers in m i d - 1979 said that

at that time, 90 per cent of the heroin being trafficked in Sydney was

No. 4. Evidence received from another authoritative source shortly

after suggested the ratio of No. 3 and No. 4 heroin available in Sydney

was then one to o n e .

Cannabis

Evidence clearly showed cannabis was the drug most trafficked in

Australia in terms of volume. References were made to different

forms---the leaf form known as marihuana or Indian h e m p , cannabis resin

(hashish), and cannabis oil. Cannabis in the form of Buddha sticks was

also a variety favoured by users.

Bureau of Customs officers indicated cannabis oil had been imported in increasing quantities in recent years and New South Wales Police

evidence made the point in August 1979 that cannabis or 'hash' oil was

being trafficked in Sydney at that time in quantities never before

e x p e r i e n c e d .

No evidence was received to suggest cannabis in resin or oil form

was being p r oduced in Australia. However considerable evidence was

received concerning the trafficking of cannabis grown in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

While early evidence in Commission hearings often referred to users preferring Buddha sticks (cannabis tops) imported into Australia over similar products made in A u s t r a l i a , a senior law enforcement officer

said in confidential evidence in 1979:

Buddha sticks as explained by the drug user refer to sticks

wh i c h are made outside Australia and Grass sticks refer to the

locally made product. Until recently Buddha sticks were

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preferred over Grass sticks due to their better quality but

this is generally not the case at present if we refer to the

smaller amounts.

The easiest wa y to detect Buddha sticks from Grass sticks is

that Buddha sticks will have the Bamboo centre pin or stick

wi t h Indian Hemp attached being wrapped or entwined by a very

fine bamboo string or rope, whilst Grass sticks will have the

bamboo pin or a wooden pin and the grass will be wrapped to

that pin b y cotton or very fine nylon line such as fishing

l i n e .

C onsumer resistance is virtually negligible now when we talk

about the smaller amounts of both forms of sticks as compared

to each other as it has been found, and common knowledge within

the drug scene, that Buddha sticks can have the physical

appearance of Grass sticks and that Grass sticks can be as good

a product as any Buddha stick tried by the user on prior

o c c a s i o n s .

(CT)

Other Drugs

The b u l k of evidence received by the Commission about prices

obtained, me t h o d s used and people involved in d r u g trafficking in

Aus t r a l i a referred m a i n l y to cannabis and heroin. This evidence is

discussed in detail in the following sections of this Chapter.

Some evidence however, also referred to trafficking in other drugs, albeit in smaller amounts, generally by means of the above-mentioned

'straight line' arrangement and mainly involving users. This evidence, including indications of prices, packaging arrangements and traffickable amounts of these drugs is outlined below for convenience sake.

The Commission n o t e d that w h i l e the methods and extent of trafficking in these drugs might appear to differ at present fr o m those involving

cannabis and heroin, there was no reason to believe that those

traffickers who were ma i n l y motivated by greed would not traffic in any

drug if 'market conditions' appeared sufficiently attractive.

Other drugs which witnesses said were trafficked to at least some

degree included hallucinogens, methaqualone (Ma n d r a x ) , barbiturates, amphetamines, amyl nitrite and methadone.

Most evidence suggested that trafficking in hallucinogenic drugs was on a relatively small scale compared with heroin and cannabis. While

lysergic acid (LSD) was prevalent in the late 1960s and early 1970s,

little of this drug had been detected in recent years. Evidence

suggested the hallucinogen most commonly trafficked in recent times has b e e n 4-Bromo-2, 5-dimethoxyamphetamine (DMA) which many people believe to be, or refer to, as LSD or 'acid'. The unit t r a fficked---known as a

'tab', 'ticket' or 'Italian t i l e '---is about a quarter inch square (37

square mm) in size and sells on the illicit mar k e t for about $6 but

sometimes up to $8 each. 'Bulk' transactions involving 1000 or more

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'tabs' have been known with the prices decreasing to $2.50 or as low as

40 cents each.

Evidence indicated that m e t h a q u a l o n e , particularly in the form of

Mandrax, and barbiturates such as Seconal and Tuinal are illegally used and trafficked. The drugs are often obtained from pharmacies either by

theft or by legitimate or false prescription. Illicit buyers of the

drugs ge n e r a l l y do so only for themselves or for friends. 'S t r e e t '

prices for Ma n d r a x tablets quoted by law enforcement officers from

several States and Territories in 1979 ranged from 50 cents to $5 a 5mg

tablet, d e pending on the quantity bought. Prices of $2 to $5 per

capsule were quoted for Seconal or Tuinal, although evidence in

confidential session indicated that users of these barbiturates could pa y much higher prices if really 'hung o u t ' for the d r u g . Witnesses

suggested barbiturate users are often the most desperate of drug buyers.

Law enforcement officers from all States and Territories agreed

there has been virtually no regular or systematic trafficking in

amphetamines or cocaine. These officers said that while it is true at

present cocaine is a very fashionable drug among certain 'trendy'

sections of society, such as those who travel overseas frequently, there are no direct and continuous links with the main production areas of

South America and people importing the drug do so for their own use or

the use of friends. A NS W Police Drug Squad officer in confidential

evidence poi n t e d out that cocaine is an expensive drug in Sydney.

Prices could range from $100 to $300 for 0.5 grams and $150 to $400 per

gram, he said.

N S W Police indicated that amyl nitrite had recently appeared on the

Sydney illegal drug m a r k e t . Witnesses commented that usage of amyl

nitrite was increasing among young people in Sydney (although not

apparently in country or other N S W city areas). Illegal use of amyl

nitrite was not reported by law enforcement officers from any other

State or Territory. The d r u g , a liquid, which could be made by

pharmaceutical manufacturers for $20 to $30 a half-litre or litre

bottle, was sold in pharmacies for $5 a bottle containing one to 10

millilitres. The latter sold illicitly on the streets for up to $15 a

bottle.

Confidential evidence from drug users indicated some trafficking

also occurred in m e t h a d o n e , the synthetic narcotic dispensed to narcotic addicts. One user described a system of obtaining methadone for sale by

switching an empty bottle for the bottle containing methadone received at a clinic so as to deceive the person supervising the dispensing.

'CUTTING' and PACKAGING

While large-scale trafficking of virtually any drug is characterised by a progressive reduction in the size of the unit trafficked and a

progressive increase in the value of that unit as the drug moves through

the different levels of trafficking, the trafficking of some drugs is

also characterised by adulteration or 'c u t t i n g ' of the drug.

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The incidence of this 1 c u t t i n g ' and the form of packaging the drug

varies from drug to drug. Evidence indicated that while cannabis in its

various forms can and is 'cut' by Australian drug traffickers, this

usually occurs in circumstances where a trafficker is trying to cheat or 'rip off' a user and is not generally part of regular dealer-user

relationships. On the other hand, 'cutting' is an integral part of

heroin trafficking.

He r o i n

Most evidence concerning heroin agreed with the comments made in the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs' submission to the

Commission in D e cember 1977 which said:

The importer of quantities of heroin exceeding one kilo by

preference looks to place these consignments in lots of not

less than 500 g r a m s . Dependent on the type and scale of

importer, and often the trafficker/s with whom he has

established relationships, the drugs m a y be first adulterated at the point of importation or passed to the first level

distributor prior to this taking place. This initial 'cutting' will both increase bulk and represents the first step in the

chain of adulteration which sees heroin reduced in strength

from b etween 30%--60% for No. 3 and 70%--90% in the case of

No. 4 to, in some instances, less than 10% purity in both forms

by the time it reaches the user.

(0T 83--83A)

Heroin is 'cut' by mixing it with a substance of like a p p e a r a n c e ,

such as glucose, powdered milk, aspirin, starch, talc or, as some

witnesses testified, even cement p o w d e r .In one case brought to the

attention of the Commission, traffickers who were believed to have been importing heroin in letters for two years from Malta had used a domestic

food mixer to 'cut' the heroin after its importation.

The extent of adulteration, evidence i n d i c a t e d , can va r y widely and for many reasons, such as the purity of the drug at time of m a n u f a c t u r e ,

the type of heroin involved, the prevailing levels of supply, the

’business ethics' of traffickers a n d , some evidence suggested, the skill

of the 'c u t t e r ' .

The process can be done in one operation or, as most witnesses

assumed, progressively, with traffickers at various levels repeating the

p r o c e s s .

Although an addict will buy either No. 3 'rocks' or No. 4 powder,

mo s t addicts prefer 'rocks'. The colouration of 'rocks' gives at least

some visual indication of purity, but in the case of No. 4 the only

indication of strength (diamorphine concentration) is by consumption. No. 4 heroin brings the attendant risk of either being 'ripped off' by

being sold low purity heroin or suffering an overdose, perhaps even a

fatal one, because an unskilled or careless 'cutter' has prepared a

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dosage with an abnormally high content of d i a m o r p h i n e . Some

confidential e vidence from law enforcement officers in 1979 suggested an increasing incidence of traffickers pulverising 'rocks' into powder to increase its potential for 'cutting'.

Al t h o u g h no direct evidence of 'cutting' heroin in an organised or

regular way in Australia was received b y the Commission, most witnesses agreed with the above comments indicating Australian traffickers

routinely cut heroin. Data available on level of purity of drugs seized

by law enforcement officers supported this.

Given that No. 3 or No. 4 heroin has been seized with levels of

pu r i t y well above even the highest consumption levels of purity

m e n tioned by users, there seems little doubt that heroin is often 'cut'

at least once or twice in Australia. Evidence from law enforcement

officers included a theoretical example of a shipment of heroin being

'cut' to increase its original weight eight and one-half times.

Several users in confidential evidence referred to their despair

when in their desperation for heroin they had been cheated into

accepting heroin of very low purity compared with what they believed was an optimal pu r i t y of 40 to 50 per cent. Evidence varied widely,

however, on what was considered an acceptable level of purity and there

was considerable doubt as to whether ma n y users themselves knew what

level of purity was optimal. Other factors, such as the weight of the

individual package or 'deal' also need to be considered.

E vidence from law enforcement officers indicated that the purity of heroin, part i c u l a r l y that sold at the street level, varied considerably around Australia. For example, the first Department of Business and

Consumer Affairs submission to the Commission in November 1977 referred to Customs officers seizing heroin at various places in Australia of

only 5 pe r cent purity. N S W police officers suggested 10 per cent was

an acceptable and traffickable level of purity in the streets of Sydney. A V i ctorian Drug Bureau officer indicated that the purity of the street

heroin in that State was generally in the range of 3 to 15 per cent. A

Queensland Drug Squad officer considered the heroin in that State would be cut to 10 to 15 per cent. Northern Territory Police commented that

in 1977 street heroin was about 30 to 50 per cent pure but this had

dropped to as low as one per cent in May 1979. In September 1979,

A.C.T. Police suggested that it would average out at approximately 40 to 50 per cent pure heroin.

These estimates were substantiated by the results of analyses of the heroin seized b y law enforcement officers. In particular, evidence was received in August 1979 that although levels of p urity of those seizures of heroin which had actually be e n analysed varied from zero to 90 per

cent, the m a jority had been between zero and 30 per cent and more than

one third had been between 10 and 20 per cent pure. 'Zero per cent

pure' referred to instances where someone in a trafficking chain had

perpetrated a 'rip-off', a practice which the evidence of most users

A250

indicated was a constant hazard and the reason why most users preferred

to buy from known regular d e a l e r s .

Several users and user/dealers told of buying heroin of sufficient

purity for them to 'cut' the drug t h e m s e l v e s , either for their own use

over a period of time or to sell some to other u s e r s .

Alt h o u g h some seizures of heroin imported into Australia have been

in amounts of 10 kg and m o r e , evidence concerning trafficking at the

street level showed sales are carried out in units as small as a

fraction of a gram. The November 1977 Department of Business and

Consumer Affairs submission said that for some years heroin was most

commonly sold to users in pharmaceutical 00 size capsules but that

recently a greater use had been made of aluminium foil for p a c k a g i n g .

The submission added:

Weights as low as 0.1 grams are commonly experienced at this

level of trafficking.

(OT 83B)

Several witnesses supported the view that the introduction of the

aluminium foil sachet had dramatically decreased the quantity of heroin in street sale units. Previously 14 grams (0.5 ounce) had made up 50 to

60 gelatin c a p s u l e s , but the same quantity was often packaged in 1978

into 100 aluminium foil sachets, one witness said.

Evidence indicated that the preferred form of packaging heroin also varied from State to State. In NSW, both Customs officers and police

officers agreed that in mid-1979 gelatin capsules (either in the 00 size or the smaller 0 size capsule) were rarely detected in Sydney---most

dealers used the aluminium foil sachets. In Victoria, however, capsules were still being widely u s e d . In Queensland, both capsules and

aluminium foil sachets were frequently u s e d .

With the decrease in the use of c a p s u l e s , in at least some States,

two new t e r m s-the 'street g r a m ' and the 'half street g r a m 1-----were

introduced to describe the quantities p u r c h a s e d . Witnesses commented that some addicts referred to the intensity of their habit in terms of

these street g r a m s , for example a 'two street gram a d a y ' h a b i t .

Evidence indicated that the actual weight of these units could vary considerably. Bureau of Customs evidence referred to a half street gram containing an actual weight of between 0.2 and 0.6 grams, and a street

gr a m as having an actual weight of between 0.6 and 1.2 grams . On the

other hand, confidential evidence from the N S W Police in August 1979

defined a street gram as being 0.4 grams actual weight and a half street

gram as being 0.2 grams actual weight.

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Evidence also referred to a 'bag' as being a commonly trafficked

amount at street level. A 'bag' was generally about 14.2 grams actual

w e i g h t .

Some witnesses suggested the reduction in the size of individual

'deals' being trafficked had been a device for increasing the cost of

heroin to u s e r s . Instead of simply increasing the price of a 'deal',

traffickers had reduced the quantity of the deal---either in terms of

actual weight or, in some c a s e s , the level of p u r i t y---but had made no

corresponding reduction in price.

As well as the reasons quoted a b o v e , some users and dealers gave

other reasons for 'cu t t i n g ' and the various methods of packaging. One

u s e r , for e x a m p l e , believed there was an element of merchandising

psychology in providing a user with something more than a speck of white

powder for the considerable amount of money paid.

H o w e v e r , the predominant and over-riding reason given was a simple on e---to make as much profit as possible from each transaction, either

because of greed or the continuing need of traffickers to finance their

own habit.

Cannabis

As previously mentioned, 'c u t t i n g ' of cannabis in its various forms does occur, although most witnesses agreed that it did not occur to

anything like the same degree as wi t h heroin. Reasons given for this

lack of 'cutting' were n u m e r o u s , but included the availability of the

d r u g , the difference in the degree of dependency of users (and therefore the ability of traffickers to dictate market t e r m s ) , the greater ease

with which users could detect adulteration and the lower profit margins, at least in terms of unit cost.

Cannabis in leaf form can be adulterated in two ways: by the

introduction of a poorer quality crop or strain of cannabis (with a low

THC content) or, in the case of cannabis flowering tops, by mixing the

tops with parts of the plant with a lower THC content. In some

instances other vegetable matter, such as grass clippings or lucerne, is introduced, but examples of this cited to the Commission were generally in the context of attempts to deceive buyers.

In the case of resin, street prices quoted by State police officers

in confidential evidence indicated separate market categories had been established for 'top quality' resin coming from some countries and 'poor quality' resin coming from other countries where the resin might be

mixed with vegetable matter including herbs.

Cannabis oil can be 'cut' by the addition of treacle or alcohol such

as ethanol. Some evidence was received that seizures at point of

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importation have contained approximately 10 to 20 per cent e t h a n o l .

Confidential evidence in mid-August 1979 indicated that oil being sold at street level at that time was not being cut to any high degree. A

senior State police officer believed this could be due to an abundance

of oil being available at the time. He also said that, in general,

purchasers could usually detect adulteration.

With the exception of cannabis oil, individual quantities of

cannabis trafficked in Australia at wholesale levels are obviously much greater than in the case of heroin. While individual seizures of heroin

have been recorded up to 13.5 kg, seizures of cannabis tops and cannabis

resin have been recorded as high as 4.6 tonnes and 1.9 tonnes

respectively.

Cannabis in leaf form other than flowering tops is often sold to

users in lots ranging from 100 lb (45.4 kg) to 'deals' of about one

ounce (28 grams). One law enforcement officer quoted a case of police

overhearing negotiations for regular supply of 1000 lb (454 kg) lots.

Trafficking in cannabis tops is carried out in units of sticks---the n a m e , as explained in evidence quoted above, used to describe both

imported and A u s tralian cannabis tops. The size and weight of an

individual stick varies considerably, from as much as one gram to 9

grams. Prices quoted by law enforcement officers referred to

trafficking in lots of 10 000 or more sticks do w n to single sticks.

These prices varied from less than $3 a stick for lots of 10 000 to $12

to $20 for one stick, depending on size, quantity and general

availability.

While amounts of cannabis resin trafficked at the wholesale level

are obviously as high as multiples of 100 kg, evidence from law

enforcement officers indicated that common street trafficking amounts were in lots of five ounces (142 grams), in the case of poorer quality

resin, to lots of 28 grams and to 'deals' of one gram or m o r e , depending

on q u a l i t y . A one ounce (28 gram) block of best quality resin might be

made into 20 'deals' but an equal amount of poor quality resin might

ma k e only 10 'deals'.

Cannabis oil is generally sold at street level in units of one ounce

(28 grams) or in 'caps' (capsules) of about one g r a m . While cannabis

leaf is often packaged in plastic b a g s , cannabis oil can be contained in

sealed plastic bags (generally in larger amounts at the wholesale

level), in glass vials (generally for one ounce lots) or pharmaceutical 00 size c a p s u l e s . Evidence from law enforcement officers suggested

street transactions in 1979 could be in lots of up to 50 'caps'.

PRICES

The Commission sought evidence from all Commonwealth, State and

Territory law enforcement bodies concerning illegal drug prices,

p a r t i cularly for heroin and cannabis. It did so in an attempt to

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establish not only current prices and profit margins but also any

significant m o v ements which might have occurred in recent years.

The results of evidence given about prices in the States and

Territories are set out in Tables IV.7 and I V . 8 . headed 'Illegal Drug

Prices in Australia, 1977' and 'Illegal Drug Prices in Australia

1978/79' respectively. The 1977 tabulation is based on data in an

illicit drug price schedule submitted in evidence by the Commonwealth

Police (Open E xhibit 45) in 1977. The 1978/79 tabulation is based on

evidence received from each of the State and Territory police forces in

1978 and 1979.

The C o m mission publishes these tabulations mainly to indicate the

prices wh i c h law enforcement officers throughout Australia said were being paid b y users of heroin and cannabis---in other words, the amount

of money a user needed to buy a 'deal', irrespective of quality. It

became apparent during compilation of these prices and consideration of other evidence already outlined that any simple or conclusive comparison of prices on a regional basis or indeed from one period to another was

i m p o s s i b l e .

In some cases even the terminology used to describe the unit

trafficked varied from one source to another. In other cases varying

quality was involved. Dr M. Hall, Principal Research Officer of the

Commonwealth Police, pointed out in his evidence of February 1978 that

prices can also be influenced by availability, demand, and the quality

of individual transactions (OT 4076). Growing seasons and police

seizures are also factors, police witnesses said.

The Commission also received lists of both overseas and local prices from the Bureau of Customs in 1977 and in August 1979. The Commission

has used this information, supplemented by information from New South

Wales Police witnesses also received in August 1979 to compile the list

of wholesale and retail prices shown in Table IV.9 and headed 'Wholesale and Retail Illegal Drug Prices, 1977 and 1 9 7 9 1.

Again, the prices quoted by the two sources varied considerably in

some instances and the Commission was aware that any assumptions drawn

from them might not be a true reflection of the real situation at any

given time. Some observations, h o w e v e r , are recorded below.

Heroin

Some law enforcement officers suggested that a drought and crop

substitution programs in the 'Golden T r i a n g l e ' opium growing areas of

Burma and Thailand had caused very big price increases at the production end of the heroin distribution chain such as at Chiang Mai in Thailand

(OT 21536). This would appear to have been reflected in corresponding

increases in Bangkok and in Australia at the importing level.

A254

Table IV.8

Illegal Drug Prices in Australia 1978/79

Drug

N e w South Wales

V i c t o r i a

Q u e e n s - South

land A u s t r a l i a

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a

T a s m a n i a

N o r t h e r n

T e r r i t o r y

A u s t r a l i a n Capital T e r r itory

$ s

Heroin

1 oz. (a) 2400-3000 2300

1 gram - 130

1 cap. 60 50

Cannabis

1 lb (wholesale) (b) - -

1 lb (retail) (b) - 300

1 deal (ca. 1 oz) (a) 25-35 30

Hashish Resin

1 lb (b) - -

1 oz. (a) 200-300 100-120

1 deal

400-600

-

Buddha Sticks

imported (each) 15 15

local (each) 15 12

Hashish Oil

1 oz. (a) 350-600 350

1 cap. 30-50 -

$ $ $ $

2500-3000 _

(c) 100

(d) 140

120-140 120-150 -

30-40 40-60 60

290

400-450 350-450 400 -

35-40 30-35 30 52

1300 . _

- 100 - 400

- - 30 -

-

]e-15(e)

15-17 12

|20(e)

(c) 20

(d) 40

30-45 30 60

$ $

150 120-150

35

300-350

35 35

120 130-150

35

jl5(e) ]l2-15(e)

60 35-40

Notes:

(a) 1 ounce is approximately 28 grams. (b) 1 pound is approximately 454 grams. (c) Wholesale price.

(d) Retail price. (e) The different types were not distinguished.

A dash indicates these figures were not available.

Table IV-9

W h o l e s a l e a n d R e t a i l I l l e g a l D r u g P r i c e s , 1 9 7 7 a n d 1 979

($A)

M a r k e t U n i t ·

H e r o i n No. 3 H e r o i n No. 4

1 977 1 9 7 9 1 9 7 7 1 979

W h o l e s a l e

C h i a n g M a i 1 k g 4 5 0 1 2 0 0 1 8 0 0 - 2 0 0 0 4 0 0 0

B a n g k o k 1 k g 2 2 5 0 3 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 - 3 5 0 0 8 0 0 0

K u a l a L u m p u r 1 k g N / A 5 0 0 0 N / A 12 0 0 0

S y d n e y 1 k g 12 0 0 0 - 1 5 0 0 0 3 5 0 0 0 12 0 0 0 - 1 5 0 0 0 4 0 000

S y d n e y 28 g 1 9 0 0 - 2 2 0 0 2 4 0 0 2 0 0 0 - 3 0 0 0 3 000

R e t a i l

S y d n e y 0 . 2 g 3 4 - 4 5 60 4 0 - 6 0 60

N / A - T h e s e f i g u r e s w e r e n o t a v a i l a b l e •

($A)

U n i t ■

B u d d h a S t i c k s C a n n a b i s (Local)

1977 1 9 7 9 1 9 7 7 1 979

W h o l e s a l e

B a n g k o k 1 k g 50 5 0 - 8 0

S y d n e y 1 k g 2 0 0 0 - 3 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 - 1 8 0 0 2 0 0 - 3 0 0 6 0 0 - 7 0 0

S y d n e y

R e t a i l

1 0 0

s t i c k s

7 0 0 - 1 1 0 0 8 0 0 - 1 0 0 0

S y d n e y 1 d e a l 30 2 5 - 3 5

S y d n e y 1 s t i c k 15 15

(?A)

C a n n a b i s R e s i n C a n n a b i s O i l

1977 1 9 7 9 1 977 1 979

W h o l e s a l e

O v e r s e a s 1 k g 4 0 0 - 5 0 0 5 0 0 - 8 0 0 3 0 0 - 5 0 0 5 0 0 - 1 0 0 0

S y d n e y 1 k g 3 0 0 0 - 3 5 0 0 6 0 0 0 - 8 0 0 0 12 0 0 0 - 1 5 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 - 1 2 0 0 0

R e t a i l

S y d n e y 2 8 g 1 0 0 - 1 5 0 4 0 0 - 6 0 0 (a)

2 0 0 - 3 0 0 (b)

S y d n e y cap. 20 3 0 - 5 0

(a) G o o d q u a l i t y T u r k i s h h a s h i s h

(b) P o o r q u a l i t y h a s h i s h

A257

Some evidence suggested that prices at the individual 'street' level (0.2 grams) might have increased more than indicated. Although

information supplied by Mr G. Cook of the New South Wales Health

Commission's D i v i s i o n of Analytical Laboratories showed that the purity of seized he r o i n analysed between 1977 and 1979 had not changed

significantly, evidence concerning packaging of street deals of the drug suggested the actual size of a street deal might have been reduced.

Both Comm o n w e a l t h and State law enforcement officers and some

user/dealers said the introduction of aluminium foil sachets for

p a ckaging street 'deals' had resulted in reductions in the quantity of

the deal. The implication of this evidence was that 's t r e e t ' deals

might often have been more than 0.2 grams in 1977 or before.

No specific evidence was received to explain the apparent aberration in the low increases quoted for prices paid at the 28 gram (one ounce)

l e v e l .

Buddha Sticks

The prices quoted for cannabis tops imported as Buddha sticks

suggested a relatively stable retail market despite some increases

overseas. This might be partly explained by evidence received in 1979

that while Australian-grown cannabis had once been regarded as always

inferior to good quality foreign cannabis, Australian-grown cannabis had increased in quality and popularity and that some Australian 'Grass

s t i c k s ' were often regarded as being as good as some imported sticks.

In g e n e r a l , h o w e v e r , evidence from various State police officers

mentioned that prices for this form of cannabis vary considerably

according to quantity available (such as after a big importation), the

quality and even its physical a p p e a r a n c e . Evidence was also given that

ma n y wholesale transactions of large amounts were negotiated on an

individual basis. For any or all of these reasons it is possible the

price quoted for a 1 kg lot of Buddha sticks might not be truly

representative of market levels generally.

A u s tralian Cannabis Leaf

A n apparent stability in retail prices despite rises in wholesale

prices could also be suggested b y the 1979 prices quoted for Australian- p roduced cannabis leaf. Again, however, the bulk of evidence received

suggested prices could vary widely and frequently because of quality and availability. Availability could be influenced both by seasonal factors and law enforcement activities. Detective Inspector G. D . B a k e r ,

Officer-in-Charge of the Victorian State Police Drug Bureau said law

enforcement activities in 1977 and 1978 in Griffith, New South Wales and seizures by his own bureau appear to have affected supplies.

Some evidence suggested that as might be the case with h e r o i n ,

prices quoted for a street level 'deal' might be an understatement

b ecause of variations in the quantity of a 'deal'. A senior NSW police

officer commented in confidential session in August 1979:

A258

The deal is generally the smallest quantity of Indian hemp sold

and u sually refers to about 1 ounce in weight contained in a

plastic bag. This is not the case at present and a deal might

refer to as little as half an ounce in weight.

(CT)

Cannabis Resin

Evidence suggested cannabis resin prices at all market levels appear to have increased dramatically between 1977 and 1979. Some State police evidence suggested most of the price increase occurred during 1979.

Evidence quoted earlier in this Chapter indicates cannabis resin is imported from several countries and that the quality varies considerably according to its origin. Prices quoted suggested that this variation in quality had led to two market levels being established for retail

p r i c e s .

Cannabis Oil

Evidence suggested the only factor influencing price levels of

cannabis oil was the degree to which it had been adulterated. However

bo t h Commonwealth and State law enforcement officers told the Commission cannabis oil was being imported in increasing a m o u n t s . This e v i d e n c e ,

along with evidence indicating that cannabis oil was rarely seen in an

adulterated form in Sydney in m i d - 1979, suggests that the 1979 retail

prices quoted might in fact be at least partly due to increased levels

of purity.

Profit Margins

While the evidence discussed above is to a large degree speculative, all witnesses agreed on one fundamental point: whatever the price for

an illegal drug may be at any t i m e , the profit margins at any level are

s u b s t a n t i a l , even if one ignores the prospect of adding another profit- increasing dimension by adulteration or 'cutting'. This, witnesses

a g r e e d , was par t i c u l a r l y so in the case of h e r o i n .

A lthough evidence already quoted suggested that levels of purity

mi g h t in ma n y cases be higher than 10 per cent, Detective Inspector P.

A. G. Lawrence of the NSW Police Drug Squad used this level to

illustrate the potential for profit in the importation and trafficking

of 1 lb (454 g r a m s ) :

A person imports one pound of number 4 heroin containing a

diamorphine concentration of 85 per cent. After cutting to a

concentration of 10 per cent we obtain eight and a half pounds

of number 4 at 10 per cent diamorphine concentration.

Consumption on the street is in street grams at $120 each.

T h e r e f o r e , eight and a half pounds equals approximately three

thousand eight hundred and fifty nine gram weights (3859 grams)

A259

wh i c h also equals nine thousand, six hundred and forty-seven

and a half street grams (9647.5 street g r a m s ) .

R e m e m b e r i n g the price of $120 per street gram with a

conc e n t r a t i o n of 10 per cent (the highest of the average) the

total street value is $1 157 700.00.

(CT)

The implications of this for the Australian economy generally are

discussed in Chapter 7 of this Part of the Report dealing with the

organised basis of drug-related crime.

D I S T R IBUTION ARRANGEMENTS

The degree of p e r m a n e n c e , size and organisation of illegal drug

distribution in Australia is discussed in Chapter 7. The Commission was left in no doubt as to the existence of such a r r a n g e m e n t s . Evidence

from v i r tually all quarters supported the sentiments expressed in the

first Dep a r t m e n t of Business and Consumer Affairs' submission to the

C o m mission in Nov e m b e r 1977. The submission said:

Successful drug importation and trafficking demand a

considerable degree of organisation. The fact that it has

international implications; requires sophisticated methods of c o n c e a l m e n t ; complex chains of distribution; and involves

substantial amounts of cash; all suggest the need for

substantial organisation to cater for such activity on a

continuing basis.

Indications of the degree of organisation that drug trafficking has reached in Australia i n c l u d e :

drug availability through importation or domestic

cultivation has virtually reached all population centres within Australia

a well established market with massive profits flowing

from a controlled supply.

(OT 100A)

'P y r a m i d 1 Arrangements

As m e ntioned e a r l i e r , most witnesses distinguished between smaller 'straight l i n e ' arrangements involving relatively small quantities of drugs and small numbers of people and the large-scale 'pyramid1

arrangements involving organisation and activities such as those

described in the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs submission.

Examples of these 'p y r a m i d ' arrangements quoted to the Commission

included those involving both heroin and cannabis, and localised

arrangements covering cities or States and interstate a r r a n gements.

A260

Organisational diagram of one Melbourne heroin distribution group detected in 1978 Figure IV.l

A (Sydney, NSW)

1 r

B (Melbourne) C (Melbourne)

D (Used motor cars)

V M ' '

E F G

/N/N/NStreet level dealers Η 1 J K

ylx/NztvZNStreet level dealers

A261

A senior Victorian police officer described in detail how a Sydney--

Melbourne distribution pyramid was suspected to be operating in 1978 and submitted a diagram of the pyramid. This diagram in a Confidential

Exhibit, is reproduced as Figure I V . 1 with letters substituted for names supplied by the police officer.

The police officer explained that Ά ' , residing in Sydney, bought

heroin to Mel b o u r n e for 'B ' and 'C', two wholesalers in separate parts

of M e l b o u r n e . ' B ' then distributed it to smaller-scale wholesalers Έ ', 'F ' and 'G ' while 'C' distributed to Ή ' , '1 1 and 'J ' . These smaller-

scale wholesalers then distributed to street dealers.

Police b elieved that 'D', a used car d e a l e r , supplied cars to 'B ' to

transport heroin shipments from Sydney, either personally or by courier. While the areas supplied by ’B ' and 'C' could overlap, police believed

' B ' and 1C 1 operated inde p e n d e n t l y . Police also believed it was

possible that dealers in 'B ' pyramid could buy from dealers in 'C 1

pyramid if supplies were short.

An example of pyramid distribution of cannabis was outlined by law

students J. McKenzie and I. Robinson in their paper entitled 'The

Distribution Hierarchy of Illegal Drugs in NSW'. This paper, prepared

as part of final year university research studies was included in a

submission from the Cannabis Research Foundation of Australia. It read in part:

Prior to return (from overseas) quantities of hashish and/or

buddha sticks are carefully concealed to avoid Customs. In

this regard quantities of 50 000 buddha sticks are not

u n c o m m o n . ..

...In the initial stage knowledge of the whole deal extends to

no more than two or three persons and within a few hours of

arrival in Australia the whole 50 000 sticks are disposed of to

this select group. Distribution is then by way of a p yramid­

like pattern with increased numbers of participants and

p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y higher prices at subsequent stages.

Typically, these 50 000 buddha sticks would be resold by the

initial connections in lots of tens of thousands at a price of

$3--$4 per stick. Up until this stage finance is largely

personal or co-operative and strictly on a cash basis, with

something in the order of twenty people aware of the existence

of the shipment...

The process then proceeds with these twenty people selling by

means of orders for thousands of buddha sticks accompanied with cash sufficient to cover a purchase price of $5--$6 per stick.

These thousand lots would be usually disposed of in quantities of hundred for $7--$8 per stick, followed by disposal in lots

A262

of tens at $8 . 5 0 — $9 per stick and finally individual sticks

will be sold for $10--$12. (It is to be noted that prices vary

within the given range according to the quantities purchased

and sold at each stage.) Within one week of the shipment

landing in Australia it is fully distributed and on the

s t r e e t s .

(OT 10863--65)

Distribution Centres and Supply Routes

A great deal of e v idence---much of it speculative---was received by

the Commission from all sources concerning the s i z e , composition and

degree of centralisation of trafficking g r o u p s , particularly those

involving members of ethnic communities and people involved in criminal activities other than drug trafficking.

This evidence and certain initiatives taken b y the Commission are

discussed in detail in Chapter 7 of this P a r t . Some of the evidence

relating to these questions is outlined below.

Evidence concerning distribution centres and supply routes for drug trafficking wi t h i n Australia generally acknowledged that many elements such as source of production or point of importation were involved and

t h a t , as with many legal commercial e n t e r p r i s e s , the interplay of these elements can cause sudden and frequent fluctuations in the way drugs

reach c o n s u m e r s .

Most evidence a g r e e d , that irrespective of the drug involved, its

origins, or the trafficking arrangement involved, the 'retailers' or street d e a l e r s---the traffickers actually supplying the drugs to

u s e r s---must be located in centres of population close to users. The

first submission to the Commission from the Department of Business and

C o nsumer Affairs described the situation in these words:

Whilst the importer may favour less populated areas to effect

his importation (e.g. remote coastal areas of northern and

w estern Australia) the distributor is committed to operate from

urban areas.

(OT 83B)

As a result of this, most witnesses a g r e e d , capital cities were the

ma j o r trafficking centres in each of the States with similar but

correspondingly less activity being carried out in the large provincial

c e n t r e s .

Some witnesses also made the point that, although in large-scale and regular trafficking of the pyramid type top and middle echelon

traffickers were located in large cities, wholesale traffickers

supplying drugs regularly to street dealers or perhaps other wholesalers could operate in' more than one centre. They might import foreign-

p roduced drugs or bu y Australian-produced drugs in one centre and then

sell at least some to traffickers in other c e n t r e s . The pyramid

A263

arrangement outlined in Victorian State Police evidence quoted earlier in this Chapter exemplifies this.

Some users gave examples in confidential session of the low

incidence or non-existence of regular trafficking away from large

p o p ulation c e n t r e s , even in cases where there were user c o m m unities. A

cannabis user said although marihuana was regularly smoked in a mining

community in T a s m a n i a , regular supplies were not available within the

community except for a few plants grown by users for their own use.

Users had to travel at least 100 km to a town where marihuana could be

p u r c h a s e d . Ano t h e r confidential witness indicated that retail dealers who operated in smaller provincial centres generally travelled to the

nearest capital city for supplies. J. McKenzie and I. Robinson in their

paper 'The Distribution Hierarchy of Illegal Drugs in NSW' suggested

cannabis growers took their product to large centres of population for

distribution at least partly in the interests of keeping growing

locations secret (OT 10869).

Several witnesses expressed the opinion that Sydney was a central

link or even a 'headquarters' for much of the systematic drug

trafficking in Australia, particularly for imported drugs and especially heroin, irrespective of where the drug had entered Australia or where it was ultimately sold to a user.

In one of the Commission's first hearings, in November 1977, Mr H.

Bates, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, said:

Sydney certainly would be the major trafficking centre for

drugs in Australia. It seems that most of the major shipments

entering Australia go to Sydney for redistribution from there if they are not already imported into Sydney.

(OT 337)

Detective Inspector G. D . Baker, Officer-in-Charge of the Victoria State Police Drug Bureau, when talking about the importation of heroin

into Australia and its subsequent trafficking said:

I can only say from our e x p e r i e n c e ... the majority finally

arrives in S y d n e y . . .The people we talk to lead us to believe

their supply does come down from Sydney. Whether it comes

through Tullamarine (Melbourne Airport) and back again, I do

not know.

(OT 2768)

Detective Sergeant D. J. Craft, Officer-in-Charge of the Australian Capital Territory Police Drug Squad, explained why he considered Sydney so important in the illegal drug distribution in the following words: I

I think Sydney has the population to be capable of catering for

p r a c tically anything that can be brought in there; n u m b e r - w i s e . They have a population there that could conceal the activities

A264

of people involved in distributing drugs more easily than any

other place.

(OT 235)

O n the other hand, confidential evidence from a N e w South Wales

police officer, indicated that to consider Sydney as the 1 central link' in Australia-wide trafficking could be an over-simplification, and that trafficking arrangements were flexible and could d e p e n d , in the case of imported d r u g s , on the point of importation. After acknowledging

Sydney's pre-eminence as a drug market because of the size of its

p o p ulation and its airport and sea port, he said:

I wo u l d not say it is the headquarters of the drug scene or the

headquarters of supply because we know that we get heroin

coming up from M e l b o u r n e , we have had heroin come from Perth

and we have had heroin coming from Brisbane and of course we

have also had our fellows taking it down there. I think it is

a matter of where the supply is available to the particular

group that is selling it.

(CT)

Evidence indicated that State borders made little or no difference

in the transportation of drugs from sites of importation or production

and that in some instances, particularly that of heroin or other drugs

of small b u l k , drugs were often transported considerable distances.

Some evidence from authoritative witnesses indicated that distributions of any scale or duration p r obably involved connections in States other

than the main distribution centre.

Most witnesses who referred to transportation methods used by

traffickers agreed with Detective Inspector G. D . Baker of the Victoria State Police Drug Bureau who said the most common methods used were (OT

2764):

- personal couriers travelling by road, rail or air;

- shipment by road or air f r e i g h t ;

- concealment in compartments of motor vehicles either driven or

f r e i g h t e d .

Inspector T. W. Cashion of the Tasmanian State Police Drug Bureau

indicated that because Tasmania was an island State, transportation

methods used by traffickers bringing drugs into the State varied

somewhat from the mainland States. As well as the above methods, he

also mentioned the availability of cargo shipping and private boats or

planes. He added:

Dr u g intelligence available and general opinions suggest that the m a jority of bulk supplies are arriving either by air cargo

or by post.

A265

Intelligence reveals that at least one syndicate is engaged in transporting drugs into the State in large quantities by

p rivate a i r c r a f t .

(OT 1077--78)

Two T a smanian drug users individually told in confidential session of ma r i h u a n a entering the State from the mainland in shipping

c o n t a i n e r s .

In N e w South Wales, many witnesses besides those already quoted

expressed the belief that traffickers regularly used two-way

distribution routes between Sydney and all major population centres

throughout A u stralia as well as within New South Wales itself.

Variations of the routes quoted were virtually e n d l e s s , but in the case

of imported drugs, evidence cited several examples of importers using

international airports or seaports in Perth, Brisbane or Melbourne as an initial port of importation but with the intention of having the drug

ultimately reach Sydney. Australian-grown cannabis also entered Sydney, either for the local market or for distribution to other parts of the

State, from the major cannabis cultivation areas of Griffith (NSW),

South Australia and north Q u e e n s l a n d .

In Victoria, Detective Inspector G. D. Baker, Officer-in-Charge of the Victoria State Police Drug Bureau, said that while it would be

foolish to say no drugs from Melbourne found their way to other States,

the majority which came to Melbourne was consumed in Melbourne (OT

2769). In answer to suggestions that people in other States,

particularly South Australia and Tasmania, saw Melbourne as a

distribution source of drugs, he indicated that the Victorian police

believed that while there would be cases of two-way trafficking between, say, South Australia and Victoria, most of the drugs thought to have had

Melbourne as an initial distribution point were in fact originally

distributed from Sydney. In the case of locally grown cannabis,

Inspector Baker remarked that Victorian police had noticed that a recent shortage appeared to have coincided with enforcement activities and

p u blicity concerning cannabis plantations in the Griffith area of New

South Wales. Mr D. J. M i t c h e l l , Southern Region Commander of the

Federal Bureau of Narcotics, supported Inspector Baker's contention that drugs in the ma i n appeared to be coming from Sydney, and two users in

confidential evidence told the Commission of visits to Sydney to collect heroin for trafficking in M e l b o u r n e .

Apart from the evidence quoted already concerning a Sydney--

Melbourne heroin distribution p y r a m i d , a drug user suggested about nine major wholesale dealers in marihuana operated in Melbourne, and that

these nine pro b a b l y were financed by people above them. A former

Victoria State Police officer agreed there were a number of small

independent groups operating. He could not, h o w e v e r , estimate how many groups were i n v o l v e d .

In Queensland, drug users and officials associated with law

enforcement gave e x a m p l e s , in c o n f i d e n c e , of the wide variety of

distribution routes and origins of supply of heroin. Two users told of

A266

a trafficking group in the southern part of Brisbane importing heroin by courier from W o l longong and Melbourne, another witness spoke of a

trafficker who imported heroin directly from o v e r s e a s , and another

witness referred to the use of couriers to transport drugs from Sydney

to Brisbane. A senior State police officer, in confidential session,

referred to exchanges of information with other State police forces

concerning shipments of cannabis grown in northern Queensland being

transported by road and air from Q u e e n s l a n d . The police officer a d d e d :

Whilst successful prosecutions have been launched as the

consequence of such information, it is considered that a

substantial amount of cannabis sativa is being sent interstate without being detected.

(CT)

In South Australia, Customs officers and law enforcement officers

were in general agreement that Adelaide's relative isolation from

international airline and passenger sea routes reduced the incidence of direct importation from o v e r s e a s . Chief Inspector P. A. Collins of the

South Australian Police and Mr H. C. Barrington, a senior Narcotics

Bu r e a u a g e n t , said the m ajority of drugs came from Sydney, although some also came from Melbourne and Perth.

In its submission to the South Australian Royal Commission

subsequently taken into the evidence of this Commission in March 1978,

the South Australia Police Department made the following comments on the incidence of organised trafficking in the S t a t e :

There is a proliferation of the smaller 'pedlar' type

operations which tend to be involved in trafficking in one

variety of drug obtained from a particular source...

Less common are the family or peer group o r g a n i s a t i o n s , which

are actually responsible for the distribution of the bulk of

the cannabis in the metropolitan Adelaide. One such

organisation is believed to control distribution on one side of

A d e l a i d e .

Ak i n to this type of organisation is the extended family groups

which are common overseas among certain nationalities. At

least one such group is active currently in the cultivation and distribution of Indian h e m p .

Two large South Australian cultivations which were thought

o r i ginally not to be connected, are now believed to have been

part of an extended family organisation which has continued to

operate in South Australia and New South Wales at least.

In the past, the weakness of these family, extended family or

peer group o r g a n i s a t i o n s , has been their tendency to be too

A267

closely associated with street level distribution. This has

exposed their pedlars to police action, and in some instances

also opened the lines of intelligence communications right back to the c u l t i v a t i o n s .

An o t h e r type of organisation seems to be involved in the

d i s t r ibution of a variety of d r u g s . Considerable attention is given to isolating the various levels of operations, to reduce the risks of the Police identifying the upper echelon. This is

so effective that it is difficult to ascertain at what level of

the py r a m i d the operations merge into a single control in one

organisation, or a number of similar controls in separate

o r g a n i s a t i o n s .

The Police have identified a number of individuals who are

suspected of occupying managerial positions in these multi-tier organisations. Whether or not they occupy m iddle or executive m a n agement positions is not clear. There appears to be a

certain degree of co-operation on issues such as division of

territory, but whether this co-operation is merely an

arrangement of convenience between different operators, or is a result of subservience to an upper echelon, is yet to be

d e t e r m i n e d .

(OT 8317— 18).

Other South Australian police evidence given in confidence referred to an Adelaide connection receiving 56 grams (two ounces) of heroin,

po s s i b l y on a weekly basis, from Sydney and distributing it to lower

dealers.

In W estern A u s t r a l i a , Inspector D. T. Ayres of the West Australian

State Police said the majority of heroin consumed in the State was

imported directly from overseas. Some of the heroin imported passed

through We s t e r n Australia in transit to eastern States, he said. Mr J.

A. T r a v e r s , a Chief Investigator of the Narcotics Bureau said most

marihuana used in Western Australia came from eastern States with local traffickers obtaining supplies from Sydney and Melbourne (OT 637). A

C o m m o nwealth Police Officer cited an example in confidential session of drugs being obtained in Adelaide and transported to Perth for sale.

Evidence from Commonwealth and State law enforcement officers

indicated trafficking in Perth was limited to mostly small operations of the 'straight-line' t y p e . Heroin users obtained their supplies either by personal importation or from friends who also imported the drug

personally. Cannabis traffickers were described as 'a lot of little

p e o p l e '.

In Tasmania, evidence from both users and law enforcement officers indicated there was little international importation of drugs into the State, but that most came from mainland States, particularly Melbourne and Sydney. Inspector T. W. Cashion of the Tasmania Police Drug Bureau

summed up the situation as he saw it in the following words:

A268

From experience it would appear that generally an interstate

connection is the origin of the trafficking transaction in this State. F r o m previous investigations it seems usual for either

the interstate connection to instigate the trafficking by

advising the Tasmanian connection of the availability or the

Tasmanian offenders visiting other States soliciting the

p r o curing of the drugs concerned and returning with the drugs

for resale.

(OT 1084)

...It is estimated that about 50% of illicit drugs imported

into the State of Tasmania, produced within this State or

trafficked herein, are attributable to organised syndicates

wi t h varying degrees of involvement by those organisations.

Some involved are seeking only small m o netary gains that

supplement their own supplies and would not be described as

be i n g on an organised basis.

(OT 1092)

Inspector Cashion said the involvement of non-users in trafficking in Tasmania had been evident to any extent only from about 1974.

In the N o rthern Territory, law enforcement officers such as Chief

Inspector W. L. Goedegebuure of the Northern Territory Police Force (OT 5674) and a senior narcotics agent of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics,

agreed most drugs trafficked in the Territory appeared to have come from Sy d n e y a n d , to a lesser d e g r e e , M e l b o u r n e . Cannabis was also

transported to Darwin from northern Q u e e n s l a n d .

A N orthern T e rritory law enforcement officer said, in confidential e v i d e n c e , analysis of heroin seized in the last six months of 1977

indicated there could be two 'streams' of dealers. Several other

s e i z u r e s , however, contained different cutting agents, indicating a

number of people outside these two streams were also distributing heroin in Darwin. Sergeant B. W. Fardell of the Northern Territory Police Drug

S q u a d , commented that distribution of heroin in Darwin involved three levels of d e a l e r s---the addict receiving the heroin, who sold it to

another wholesale addict who sold it to a street dealer (OT 21542).

In the A u s t r a l i a n Capital Territory, Detective Sergeant D. J. Craft, O f f i cer-in-Charge of the A.C.T. Drug Squad, stated that although there we r e some instances of people journeying overseas and personally

importing he r o i n on an individual basis, most imported 'hard' drugs

reached Canberra from Melbourne and particularly Sydney (OT 227--3S) ,

A u s t r a l i a n - g r o w n cannabis reached the A.C.T. from areas of south western and northern NSW, from southern Q u e e n s l a n d , South Australia and northern

Victoria.

Later A.C.T. Police evidence commented to the effect that cannabis

supplies were believed to be organised both at the sources of supply and

the avenues of distribution (OT 7417).

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E vidence indicated that although there were instances of people from virtually all sections of the community being involved in drug

trafficking, the two reasons for this involvement w e r e :

People involved in trafficking

- the need to support a drug h a b i t ;

- the attraction of large profits to be made.

In the case of more sophisticated distribution the pyramid

arrangement witnesses generally concurred that while it was difficult to generalise, the incidence of traffickers using drugs decreased as one progressed up the dealer hierarchy. Users and law enforcement officers in general agreed that while street dealers almost invariably used

drugs, and some wholesalers used d r u g s , those involved in the upper

echelons of trafficking rarely used drugs themselves and often had no

identifiable drug associations. This, most witnesses felt, was

particularly true in the case of heroin.

F i n a n c i e r s , Importers and Growers

The top level of pyramid distribution arrangements was generally

defined by witnesses as consisting of financiers, importers (although not necessarily persons personally importing drug s ) , and in the case of cannabis, growers.

Witnesses agreed that the financiers were the people most likely to avoid detection. It was suggested that at this level, individuals

jealously guarded their anonymity a n d , apart from those with a general

criminal background discussed later in Chapter 7 of this Part of the

Report, they would have seemingly impeccable lifestyles. These

financiers were at pains to maintain a strictly legitimate appearance

and would usually have business activities to account for their incomes.

These witnesses explained that the financiers simply provided the required capital for either the illegal importation or production of

drugs: the actual operation was organised by a b o r r o w e r . One user

suggested the profits offered to financiers were as high as 100 or 200

per cent. This user also commented that the only risk to the

investment ---apart from the almost negligible risk of personal

detection ---was that the people actually involved in the importation, production or trafficking could be arrested and the drug confiscated or that drugs and/or money could be 'ripped off'. The user felt, h owever,

that if one or two operations were successful the financier could easily bear the loss.

Evidence quoted earlier in this Chapter and in Chapters 2 and 3

indicated that apart from those importers who personally imported drugs for their own use, importers made distribution arrangements or had the

potential to do so before the drugs reached Australia. Large-scale

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importers often used couriers to make such i m p o r t a t i o n s , and in the case of part i c u l a r l y large shipments, might obtain finance either directly from financiers or from wholesalers.

A confidential witness gave two examples of the arrangements he had

made to import heroin. In 1975 he bought 26 oz (735 grams) of heroin in

Bangkok for $2000, paid a courier $7000 commission to bring it into

Australia and then sold it to a dealer under a prior arrangement for $40

000. Expenses including air fares and the courier's commission left a

net profit of approximately $30 000. In 1976 he bought one lb (454

grams) of heroin in Penang for $2000, again used a courier to import it

into Australia, and again sold it to a contact by prior arrangement this

time for $38 000. The courier had been paid $5000 plus one ounce (28

grams) of heroin.

Apart from evidence concerning small groups of people trafficking in cannabis for their own use or that of close associates, a great deal of

the evidence concerning systematic and regular growing and trafficking of Australia n - g r o w n cannabis concerned the involvement of groups of

people of similar ethnic backgrounds. This question is dealt with in

Chapter 7, although the Commission noted that these groups were not the

on l y ones involved in large scale production and trafficking. One case

cited to the Commission, concerning the discovery of a cannabis

pla n t a t i o n in north Australia, suggested that the person who established the p l a ntation had borrowed the finance to do so from an overseas

s o u r c e .

Wholesale Dealers

The term 'wholesale dealers' was used by witnesses to describe the

middle levels of distribution pyramids. It includes those people who

m a k e 'the connection' between grower or importer and the street dealers. M a n y examples given to the Commission included persons operating in the role of entrepreneur. It was this person who knew someone who could

import or grow drugs, it was this person who could arrange finance if

required, and it was this person who had contacts with other d ealers---

either wholesalers or street de a l e r s---who could distribute the drug

quickly and without detection.

Several witnesses said that in the higher levels of wholesale

dealing, the participants limited their association with drug

traffickers to a few other wholesale dealers to lessen the risk of

detection and that like many of those in the top level of the

distribution pyramid, these upper-level wholesalers took on a mantle of respectability by being associated with legitimate business enterprises

(0T 8 4 1 8 S ) .

Many lower-level wholesalers, the evidence indicated, were people w h o had progressed from street dealing. Although such progression could result from the need to support a growing habit, it was often associated

w i t h a desire to make money (OT 8316). One trafficker who also smoked

heroin but did not classify himself as a hard core addict explained how,

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after being involved in 'the drug scene' for some time, he had moved

from retail to wholesale trafficking. He said:

...if you've got half a brain in your head you start to realise

that you're doing it incorrectly and instead of making contact wi t h a hundred people and earning 3 bucks off each of that

hundred, what you ought to do is to make contact with one

p e r s o n and earn 300 off him. So you gradually learn to move up

(CT)

Street Dealers

Evidence suggested street dealers tended to obtain their wares from several s o u r c e s---wholesale d e a l e r s , other user/dealers or perhaps

occasional importers or small producers. They sold to a small circle of

acquaintances and to occasional clients recommended by a trusted

a s s o c i a t e .

Motives quoted to the Commission for trafficking in drugs in general at street level included such reasons as gaining favour or popularity in pe e r groups or, as in the case of marihuana, the desire to promote a

par t i c u l a r phi l o s o p h y about the use of a drug. The Commission noted

that in v i rtually all cases where users sold d r u g s , they did so out of

need to have an assured money supply to support their own drug usage.

Some law enforcement officers and user/dealers, made a distinction b etween heroin street dealers and at least some of those low-level

dealers wh o trafficked only in cannabis, particularly in leaf form.

While both heroin and cannabis street dealers sought to maintain their

usage, the heroin user's need of money was much more desperate than that

of the cannabis user.

V i r tually all witnesses agreed in principle with Chief Inspector W. L. Goedegebuure of the Northern Territory Police who said in evidence in Ma r c h 1978:

It has come to the knowledge of investigators of the Northern

Ter r i t o r y Police that a person who is addicted to heroin may

need as mu c h as $100 per day to maintain such addiction. There

is no lawful way in which a heroin addict can earn such sums of

money and one of the most prevalent ways of doing so is to sell

drugs of most types.

(OT 5669)

Heroin user/dealers who told of their personal experiences in

dealing to support their addiction included one who estimated his habit as costing $500 to $1000 a week.

Witnesses who talked of cannabis user/dealers, suggested that while wholesalers were generally motivated by greed in much the same way as

heroin wholesalers, some cannabis street dealers were interested in

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trafficking only in cannabis and considered it a social drug. Although

they considered cannabis a part of their lifestyle they did not consider it p a r t icularly harmful or that its use should be illegal.

These witnesses agreed in essence with the explanation offered by

one cannabis user who said in confidential session:

To me there are two basic sources of supply. There are the

people who just enjoy smoking a bit of pot, who bring it in and

distribute it to friends more or less at c o s t , and there are

people who a r e , you would say, dealing in it for profit, and

they often deal in narcotics and stuff as w e l l .

(CT)

One witness who obviously considered himself in the first category

presented this p icture of his dealing activities:

We deal in quantities of marihuana up to several pounds and up

to half a pound of hashish. The motivation for dealing arises

from some other members of m y household who would like it to

pa y for their living expenses (food, rent, etc.). I can afford

to pa y for my rent and food with ease but the others are

students or work part-time so such dealing is a valuable

contribution to their income. Also I have the capital to buy

the quantities of cannabis we sell.

One fringe benefit of our dealing is that as long as we are

dealing our supply of free high quality cannabis is a s s u r e d .

The grass or hash is bought from a dealer with cash though

sometimes we get credit. R ecently grass has cost up to $380 a

pound, hash is something like $160 an o u n c e . These are

considered high, almost exorbitant prices. Bought in these

quantities it is approximately 30 per cent cheaper than the

street price.

We package the cannabis in street amounts (marihuana---1 ounce

$30, hashish 3 — 5 grams $20 or $25) and deliver much of what we

s e l l .

Selling involves being visited by or visiting friends who have

expressed an interest in what we have g o t . Normally the

m e r c handise is sampled in a joint or bong (water pipe) to

determine not so much whether to buy as rather how much to buy.

The whole process takes place in a l o w - k e y , friendly, n o n ­

commercial atmosphere.

We never sell what we do not or would not use and we only deal

to f r i e n d s . As a result we only sell good quality cannabis and

if our 'contacts cannot get any our dealing stops until they

can. This mode of distribution is fairly typical for the

ma j o r i t y of regular cannabis users who have been smoking for

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some time. People who have 'settled down' and regularised

their use seldom buy from total strangers, most commonly close friends are the source.

F u r t h e r m o r e , the roles of personal buyer and dealer can often

be r e v e r s e d . I ma y sell an ounce to some friends at one time

and bu y an ounce from those same friends at a different time if

m y contacts have dried up and theirs are still open.

(CT)

Alt h o u g h evidence concerning middle-level and top-level traffickers showed it would be extremely misleading to generalise about any

p a r ticular segment of society and its relationship to drug trafficking evidence concerning drug usage gave some indication of the types of

people most likely to take part in street trafficking.

Patterns and extent of drug usage are discussed elsewhere in this

Report, but it is worth noting in the present context that of 139

witnesses whose case history of drug usage was examined by the

Commission, 5 5---almost 40 per cent--- admitted selling drugs to support their u s a g e .

Evidence from all sources agreed it was easy for wholesalers to

recruit d e a l e r s . Several witnesses pointed out that, while street

dealers were the most vulnerable of t r a f f i c k e r s , they were also the most dependable. If street dealers were apprehended other street dealers

could q uickly be found to take their place.

Other People Involved in Trafficking

Apart from the evidence concerning ethnic groups and criminals which is discussed in Chapter 7 other evidence presented to the Commission

referred to some people w h o , because of their occupations or group

associations, were close to or could actually be involved in regular

drug trafficking, either as wholesalers or retailers.

People mentioned by witnesses in this context included some involved in e n t e r t a i n m e n t ; members of motorcycle g a n g s ; people involved in

p r o s t itution and massage p a r l o u r s ; people associated with some

homosexual groups and even law enforcement officers.

Allegations made by users or dealers concerning actual trafficking by law enforcement officers included instances where these witnesses

alleged law enforcement officers had not reported the full amount of

drugs seized, a p p arently in order to keep some of the drugs seized and

sell them t h e m s e l v e s .

Schoolchildren

A l though evidence included many examples of young people being

involved in the use and/or selling of drugs and some young users told of

selling drugs to fellow students, these activities appeared to fall into three categories of descending order of incidence---school l eavers,

either employed or unemployed; tertiary students, either part-time or full-time; and to a much lesser extent high school students.

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Some people who could be classified as regular drug traffickers or

users told the Commission of having heard about attempts by other

dealers to sell drugs among high school students, and a Melbourne

teacher in confidential session cited a case where fourth form students had 'stood o v e r 1 younger children to buy, for $5 each, matchboxes of

marihuana supplied b y an older young man.

On the whole the Commission received little evidence of actual

trafficking being carried out by school children particularly within

school precincts. A university student who had used various drugs

including heroin said in confidential session that although high school students could obtain d r u g s , p a r t i cularly cannabis, the high purchase price of most drugs precluded regular and systematic trafficking in

s c h o o l s .

M ETHODS AND PLACES OF TRAFFICKING

Evidence clearly established that the methods and places used in

w h olesale trafficking are virtually limitless. Because they are linked to a source of supply or point of importation, wholesalers seek to vary

their methods of operation in the interests of secrecy. A few examples

of wholesale trafficking operations are quoted here to illustrate these m e t h o d s .

Methods of Trafficking

Personal experiences quoted by heroin users and dealers are too

numerous to be set o u t . A Melbourne man told of how he had set up a

connection. The Melbourne man, who commented that he was 'a hopeless

j u n k i e ' at the time, said a wholesaler who was living in Sydney had come

to his Melbourne flat and offered him some good quality heroin. The

two had gone to Sydney and stayed overnight at the Hilton Hotel. The

w h o lesaler had an amount of heroin which the Melbourne man estimated to

be between 8 and 16 ounces (227 to 454 grams) packed in one-ounce bags

and hidden in a car which the wholesaler had garaged in the hotel's car

park. The Melbourne man bought two one-ounce bags for $1500 each. He

paid $1000 in cash and promised to pa y the remaining $2000 within two

days. He returned to Melbourne, kept 5 grams for his own use and added

glucose to the remaining heroin to make a total of about 60 grams. He

then divided the heroin into 10 gram lots which he sold within 17 h o u r s .

He made another seven buying trips to Sydney in the next nine d a y s . The

Melbourne ma n explained that the Sydney man was buying heroin in 1 lb

lots while he was buying ounce lots and selling in 10 gram lots to two

me n for $1000 per lot.

A N o r t h e r n Territory example of cannabis trafficking had points of

s i m i l a r i t i e s .

(Two Katherine wholesale dealers) would meet Darwin dealers at (a) flat (in Katherine), obtain the money from them for the

required amount, $350 per p o u n d , then leave the flat, either in

a vehicle borrowed from the Darwin dealers or some other

person, leaving the Darwin dealers at the flat. (The

wholesalers) would then go, ostensibly, to the plantation or a

p i c k up point in the v icinity of the plantation where the

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cannabis would be collected from the plantation o w n e r , payment for w h i c h was from the Darwin dealers' money, at the same time

k e e p i n g their share for handling the deal. It was later

asc e r t a i n e d that their share was $150 per pound thus the

p l a n t a t i o n owner being paid $200 per p o u n d . (The wholesalers) w o u l d then return to Katherine, leaving the cannabis just

outside of the town, and inform the Darwin dealers where to

collect it on their way back to Darwin.

(CT)

A Q u e e n s l a n d dealer 1 A' progressed from being a small cannabis buyer on credit to a dealer in substantial amounts before his arrest. The

dealer, 'A' , started dealing in cannabis in January 1975 b y buying 101b (4.5kg) of cannabis from 'M' who gave him credit. Ά ' made a profit of

b etween $10 and $15 a lb. By April 1975 1 A 1 had sold between 40 and

501b of m a rihuana supplied by 'M '. 'A ' also bought marihuana from two

growers near Nimbin, New South Wales from January 1975. He was paying

$250 a lb and ma k i n g a profit of about $50 a lb. Although he supplied

the growers wi t h some seeds, 'A' never saw the crops. By April 1 A 1 had

amassed a few thousand dollars. He also was able to buy the marihuana

from the N i m b i n farmers at the reduced price of $200 a lb. Between June

and August 1A' sold to three men from Sydney, 'X', Ύ ' and ’ Z ' . These

m e n would come to Queensland every fortnight and collect either 51b or

101b of m a r ihuana from Ά ' and then take it back to Sydney. Ά 1 would

charge them b etween $250 and $260 a lb. In August 'X' and 'Y' moved to

Queensland and from then until December bought 101b, 151b or 201b lots

from Ά ' ev e r y 10 days. 1 A' told police after his arrest the largest

single transaction he had made was a 201b lot for $6000. He also had

made several sales of between $3000 and $4000.

Other evidence indicating the degree of sophistication of some of

the larger wholesalers, and particularly their efforts to maintain

security included:

- the m ovement of drugs within Australia by mail or airfreight to

avoid p hysical association with the drugs during transportation;

- the use of couriers for personal transportation (such as in the case

of heroin);

- the use of coded messages and two-way portable radio communications

to p rotect the security of drug tran s a c t i o n s ;

- the use of radios to monitor law enforcement radio conversations;

- the use of bank safety deposit boxes and post office boxes for the

holding and transfer of d r u g s ;and

- the p e n e t r a t i o n on occasion of confidential law enforcement

i n f o r m a t i o n .

M r D. J. Mitchell, Southern Region Commander of the Narcotics Bureau p ointed out that there was no common or generally used method of

delivering drugs, but he listed the following examples of some methods

used in w h olesale and retail trafficking.

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A. An order is placed wi t h a trafficker, usually by telephone. The

amount ordered is transferred from a store to a pick-up point. The

buyer arrives at a m eeting point, pays the purchase price and is

told where his consignment is h i d d e n .

B. The buyer arrives at the s e l l e r ’s place of business and pays money

for drugs wh i c h are recovered by the seller from a hiding place on

the buyer's arrival.

C. The buyer orders by telephone and is told to go to a meeting place

at a certain time where he is met by the buyer with the requested

amount of drug wh i c h the seller in the interim has got from a store.

D . An arrangement similar to (C) but with the seller having a partner

who makes the actual transaction so the seller is not personally

i n v o l v e d .

E. Drugs are left in a store, such as an empty flat, which certain

trusted buyers know a b o u t . The buyers can draw on the store as they

wish on credit and records are kept of purchases. The buyers are

often people who sell to users, and payment is made wh e n these sales

have been t r a n s a c t e d . The keeper of the store does not handle the

d r u g s .

F . The seller simply delivers at an agreed time and place upon receipt

of a telephoned o r d e r .

Other methods of delivery quoted by witnesses included the use of

cars, either b y transferring drugs from one car to another or by

completing an exchange of drugs and cash in a moving car.

Places

Evidence concerning places where drugs were retailed again

demonstrated traffickers' awareness of the need to avoid establishing regular patterns of behaviour and thereby increasing chances of

detection. However the places most commonly m entioned by witnesses in

relation to 'street dealing' were those frequented by young p e o p l e .

These included hotels, b a r s , and places of entertainment such as disco

dance e s t a b l i s h m e n t s .

Some users also mentioned drugs being available at rehabilitation

clinics and referral centres and apparently being trafficked by either patients or v i s i t o r s---but not, according to most witnesses, by staff.

Witnesses said that clinics such as those dispensing methadone were

m eeting places for a large number of users and some dealers considered

them a good place to find contacts and clients. Some witnesses also

suggested drugs were sold at certain youth community centres.

TRAFFICKING AS A BUSINESS

Evidence clearly showed that as the incidence of illicit drug usage

in Australia has i n c r e a s e d , the general nature of drug trafficking has

c h a n g e d . Several law enforcement officers gave evidence to the effect

that while drug trafficking could once have been regarded as being

confined to small groups of people importing, growing or trafficking for their own use or that of friends, the situation had changed by the mid-

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1970s to one where 'the drug s c e n e 1 involved substantial numbers of

people and provided opportunities for immense tax-free profits. In

short, drug trafficking, at least in heroin and cannabis, had become

'big business 1 .

Considerable evidence was received concerning these 'business'

aspects of drug trafficking. Apart from the evidence already quoted on

'cutting', 'dealing' and prices, these aspects included:

- the a s s o ciation between heroin and cannabis trafficking;

- market manipulations;

- dealers actively 'pushing' drugs to recruit new customers;

- the amounts of cash handled by dealers;

- the increasing security measures taken by dealers, particularly at

the wholesale level;and

- the increasing incidence of violence.

Ass o c i a t i o n b etween Heroin and Cannabis Trafficking

Evidence already outlined indicated some traffickers who dealt only in cannabis did not regard themselves as drug traffickers because they

did not consider cannabis as particularly harmful.

Other traffickers also tended to specialise in one drug, but for

different reasons. Their specialisation might be because of their

knowledge of a particular supply source. It might be because they

considered that heroin was easier to conceal and offered more profits. It might be that they believed cannabis was a safer commodity because

law enforcement efforts concentrated more upon heroin and that penalties imposed for trafficking in cannabis could be less than for heroin.

Evidence concerning street dealers suggested that many of these

dealers, par t i c u l a r l y those who participated in regular trafficking, knew how to obtain drugs other than those in which they might be

trafficking at a particular time.

Evidence also indicated that there was a tendency for some low-level dealers to graduate from dealing in cannabis to dealing in heroin.

Several reasons were given by witnesses for this progression. They

included the ease of concealment of heroin and the corresponding

reduction in the risk of detection. Increased unit profit was also an

attraction.

Detective Sergeant D. J. Craft, Officer-in-Charge of the A.C.T.

Police Drug Squad, offered the following explanation:

...the individual who traffics in 'hard' drugs usually

commenced his activities as a dealer in cannabis, merely

prog r e s s i n g from one drug to another. This progression usually occurs after the supplier has been introduced to hard drugs

himself and becomes dependent. The cycle then repeats itself

when he in turn is impelled by his new dependence to make

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c o n t a c t s ... in order to guarantee his own supply as a user and,

inevitably, as a supplier.

(OT 228)

Detective Inspector G. D. Baker of the Victoria State Police Drug

Bureau commented that once a dealer had sold marihuana he would be

sufficiently familiar with the general drug situation to have a few

contacts and this would enable him to switch to another d r u g , such as

heroin (OT 2762).

The evidence showed that those wholesalers m o t ivated simply by greed would traffic in any drug if they judged market conditions to be

c o n d u c i v e . No conclusion can be made on the extent to which such

multiple who l e s a l e drug trafficking occurs.

Some indication of the incidence of multiple drug trafficking at

street level could be deduced from the evidence about drug users

referred to earlier in this chapter. The Commission noted that of the

55 users who had trafficked in drugs at some time, 16 had trafficked in

heroin only and 16 had trafficked only in cannabis. The remaining 2 3---

more than 40 per c e n t---had trafficked in various d r u g s . In at least

some instances those who trafficked in heroin had graduated from

cannabis to heroin u s e .

Artificial Cannabis 'Droughts'

Some evidence, particularly from users, suggested a marketing

relationship bet w e e n cannabis and heroin. However this evidence was

inconclusive. Several users alleged wholesale traffickers organised 'droughts' to induce marihuana users to switch to heroin and that it was

not unusual for heroin prices to be reduced during a cannabis 'd r o u g h t ' .

L a w enforcement officers for the most part believed that although such

shortages occurred from time to time they were not contrived by

traffickers but were due rather to interruptions in dealers' supplies

because of seasonal factors either in Australia or overseas or to law

enforcement efforts in the case of big s e i z u r e s .

Referring to possible market manipulations Mr R . J. Phillips,

E astern Region Commander of the Narcotics Bureau, said:

I have yet to see it in e v i d e n c e . I find that for the most

part any per s o n who is holding drugs is holding something which

m a y cause him a heavy gaol s e n t e n c e . It represents money and

the combination of both normally leads a person to get rid of

it as soon as possible in exchange for m o n e y .

I don't think we have reached the stage in this country where

that sort of manipulation is likely to happen except perhaps in

a local situation of which I am not aware.

(OT 9772C)

Detective Inspector G. D. Baker of the Victoria Police Drug Bureau

c o m m e n t e d :

...I do not go along with it (the artifical drought theory) for

two reasons, I do not know of any artificial drought that has

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been forced on the community in relation to Indian H e m p , and

also do not believe the type of person who smokes and abuses

Indian Hemp would necessarily be the type of person who would

switch to heroin simply because there is a shortage of Indian

H e m p . I think you are talking about two different a r e a s .

(OT 2765)

Other State police representatives gave similar e v i d e n c e , in several instances s u g gesting the cannabis market was supplied by so many

different s o u r c e s---variously described as 'amateurs' or 'small

p e o p l e '---that it would be virtually impossible to organise a market

manipulation.

The C o m m i s s i o n is not persuaded that the market is manipulated by

the deliberate creation of cannabis droughts.

'Pushing' Drugs to Potential Customers

Evidence from law enforcement officers and users and/or dealers

suggested that wholesalers motivated simply by greed did not care who

ultimately used their wares. So long as they could be sold and, if the

opportunity pr e s e n t e d itself, sold in increasing quantities, the

trafficker was content. This evidence suggested that some street

dealers were also interested in increasing 'business'. The heroin

dealer wants to ensure continuing finance for his or her own h a b i t .

Evidence suggests that many heroin traffickers with a hard core

addiction seek to increase business by any means possible so as to

ensure bigger profits with which to finance their own addiction. On the

other hand, some evidence indicates some cannabis users could see the

distribution of this drug as furthering a lifestyle philosophy.

Most users whom the Commission questioned about attempts to induce non-users to b u y drugs rejected the proposition. Some rejected it

protesting a moral or ethical view point and some for simply pragmatic

r e a s o n s .

A user who had trafficked in various drugs including heroin and

cannabis and was serving a gaol sentence for drug offences in New South

Wales stated in a confidential submission:

I w i s h to establish quite clearly that regardless of common

ass u m p t i o n regarding d e a l e r s , I for one certainly at no time,

forced or by any direct act influenced any one who had never

used m a r ihuana or for that matter any drug, into experimenting with, or acquiring the same.

(CT)

A Melbourne her o i n user referring to his experiences as a dealer

s a i d :

It's not hard to find people to sell drugs to. First, you must

u n d erstand that it's a big misconception that drug traffickers go out and procure people to take dr u g s---giving out drugs

w ithout charge to get them drawn into the scene. This

a b s olutely does not go on at all. When I was dealing, I had

people knocking on m y door day and night asking for d r u g s . You

don't have to talk anybody into using d r u g s . No dealer has

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enough to give any away for f r e e . Drugs are expensive and the

people wh o want it are prepared to pay.

(CT)

The Commission has no doubt that 'pushing' drugs does occur. The

principal limitation on 'pushing' is law enforcement activity. There

may be some dealers who refrain from 'pushing' for moral reasons.

Amounts of Cash Handled By Dealers

The evidence p r o v e d , as might be ex p e c t e d , that trafficking

involved exchanges of cash and that, as the scale of trafficking

increased so did the amounts of cash involved. The first Department of

Business and Consumer Affairs submission to the Commission in November 1977 referred to the significant increase in the incidence of large sums of money involved in trafficking and later evidence from other sources

supported this view. Examples of individual sums seized quoted by both

C o m m o nwealth and State law enforcement officers included amounts of

$28 000, $96 000, $280 000 (seized by Commonwealth law enforcement

o f f i c e r s ) , and sums of $5000, $11 530 and $23 000 seized by State law

enforcement officers. Detective Inspector G. D . Baker of the Victoria

State Police Drug Bureau commented that cash seizures associated with

drug offences in 1978 included one of more than $300 000.

S e curity Measures and Violence

Evidence clearly showed that as the scale of trafficking increased

so did the trafficker's need for increased security m e a s u r e s . These

security measures provided protection not only from law enforcement

efforts bu t also from other traffickers and criminals who might attempt a ' r i p - o f f either by cheating in a d e a l , extortion or simply b y theft.

The basic security precaution taken by most wholesalers was to avoid contact wi t h the drugs being bought and sold. This was discussed

earlier in this Chapter. Further examples given in evidence of how

large-scale traffickers attempted to preserve their anonymity included one cannabis wholesaler who changed his place of residence every three

months (0T 10869).

Other security measures taken by top echelon traffickers included attempts to corrupt law enforcement officers and enticements to low-

level associates to ensure their loyalty. Such enticements included

guarantees of bail if caught and briefings for couriers by lawyers on

wh a t to say if a p p r e h e n d e d .

The most serious aspect of the evidence concerning traffickers'

security measures was that given by law enforcement officers regarding the increasing incidence of violence associated wi t h trafficking. This aspect is discussed in Chapter 7 of this Part of the Report. Some

indication of the reasons for the concern expressed by law enforcement

officers is reflected in the evidence concerning drug-related murders given by the N S W Police Department in 1978 to the NS W Royal Commission

into Drug Trafficking (Open Exhibit No 622) and in August 1979 to this

Commission.

A281

This evidence listed the number of murders in N S W associated with

drug trafficking (as distinct from others which might have been

committed by people under the influence of drugs) as:

2 in 1976

4 in 1977

8 b etween April 1978 and August 1979.

A senior N S W police officer commented that no murders committed

between Ja n u a r y and April 1978 were known to be associated with drug

trafficking. He added, however, that of the murders committed in 1979,

one was associated with another two murders in Victoria.

EX T E N T OF TRAFFICKING

Lack of factual, substantiated evidence was very apparent when the Commission considered the question of the extent of drug trafficking in A u s t r a l i a .

Law enforcement officers and other witnesses from all States and

Territories with the exception of Tasmania (OT 1081) acknowledged that drug trafficking was increasing each year and was posing very real

problems for law enforcement b o d i e s . But no witness presented what

could be regarded as reliable estimates as to the extent of the problem,

part i c u l a r l y in a national sense.

A l though it was not possible to reach any firm conclusions about

either the extent of community involvement in drug trafficking or the

amount of drugs trafficked, the Commission attempted to use some of the

evidence it received to gain some insight into the matter, albeit with

mu c h the same reservations expressed elsewhere in this Report concerning the extent of illegal drug use and importation. The relationship

b etween the three is obvious.

Community Involvement

Statistics on the number of persons charged and the number of

charges preferred which related to drug trafficking in the years 1974 to 1977 were pre s e n t e d in evidence from the Commonwealth Police. Some of

these statistics are reproduced in Table I V . 1 0 . headed 'Age and Sex of

Offenders Charged with T r a f f i c k i n g ', and Table IV.ll 'Trafficking

Charges by Specific Drug Types'. (Unfortunately preliminary statistics for 1978 proved to have so many inaccuracies they could not be

considered reliable).

Statistics on the age and sex of drug offenders and other evidence

presented to the Commission showed that the majority of people charged

with trafficking were males between 18 and 30 years old. However

trafficking offenders came from most age groups in the community and

ranged from those under 17 years to those over 50 years. Not

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Table IV. 10

Age and Sex of Offenders Charged with Trafficking (1974 to 1977)

MALE

Age 1974 1975 1976 1977

Under 17 21 22 37 41

17 and 18 66 89 103 99

19 and 20 96 145 153 182

21 46 61 74 84

Over 21 152 306 372 497

Total 381 623 739 903

FEMALE

Age 1974 1975 1976 1977

Under 17 2 2 4 4

17 and 18 6 11 13 22

19 and 20 10 14 12 35

21 2 7 12 11

Over 21 16 22 39 46

Total 36 56 80 118

Total (All Offenders)

417 679 819 1021

(Source: Commonwealth Police Statistical Surveys - 'Drug Abuse in Australia'.)

A283

T r a f f i c k i n g C h a r g e s b y S p e c i f i c D r u g T y p e s ( 1 9 7 4 t o 19 7 7 )

Table IV. 11

T y p e o f D r u g 1 9 7 4 1 9 7 5 1 9 7 6 1 9 7 7

C a n n a b i s

P l a n t s - 11 17 35

S e e d s - 7 9 10

M a r i h u a n a 3 3 1 6 0 6 5 6 9 6 9 6

H a s h i s h ( C a n n a b i s R e s i n ) 7 48 8 9 63

C a n n a b i n o l 3 11 27 8

L i q u i d H a s h ( C a n n a b i s

O i l )

1 3 4 5

B u d d h a S t i c k s - - 51 61

T o t a l ( C a n n a b i s ) 3 4 2 6 8 6 7 6 6 8 7 8

H e r o i n 4 0 1 0 1 1 7 6 2 5 7

C o c a i n e 2 2 8 9

O p i u m - 2 5 3

M o r p h i n e 7 18 2 12

M e t h a d o n e 33 9 16 10

M a n d r a x 6 17 48 8 0

L S D 27 54 4 6 23

O t h e r s 4 0 27 69 6 0

T o t a l (All d r u g s ) 4 9 7 9 1 6 1 1 3 6 1 3 3 2

( S o u r c e : C o m m o n w e a l t h P o l i c e S t a t i s t i c a l S u r v e y s - ' D r u g A b u s e in A u s t r a l i a '.)

A284

surprisingly this pat t e r n was also evident among drug offenders in

g e n e r a l .

When considering the number of charges involving specific drug types it needs to be remembered that more than one charge could be laid

against the same offender. Thus, the 1977 statistics show that although 1021 people were charged wi t h trafficking o f f e n c e s , the number of

charges preferred totalled 1332.

Comparison w i t h other statistics concerning drug charges which are dealt with in the Chapters concerning illegal drug importation and use showed that in the case of cannabis and h e r o i n---the two drugs most

tra f f i c k e d---there was a higher p r o p ortion of trafficking offences in

relation to heroin than in relation to c a n n a b i s . In 1977, 11 per cent

of offences concerning heroin involved trafficking compared with only 5 p e r cent in the case of cannabis o f f e n c e s .

This appeared to confirm evidence from law enforcement officers and user/dealers suggesting heroin users were more likely to become

traffickers than cannabis users. Typical of this evidence was that of

Chief Inspector, W. L. Goedegebuure of the Northern Territory Police

who, after p ointing out the impossibility of a hard core heroin addict

supporting his habit lawfully, said:

This m e a n s , therefore, that associated with the escalating

heroin p roblem there is also a growing number of persons who

are p r epared to traffic in d r u g s . Whilst ever there are

persons who illegally use d r u g s , illegal trafficking in drugs

will continue and increase as users out of desperation for

money turn into drug pedlars.

(OT 5669)

In considering all of the above statistics the Commission noted that caution was needed in drawing any conclusions about the relationship

between the extent of detected trafficking and the actual extent of

trafficking. For many reasons those people detected as drug traffickers m a y not be representative of drug traffickers as a whole, either in

general terms or in relation to particular d r u g s . Some Commonwealth and State law enforcement officers, for e x a m p l e , told the Commission that

their activities had been directed increasingly towards illegal

activities involving so-called 'hard' drugs, such as heroin.

A nother factor which needs to be taken into consideration is one

already discussed in this Part and again in Chapter 7, The Organised

Basis of Drug-related Crime i. e .---large-scale traffickers go to extreme lengths to disguise their activities. Such traffickers could often be

people wi t h ho apparent connection with illegal d r u g s .

Q u antity of Drugs Trafficked

The Commission also searched for possible indications of the

quantity of drugs being trafficked in Australia. Again it became

A285

apparent that little of the evidence p r e s e n t e d , or indeed sought by the

Commission, could be used with confidence.

The Com m i s s i o n made broad calculations based on statistics supplied by the Comm o n w e a l t h Police and Bureau of Customs concerning drug

seizures. These calculations---and their limitations--- are discussed in Part IV, Cha p t e r 3 (Extent of Importation of Illegal D r u g s ) ; Chapter 6

(Term of Ref e r e n c e C: the Extent of Illegal Use of D r u g s , Illegal

D i v ersion of Drugs and Misuse of Drugs so far as is relevant to the

Illegal Use of D r u g s ) ; and in Chapter 7 (The Organised Basis of Drug-

related C r i m e ) .

In essence these calculations, which the Commission regards as no

more than br o a d indications, suggest the following amounts of heroin and cannabis could have entered the illegal drug market in Australia in

1978:

heroin

cannabis tops

cannabis resin

cannabis oil

900 kg to 1300 kg

35 to 52 tonnes

16 to 24 tonnes

655 to 977 kg.

But, as has already been discussed in Chapter 3, the significance of

these calculations is uncertain. In the case of heroin they assume

enough of the drug was supplied to support an estimated 14 200 to 20 300

u s e r s . In the case of cannabis they are based on assumption oi a

detection rate of 10 to 15 per cent which may, in fact, be much too

high.

The Commission has considered the amount of drugs of dependence

other than those dealt with above which are trafficked in Australia.

The evidence shows that, although the trafficked amount of these drugs

might be considerable, not a great deal is diverted to illegal use in

any one transaction. This makes it impossible in the Commission's view

to p ublish any estimates of the extent of trafficking in these drugs.

A286

Chapter 6 Term of Reference 6C’ The Extent of

(i) Illegal Use of Drugs

(ii) Illegal Diversion of Drugs

(iii) Misuse of Drugs so far as is Relevant to the Illegal Use of Drugs

It is very difficult to deal with this term of reference under the

three headings provided without encountering considerable overlap. Nevertheless the Chapter will be divided into three sections following the three questions asked by the term of reference.

EXTENT OF ILLEGAL USE OF DRUGS

This section is concerned with the extent of illegal use in the

Australian community as a who l e ---the extent of use in population sub­

groups (e.g. the sexes, different age groups and different socio­

economic groups) is discussed in Part III, Illegal Use of Drugs.

Also for the purposes of this section, 'illegal use' is defined as

the use of any illegal drugs (e.g. cannabis, heroin) plus the use of any

legal drugs illegally obtained (e.g. from chemist robberies, forged

prescriptions, prescriptions obtained by false pretences). Thus, a

person who admits to abusing a legal drug lawfully obtained is not

considered an illegal user in this section. Abuse of legal drugs,

legally obtained, is discussed under Part III, Legal Use of Drugs.

The Commission did not receive sufficient information to enable it

to accurately estimate the extent of the illegal use of drugs in the

Australian community. The evidence presented was often localised, of

doubtful quality, or simply represented educated opinions. In many

cases, summation of information on the one topic from different sources was not possible because of different methods of preparation; in cases

of localised estimates, no accurate method of extrapolation could be

f o u n d .

As discussed in Part III this lack of accurate information is, in

part, related to the illegality of the activity. Individuals involved

are at pains to hide their illegal drug use in an attempt to avoid

apprehension. The major indicators of illegal drug usage are

necessarily limited to measures of the users who either come to the

attention of law enforcement agencies or to that of people involved in

the treatment of drug users, or who admit to their activities when

surveyed.

This section therefore considers what these indicators reveal on

the illegal use of the following drugs:

A287

* drugs in general

* cannabis

* narcotics

* hallucinogens

* cocaine

* barbiturates

* amphetamines

* metha q u a l o n e .

In order to do this the Commission considered those surveys

presented in evidence, information arising from offence statistics kept by police and opinions of persons with some expertise on the subject.

In addition, the Commission considered several other more

generalised indicators of illegal drug use. These areas included:

* drug seizure statistics

* methadone treatment programs

* drug overdose admissions to hospitals

* drug-related deaths

* incidence of serum hepatitis B

Drugs in General

The information on the extent of drug use available from surveys was summarised by Mrs J. M. Nolan, Acting Senior Executive Officer of the

Drugs of Dependence Section of the Commonwealth Department of Health. She quoted from the Estimates Committee C Report to the S e n a t e , November 1978, which stated:

There has been little research conducted in Australia on the

incidence of drug use and on measuring the impact of drug

education programs on the level of drug abuse. The department

has collated the findings of drug use surveys but has been

unable to draw reliable conclusions because of the sparsity of survey work and the lack of comparable data in the work that

has been done.

(OT 20402)

Only one of the surveys considered by the Commission attempted to

identify the proportion of people in a general population sample who had used illegal drugs.

A288

This survey, the Gallup Poll (Australian Public Opinion Polls.

McNair An d e r s o n Associates Pty. L t d . ) (Open Exhibit 680), surveyed 2,053 people during Ma r c h 1978. This survey found that the percentage of

people who admitted to having tried 'marihuana or any of the hard drugs

like heroin, hashish or cannabis' was 11 per c e n t . This result should,

h o w e v e r , be used wi t h caution. In particular, the lack of complete

information on the sampling methodology, the use of emotive words such

as 'hard drugs' and inclusion of cannabis in the term 'hard drugs'

detracts from the reliability of the r e s u l t . It would also seem

confusing to require the respondent to classify marihuana separately

from c a n n a b i s .

A nother m easure of Australians who have illegally used drugs is the

statistics for offenders charged by police o f f i c e r s . The Australian

figures for persons charged with unlawful p o s session or unlawful

use/administration for each of the calendar years 1974— 1978 are given

in Table IV.12-

Table I V . 1 2 : National Totals for Offenders Charged wi t h Possession or Use/Administration of Narcotics, Cannabis or Psychotropic S u b s t a n c e s .

Offence 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978

Unlawful Possession 4296 7194 8880 10 264 6833

Unlawful Use/ Administration 2355 4253 5082 5 507 1652

Note: Some individuals could have been charged with an offence in each

category.

(Source: Commonwealth Police Statistical S urveys---'Drug Abuse in

A u s t r a l i a ').

The figures in Table I V . 12 could be slightly inflated due to

recidivism. But, as these statistics underestimate the total number of people who have illegally used drugs, this problem is of little

consequence for our purpose h e r e . A lthough the figures in Table I V . 12

show a marked increase for each year to 1977, such increases need not

n e c e ssarily reflect similar increases in the number of illegal users in the community. Increased police activity, increased police expertise and changing drug policies of the police forces could also be

responsible. In view of the figures released for the years 1974 to

1977, the 1978 figure may be s u s p e c t .

A number of professional witnesses were of the opinion that illegal

drug use in the community was on the increase. For example, Mr R. J .

Kidney, Director of the Offenders Aid and Rehabilitation Services of

South Australia Inc. stated in evidence in March 1978 that his

organisation ha'd come into contact with more users of drugs compared

with two years ago. He further stated:

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Fo r instance, in our post release houses it seems that

a pproximately 25% of present residents have had some experience wi t h drugs. Some of these would be current problems while

others have only experimented and p assed through those stages.

(OT 6813)

One witness from South Australia believed that drug use was not

increasing among young people. Mr M. Kau, the Director of Services to

Yo u t h Council Inc. in Adelaide explained in March 1978:

We have been monitoring drug related problems very closely at

least for the past five years and probably not so intensely for

the previous 15 to that. We get upset about reports in the

press about the drug problem increasing. No w if the drug

pr o b l e m is increasing then we would expect that this increase

would be reflected in our case r e c o r d s , and yet I have

g r a p h s .. .which demonstrate that at no time over the past 18

months has the percent of drug related problems of all of our

cases exceeded 13%, and in fact it varies from 2% to 13%.

(OT 6956--S7)

Evidence suggested that the extent of illegal use in Tasmania was

not as high as in the other States of Australia. Dr T. H. G. Dick, the

T a smanian Government Director of Forensic Psychiatry, explained:

I think that we're half way (in our cities here) between an

urban and a rural type of population and the utilisation of

drugs tends to follow a proportional pattern to concentrations of population, as you would expect. Therefore in the urban

areas drugs are more prolifically used than in rural o n e s .

Here in Tasmania overall we are a rural population

p reponderantly and so our drug problem is not presently nearly as serious as it is in other areas of the Commonwealth. It is

a fairly small but fairly steadily increasing problem as I see

it.

(OT 4199)

Cannabis

Five of the surveys examined by the Commission have attempted to

identify the pro p o r t i o n of people in general population samples who have used m a r i h u a n a . The results of these surveys are summarised in Table

I V . 13.

'Drug Use in Adelaide 1978' is a most informative survey. Aspects

of the m e t h odology and sampling of the other surveys limit the

reliability and application of the results. Bearing in mind these

limitations, the data from these s t u d i e s , suggests that between 12 and

15 per cent of persons over the age of 14 years have used m a r i h u a n a ,

while about 5 per cent of the same group could be regarded as current

users. All studies supported the idea of much heavier contact with the

drug in the yo u n g e r age groups especially those aged between 18 and 30

y e a r s .

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Table IV.13 C o m p a r i s o n of M a r i h u a n a S u r v e y s b a s e d o n G e n e r a l P o p u l a t i o n S a m p l e s

S u r v e y

Y e a r

C a r r i e d

O u t

A r e a

C o v e r e d

No. of

P e o p l e

S u r v e y e d

A g e

H a d

E v e r

U s e d %

C u r r e n t

U s e r s %

M a n l y S t u d y

b y A. G e o r g e

1971 M a n l y ,

N . S . W .

6 3 9 14-65 9 4

M o r g a n G a l l u p

P o l l (b)

1977 A u s t r a l i a 2 207 14 &

o v e r

12 -

D r u g U s e in

A d e l a i d e 1 978

(a)

1978 A d e l a i d e 2 9 2 8 13-60 15 6

' A g e ' O p i n i o n

P o l l (c)

1 978 V i c t o r i a 1702 18 &

o v e r

17 5

A . N . U . C a n ­ b e r r a P o p u l a ­

t i o n S u r v e y

(d), (e)

1978 C a n b e r r a 178 15-39 30 5

N o t e :

(a) T h i s s u r v e y w a s c a r r i e d o u t f o r t h e S o u t h A u s t r a l i a n R o y a l C o m m i s s i o n i n t o

t h e N o n - M e d i c a l U s e of D r ugs.

(b) T h i s s u r v e y d i d n o t e x a m i n e c u r r e n t use.

(c) A l t h o u g h 5 0 0 0 i n d i v i d u a l s w e r e s e n t a q u e s t i o n n a i r e , o n l y 1702 (34%)

r e s p o n d e d .

(d) T h i s f i g u r e is c o n s i d e r a b l y l a r g e r t h a n t h e o t h e r e s t i m a t e s . T h i s is p a r t i ­

a l l y d u e to t h e y o u n g e r a g e g r o u p q u e s t i o n e d . See P a r t I I I f o r a d i s c u s s i o n

of m a r i h u a n a u s e b y v a r i o u s a g e grou p s .

(e) T h i s s u r v e y d i d n o t q u e s t i o n c u r r e n t u se; it d i d a s k if m a r i h u a n a h a d b e e n

u s e d i n the w e e k a n d a l s o t h e m o n t h p r i o r to the s u r v e y . T h e s a m e n u m b e r of

r e s p o n d e n t s (5%) h a d u s e d t h e d r u g in t h e p a s t w e e k a n d i n t h e p a s t m o n t h .

( S o u r c e s : O p e n E x h i b i t s 182, 672, 680, 680, 37 r e s p e c t i v e l y . )

A291

Law enforcement officers throughout Australia were almost all of the opinion that the use of cannabis was both widespread and increasing.

Their evidence suggested the stronger derivatives of th e cannabis p l a n t , namely cannabis resin and cannabis o i l , were not as p o p u l a r as the leaf

form. F u r t h e r m o r e , cannabis use was not restricted to those people in

their late teens and early twenties. It had permeated through the whole

strata of A u s t r a l i a n society. Commander R. J. Phillips of the Narcotics Bureau considered that the growing popularity of cannabis with older

people would ensure future growth in the abuse of this drug (OT 9779).

Several witnesses estimated the number of cannabis users in their

areas of involvement. Unfortunately, the Commission di d not receive an estimate for each State. Witnesses who did give estimates included:

* Mr A. W. Parsons, Director of the Cannabis R e search Foundation. He

said the cannabis market in Australia had catered for some 2 million Australians and supplied 400 000 regular users (OT 2466).

* Dr C. Sprague, Leadership Training Co-ordinator from the self-help

r ehabilitation organisation GROW. She stated:

In Australia it has been estimated that 500 000 people have

used or are using Cannabis (NSW Health C o m mission 1977). This

represents about 4 per cent of the population, and, compared

w i t h certain other c o u n t r i e s , a very low figure.

(0T 11325)

* Dr M. S. Y. Dalton, Director of Addiction Services and Mr D . W.

Duncan, a social worker, both from the Westmead Co m m u n i t y Centre for Alcohol and Drug Addicts, New South Wales. They stated in evidence

also given to the South Australian Royal Commission into the N o n ­

Medical Use of Drugs that the number of regular users of marihuana

aged from 15 to 50 years in South Australia in Ma y 1977 'would be

around 25 000' (OT 10675). This estimate represents 4 per cent of

the South Australian population aged between 15 and 50 at the time

of their evidence. (From the Australian Bureau of Statistics).

* A s sistant Commissioner Calder of the South A u s t ralian Police. He

considered in August 1977 that there would be at least 10 000

cannabis users in South Aus t r a l i a---a much lower estimate than that of Dr Da l t o n and Mr Duncan. This estimate was also given in

evidence to the South Australian Royal Commission into the N o n ­

Medical Us e of Drugs. 10 000 users represents 1.5 p e r cent of the

South A u s t r a l i a n population aged from 15 to 50 (OT 8389).

Mr J. A. Travers, a Chief Investigator of the Narcotics Bureau. He

estimated, in his evidence to this Commission in November 1977 that between 5 and 10 per cent of the population of Western Australia had

used cannabis (OT 635). This estimate would indicate that between

60 000 and 120 000 people had used cannabis in that State.

- Inspector T. W. Cashion of the Tasmanian Police Dr u g Bureau. He

estimated in December 1977 that between 2500 and 3000 people were

involved in illegal drug use and that the majority of these persons

used cannabis (OT 1087). He said that this figure excluded one

A292

time experimenters and very infrequent users. This e s t i m a t e ,

again based on Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, represents between 0.8 and 1.0 per cent of the Tasmanian p o p ulation aged 15 and

o v e r .

.Table I V . 14 shows the number of charges (not individual off e n d e r s ) of possession or use/administration involving cannabis for Australia from 1974 to 1978. As one offender can be charged with more than one

offence (either at the same time or at various times in the same y e a r ) ,

these figures over-estimate the number of individuals c h a r g e d . The

figures still, however, substantially underestimate the total number of users, since only a small percentage of users come to the attention of

law enforcement o f f i c e r s .

Narcotics

Although heroin is the major narcotic drug illegally used, other

narcotics involved include m e t h a d o n e , morphine, dextromoramide (Palfium) and pethidine. Cocaine, for the purposes of this section, is not

included as a narcotic but is discussed under the heading 'Other Drugs'.

Only two of the general population surveys mentioned above covered

the use of narcotics. The size of these responses was so small,

h o w e v e r , that the figures are of little value other than to indicate

that in both s u r v e y s , very few narcotic users responded.

Table IV . 14

Charges of Pos s e s s i o n or Use/Administration involving Cannabis

Drug Type 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978

Plants 204 533 737 1148 1815

Seeds 103 943 1101 1176 1186

Marihuana 5610 9351 9886 11 798 7328

Hashish 136 420 1084 562 276

Cannabinol 16 55 106 78 94

Hashish Liquid 20 25 58 71 232

Buddha Sticks -(a) -(a) 550 730 921

Total . 6089 11 327 13 522 15 563 11 852

N o t e :

(a) Not given. ,

(Source: Commonwealth Police Statistical Surveys - 'Drug Abuse in A u s t r a l i a '.)

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Various professional workers involved in drug circles supplied

estimates to the Commission on the number of illegal users of narcotics

in general and the number of heroin users in particular. Their

estimates are summarised in Tables I V . 15 and I V . 16. Although witnesses spoke in terms of 'users' and 'hard core addicts', no witness attempted

to define these t e r m s . Some estimates of users may include infrequent

users or experimenters, others may have been restricted to regular

u s e r s . Similarly, the definition of a hard core addict may have

differed from one estimate to another. Accordingly, the figures from

different witnesses are not directly comparable.

Dr G. Milner based his estimate shown in Table IV.15 on the

assumption that about 15 per cent of regular narcotic users presented

for treatment in Victoria in any one y e a r . Using this assumption,

Victoria would have approximately 5000 regular narcotic u s e r s . Dr

Milner did not consider this figure as over-representing the situation (Open E xhibit 168).

A nother method of estimating the number of illegal narcotic users

w a s devised by Dr M. Baden, Deputy Medical Examiner of N e w York City

(Open Exhibit 622). Dr Baden multiplied the number of users who die

from n a r cotics by 100. This method gives only an approximate measure,

but w h e n applied in the data given later in this chapter (see Table

IV.2 2 ) gives the following estimates of the number of users in 1977:

. 4200 in Ne w South Wales,

. 700 in Q u e e n s l a n d ,

. 1100 in Western Australia and

. 400 in the Northern Territory.

Again, no indication of what the term 'user' e n c o m p a s s e s , was given. W i t h the exception of New South Wales, these estimates are generally

lower than the estimates of users discussed in Tables I V . 15 and I V . 16

but are of a similar magnitude. The New South Wales f i g u r e , h o w e v e r ,

falls far short of the previous user estimate and is even somewhat lower

than the estimates of hard core addicts appearing in these tables (i.e. 7000--10 000).

The Commission also attempted to estimate the possible number of

'hard c o r e ' heroin addicts in A u s t r a l i a . 'Hard c o r e ' was the term most

frequently used by witnesses to denote true addiction. Using seizure

data together with other evidence which included data on mean dosage

rates and purity, the Commission estimated that in 1978 there may have

been between 14 200 and 20 300 hard core heroin addicts in A u s t r a l i a .

The Com m i s s i o n noted that both the South Australian Royal Commission into the N o n - Medical Use of Drugs and the Ne w South Wales Royal

Commission into Drug Trafficking used the 'Indicator Dilution M e t h o d ' in their attempts to estimate the number of heroin addicts in their

respective States. Unfortunately, suitable data necessary for these

calculations on a national basis was not available.

A294

Professional Estimates of the Number of Illegal Users of Narcotics

N o . o f h a r d

c o r e a d d i c t s

D r M . S . Y . D a l t o n a n d M r D . W . D u n c a n o f W e s t m e a d C o m m u n i t y A u s t r a l i a 24.. 4 . 1 9 7 8

C e n t r e f o r A l c o h o l a n d D r u g A d d i c t s . ( O T 1 0 7 1 2 )

N e w S o u t h

W a l e s

24.. 4 . 1 9 7 8

A c o n f i d e n t i a l w i t n e s s f r o m t h e N S W D r u g a n d A l c o h o l

A u t h o r i t y .

N e w S o u t h

W a l e s

25. 5 . 1 9 7 8

D r G. M i l n e r , I n s p e c t o r a n d D i r e c t o r o f A l c o h o l i c s a n d

D r u g D e p e n d e n t P e r s o n s S e r v i c e s B r a n c h , V i c t o r i a n D e p a r t ­

m e n t o f H e a l t h . ( O p e n E x h i b i t 1 68)

V i c t o r i a 23. 1 . 1 9 7 8

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a n R o y a l C o m m i s s i o n i n t o t h e N o n - M e d i c a l U s e

o f D r u g s , f i n a l r e p o r t . ( O p e n E x h i b i t 5 86)

S o u t h

A u s t r a l i a

A p r i l 1 9 7 9

S u p e r i n t e n d e n t M c A u l a y o f t h e S o u t h A u s t r a l i a n P o l i c e .

( O T 8 4 1 8 C ) (b)

A d e l a i d e 25. 8 . 1 9 7 7

M r J . A . T r a v e r s , C h i e f I n v e s t i g a t o r , N a r c o t i c s B u r e a u ,

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a . ( O T 6 3 4 )

W e s t e r n

A u s t r a l i a

30. 1 1 . 1 9 7 7

I n s p e c t o r T . W . C a s h i o n o f t h e T a s m a n i a n D r u g B u r e a u .

(OT 1 0 8 7 )

T a s m a n i a 13. 1 2 . 1 9 7 7

5 0 0 0 0

2 3 0 0 0

7 0 0 0 - 1 0 0 0 0 ( a )

5 0 0 0

5 0 0 ­

1 5 0 0

4 0 0

2000

6 0 ­

100

S i s t e r P . M . M o r i a r t y , C o - o r d i n a t o r o f A . C . T . D r u g R e f e r r a l A . C . T . 3. 9 . 1 9 7 9

a n d I n f o r m a t i o n C e n t r e . ( O T 2 3 6 5 0 )

4 7 5

(a) T h e s e f i g u r e s w e r e t h e f i n d i n g s o f t h e N e w S o u t h W a l e s J o i n t P a r l i a m e n t a r y C o m m i t t e e o n D r u g s , q u o t e d b y t h i s w i t n e s s .

(b) T h i s e v i d e n c e w a s a l s o g i v e n t o t h e S o u t h A u s t r a l i a n R o y a l C o m m i s s i o n i n t o t h e N o n - M e d i c a l U s e o f D r u g s .

Professional Estimates of the Number of Heroin Users

W i t n e s s

S u b j e c t o f D a t e E s t i m a t e

E s t i m a t e G i v e n

N o . o f

Users

N o . o f h a r d

c o r e a d d i c t s

A c o n f i d e n t i a l w i t n e s s f r o m a d r u g d e p e n d e n c e c l i n i c ,

Q u e e n s l a n d .

A s o c i a l w o r k e r f r o m B e n d i g o , i n c o n f i d e n c e .

M r J . L . D a v i s , S e n i o r P h a r m a c i s t w i t h t h e S o u t h A u s t r a l i a n

H e a l t h C o m m i s s i o n . ( O T 8 1 4 3 ) (a)

D r B. T a y l o r , M e d i c a l O f f i c e r , A l c o h o l a n d D r u g D e p e n d ­

e n c e S e c t i o n , H i l l c r e s t H o s p i t a l , S o u t h A u s t r a l i a .

( O T 8 1 1 9 ) (a)

D r G . I . T e w f i k , P s y c h i a t r i s t . ( O T 9 6 5 - 6 6 )

D r G . H . G u r d , D i r e c t o r o f H e a l t h , N . T . D i v i s i o n , C o m m o n ­

w e a l t h D e p a r t m e n t o f H e a l t h . ( O T 5 8 7 5 ) (b)

M s K . H . C r i d l a n d , P s y c h o l o g i s t a t D a r w i n H o s p i t a l .

( O T 6 0 8 6 - 8 7 )

B r i s b a n e

B e n d i g o ,

V i c t o r i a

S o u t h

A u s t r a l i a

S o u t h

A u s t r a l i a

W e s t e r n

A u s t r a l i a

D a r w i n

D a r w i n

2 8 . 2 . 1 9 7 8

8. 6 . 1 9 7 8

2 4 . 8 . 1 9 7 7

2 4 . 8 . 1 9 7 7

5 . 1 2 . 1 9 7 7

8. 3 . 1 9 7 8

9. 3 . 1 9 7 8

A c o n f i d e n t i a l w i t n e s s f r o m t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h D e p a r t m e n t A . C . T . 2 1 . 1 2 . 1 9 7 7

o f H e a l t h .

1200

2 0 0 2 0 - 3 0

1000

6 0 0

1 0 0 0 t o

2000

5 0 0 t o 1 0 0 - 1 5 0

1000

4 0 i n w e t

s e a s o n

3 0 0 i n d r y

s e a s o n

3 - 4

(a) A l s o g i v e n a s e v i d e n c e t o t h e S o u t h A u s t r a l i a n R o y a l C o m m i s s i o n i n t o t h e N o n - M e d i c a l U s e o f D r u g s .

(b) T h i s e s t i m a t e w a s a c t u a l l y t a k e n f r o m a p a p e r b y M r T . I . P a u l i n g , a N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y S t i p e n d i a r y M a g i s t r a t e .

Opinions expressed by law enforcement officers at both open and

confidential sessions of the Commission indicated quite clearly that the abuse of heroin was increasing rapidly in most States although its use

was still small wh e n compared to cannabis.

Table I V .17 shows the number of charges of possession or

use/administration involving narcotics in Australia for each of the five years 1974 to 1978. These statistics relate to charges and not the

individuals charged; accordingly, while they are an inflated estimate of the number of narcotic users charged by police officers, these

figures still underestimate the total number of illegal narcotic u s e r s .

Once again, the figures shown in Table I V . 17 should be interpreted

with caution. The offences need not necessarily relate to people who

only use that type of d r u g ; multiple drug use is no doubt involved in a

significant number of cases. In addition, an increase in the number of

offences from one year to another need not necessarily indicate an

increase in the number of users or the extent of illegal u s e . In some

cases these figures result from increased police activity against

abusers using a particular d r u g .

Other Drugs

Only two of the general population surveys mentioned previously

covered the illegal use of drugs other than the narcotics or c a n n a b i s ,

and these surveys restricted their investigations to the hallucinogens. Again, as wi t h the surveys on narcotic u s e , the results are too small to

be of any real use and only indicate that in both s u r v e y s , ve r y few

h a l l u cinogen users r e s p o n d e d .

Table IV.17

Charges of Possession or Use/Administration involving Narcotic Drugs

Drug 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978

Heroin 247 774 1592 1866 2510

Methadone 43 38 118 112 79

(Physeptone)

Morphine 199 130 66 65 64

Opium 43 29 23 36 18

Dextromoramide 41 52 63 104 16

(Palfium)

Pethidine 55 49 42 49 85

Others 17 25 12 20 42

Total 645 1097 1916 2252 2814

(Source: Commonwealth Police Statistical Surveys - 'Drug Abuse in Australia1).

A297

A nu m b e r of professional witnesses commented on the extent of

illegal use of drugs other than the narcotics or c a n n a b i s . These

comments are summarised below.

Ev i d e n c e from law enforcement officers throughout Australia

indicated that the current use of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was

either almost non-existent or, at the very w o r s t , quite small.

Dr M. S. Y. Dalton, Director of Addiction Services and Mr D. W.

Duncan a social worker, both from the Westmead Community Centre for

Alcohol and Drug Addicts in Ne w South Wales, estimated the extent of

illegal usage of hallucinogens in the following terms:

H a l l u c i n o g e n i c s---Basically nowadays extracts from mushrooms etc. with occasional minor epidemics of LSD (locally

manufactured) a b u s e . We estimate the number of constant users in Australia of being around 10 000 with around 6000 of these

resident in NSW with a proportionately higher representation in n orthern N S W and Queensland due to favourable climate.

(OT 10712)

Law enforcement officers generally considered that although cocaine use in Australia was quite rare in 1979 its abuse could soon rise quite

rapidly. A retired member of the Victorian Police Drug Squad, pointed

out in confidential evidence that arrests made in 1977 included three

traffickers in cocaine. These were the first arrests for offences

involving cocaine for 35 years in Victoria. Several witnesses referred to the recent increase in the use of cocaine in overseas countries such

as the United States and Canada (particularly in the higher socio­

economic groups) and predicted that this trend could soon reach

A u s t r a l i a .

New South Wales police officers commented in late 1978 that much of

the cocaine offered for sale in their State had been f o u n d , upon

analysis, to actually be lignocaine, Novacain or p r o c a i n e---all of which are synthetic substitutes for cocaine (Open Exhibit 622).

Evidence from law enforcement officers and health officials

suggested that the illegal use of amphetamines may now be of only minor

significance. They considered that in the late 1960s, the diversion and illegal use of amphetamine drugs was quite fashionable but these drugs

had not been readily available since about 1972.

Law enforcement officers considered that the illegal use of

m e t h a q u a l o n e , in particular Mandrax, had increased significantly over the last five years. As one informed witness told the Commission, 'The

abuse of this drug is reaching alarming proportions'. It was said that

this increased abuse was due in part to heroin users regularly turning

to Mandrax when narcotics were in short supply.

A298

Table IV.18

Charges of Possession or Use/Administration involving Drugs other than Narcotics or Cannabis

Drug 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978

LSD 166 258 227 114 -

Other Hallucinogens 46 128 123 103 108

Cocaine 34 74 86 80 49

Mandrax 59 201 298 499 143

Other Hypno-sedatives (incl. Barbiturates) 19 46 41 109 213

Amphetamines 49 43 68 100 92

Tranquillisers 19 28 40 47 104

Antidepressants - 1 4 3 5

Other Drugs 187 11 26 60 62

Total 579 790 913 1115 776

(Source: Commonwealth Police Statistical Surveys - 'Drug Abuse in Australia1).

A299

Table I V . 18 shows the number of charges of possession or

use/administration involving drugs other than narcotics or cannabis for each of the five years 1974 to 1978. Again these figures relate to

charges and not the number of individuals c h a r g e d .

As with the previous police statistics regarding o f f e n c e s , these

figures shown in Table I V . 18 overstate the number of offenders charged, but underestimate the number of illegal users. In addition, caution

should be exercised when attempting to draw conclusions from these

f i g u r e s . A n increase in the number of charges relating to a particular

drug could well be due to increased police activity rather than an

increase in illegal use.

Seizures of Drugs by Law E n f o rcement Officers

As stated earlier in this chapter, one might expect that seizures of

drugs by law enforcement officers would provide an indication of drug

use. The data presented to the Commission, however, proved to be

hopelessly inaccurate and vir t u a l l y impossible to use for any

constructive p u r p o s e .

At the time of the Commission's h e a r i n g s , the Australian Crime

Intelligence Centre of the Commonwealth Police was responsible for the compilation and analysis of data on drug seizures by all law enforcement organisations in Australia. The results of each year's compilation and analysis are p r esented in the Commonwealth Police publication entitled

'Drug Abuse in A u s t r a l i a '.

While the 1978 edition of 'Drug Abuse in A u s t r a l i a ' had yet to be

published at the time of writing this Report, selected data had been

released to the international police organisation I n t e r p o l , the United Nations and this Commission. These figures form the basis for Table

I V . 19.

Following consideration of the d a t a---which included comparison of the 1978 data with the data for previous y e a r s---the Commission raised

several queries with the then Commonwealth Police regarding the accuracy of the data on a number of d r u g s . Some of the released data appeared to

be either obviously incorrect or represented a dramatic change in

seizure trends and, t h e r e f o r e , p o ssibly even drug use trends within the community. Several significant corrections were then made to the

released data by Commonwealth Police. Details of these corrections are as follows:

the original figure for the weight of cocaine seized was 14 208.183

g m s . After being queried by the Commission, this figure fell to

93.966 gms, a decrease of over 99 per c e n t .

the original figure for the number of dose units of LSD seized was

94 484. The revised figure was only 5935, a drop of almost 94 per

c e n t .

A300

A u s t r a l i a n D r u g S e i z u r e R e p o r t f o r 1 9 7 8

(Values in parentheses are numbers of seizures)

W e i g h t P l a n t s

C o c a i n e 9 3 . 9 6 6 (12)

C o d e i n e - 1 2 2 9 . 0 0 0 (3)

D e x t r o m o r a m i d e

( P a l f i u m )

2 . 0 0 0 (1)

D i e t h y l t h i a m b u t e n e 3 . 5 8 0 (1)

E t o r p h i n e 1.000 (1)

H y d r o m o r p h o n e

( D i l a u d i d )

M e t h a d o n e

( P h y s e p t o n e )

2 8 0 . 7 0 0 (6)

M o r p h i n e 2 5 . 0 0 0 (4)

M o r p h i n e t e c h 1 0 . 0 0 0 (1)

O p i u m 2 3 7 6 . 9 4 0 ( I D 1 3 0 (2)

O p i u m p r e p s .

P e t h i d i n e 9 . 0 0 0 (2)

P a p a v e r e t u m

P e n t a z o c i n e

( F o r t r a l )

H e r o i n 23 7 9 2 . 9 6 1 (651)

C a n n a b i s P l a n t s 17 9 3 4 . 2 4 0 (17) 3 3 6 7 4 9 ( 1 234)

C a n n a b i s S e e d s 5 8 6 6 . 1 6 0 (144)

M a r i h u a n a 6 1 1 2 8 0 5 9 . 0 0 0 ( 2467)

9 (4)

7 5 6 (8)

1 8 0 (2)

7 5 7 (17)

1 9 (3) 9 7 (11) 18 (2)

5 (1)

2 (1) 1 2 0 4 (235)

T a b l e t s A m p o u l . e s C a p s u l e s ^ £ £ £

4 (3)

1 5 2 (12)

2 0 7 (25)

6 6 5 (87)

1 8 5 (3)

3 (1)

1 0 9 (1)

2 5 (3)

6 7 (5)

1 1 (3)

10 (1)

200 (1)

3 2 1 (17)

2 5 2 (21)

6 (1 )

3 6 (1)

7 5 0 6 1 (49 3 )

Tab le I V. 19 ( c o nt . )

Dr ug

We ig ht

( 9)

Plant s

( number)

S e eds

( number)

Tabl e t s Ampo ul e s Ca ps ul e s

Do s e

Unit s

Bud dha

s tic ks

Di az e p am ( Valium) 259 ( 15)

Oxaz e p am ( Serepax) 1 4 . 1 7 0 ( 1) 1 8 9 3 ( 11)

Ot he r t ranqui llis e r s 10 ( 1)

I mipramine ( Tofranil) 4 8 ( 1)

Ot he r Ant id e pr e s s ant s 3 ( 1)

L S D 1 4 . 0 0 0 ( 3) 1 0 6 34 ( 14)

Ps ilo c ybine 1 0 5 0 . 3 0 0 ( 16) 21 9 ( 17)

D MT 9 0 8 ( 1)

Ot he r mus hro o ms 25 ( 2)

S T P 6 . 0 5 0 ( 2) 36 ( 2)

Ot he r halluc ino ge ns 4 . 0 0 0 ( 1)

Ot he r drugs 1 3 . 4 5 0 ( 3) 4 4 2 ( 15)

53 ( 4) 5 ( 1)

2 (1)

59 3 5 ( 68)

4 ( 1)

1 1 ( 2) 16 8 ( 6)

( S o urc e : Dra ft Co mmo nwe a lt h Po lic e S t at is t ic al S urve y - 1 Drug Abus e in Aus t ra li a 1 9 7 8 1)

* the original figure for the n u m b e r of LSD tablets seized was 2 193.

The revised figure was 10 634, an increase of 385 p e r cent.

The revised 1978 data for cocaine (93.966 grams) and LSD dose units

(5935) compares s a tisfactorily w i t h 556.086 grams and 5376 dose units

respectively, in 1977. Ho w e v e r the data on the n u m b e r of LSD tablets

still represents a dramatic change wi t h an increase o f 10 177 tablets

over the 1977 figure of 457 tablets and the a c c u r a c y of this figure may

still be q u e s t i o n a b l e . While Table I V . 19 presents the revised data on

1978 seizures provided by the Commonwealth Police the data included in

that tabulation as the weight of liquid hashish (40 373.025 grams) is

considered to be incorrect since the Commission's a nalysis of seizure

data reported b y the Narcotics Bureau alone accounted for 97 731.2 grams of cannabis oil (liquid hashish).

Comments published in almost all editions of the publication 'Drug

Abuse in A u s t r a l i a ' since 1971 revealed that the data was known by the

A u s t r a l i a n Crime Intelligence Centre of the C o m m o n w e a l t h Police to be an inaccurate or at least incomplete statement of the q u a n t i t i e s of drugs

seized by all law enforcement authorities in A ustralia. Two examples of these com m e n t s---one of which refers to a tabulation con c e r n i n g seizure d a t a---a r e :

The actual quantities of drugs seized or r e c overed from the

illicit market are difficult to determine for a number of

r e a s o n s .

Firstly, there were 352 seizures reported to the Centre in

which no quantity of drugs was stated.

Secondly, in many cases, the stated q u a ntities were based on

estimates made by law enforcement officers w h o did not have

access to accurate means of weighing the drugs seized.

Similarly, when large numbers of tablets, cap s u l e s or ampoules were recovered, only an estimate of the actual n u m b e r was given

in most reports supplied to the Centre. The field officers

concerned simply do not have time to count a c c u r a t e l y all drugs

seized. In dealing with marihuana, the unit o f t e n cited is the

'match box full'; this is a 'dealer's ounce', b u t in fact does

not necessarily weigh one o u n c e , as the m a r i h u a n a could be

mixed with contaminants such as tobacco.

(Open Exhibit 42, 1971 Edition)

It can be seen from Table A19(ii) that there we r e literally

thousands of reported seizures for which n o quantity, or

estimate of quantity was submitted to the ACIC. This year, for

the second time, an attempt has been made to es t i m a t e those

seizures for which the q uantity would have b e e n small i.e. less

than 50 g r a m s . It can be seen that there were still over 1018

seizures for which this was not possible. Thus, the true

A304

quantity of seized drugs is unknown and is undoubtedly

s u b s t a n t i a l , bearing in mind the quantities stated in Table

A 1 9 ( i i ) .

(Open Exhibit 42, 1977 Edition)

Evidence p r e sented in 1977 by Mr B . C. Maclachlan the Statistical

Officer of the Commonwealth Department of Administrative Services

included a departmental report on the drug seizure collection system and the analysis of data presented in the 1976 edition of 'Drug Abuse in

A u s t r a l i a '. This report stated that the main problems were accuracy

and/or incompleteness of data and presentation of data:

The main problems evident in the current drug statistics system a r e : (1) accuracy and/or incompleteness of data; (2)

presentation of data. The most important problem is clearly

that of accuracy and/or incompleteness of data. The main

deficiency appears to occur in the information on the quantity

of drug seized.

(OT 312)

The problems evident in the 1978 seizure data released to the

Commission by the Commonwealth Police would appear to suggest that the

ma j o r problems that were mentioned in the departmental report in 1977

were still in existence.

The Commission also found difficulties when attempting to use this

seizure data to measure the extent of use of drugs in Australia. As

well as the incompleteness and inaccuracy of data previously mentioned, the following difficulties also arose:

* The presentation of the data changes over the years 1971 to 1978.

For e x a m p l e , in 1971 data was presented for Customs and each State

Police while in 1978 it was presented in the form of national

t o t a l s .

* The quantity of each drug seized was reported in various measures

such as weight in gra m s , number of plants, number of seeds, number

of buddha sticks, tablets, ampoules, capsules and dose units. As a

result it is almost impossible to determine the quantity of drug

seized in any one measure.

* Not all seizures were being reported to the Commonwealth Police unit

responsible for the collection of data on drug seizures.

Despite the limitations of this data, the Commission has attempted

to estimate the possible number of hard-core heroin addicts in

Australia. As outlined earlier in this chapter, the seizure data was

used together with other evidence which included data on mean dosage

rates and purity.

Methadone Treatment Programs

As methadone is used as a 'surrogate' drug for the narcotics, and in

particular heroin, the Commission attempted to use information on

A305

methadone treatment programs as an indication of the extent of the

illegal use of narcotics, in par t i c u l a r heroin.

No comprehensive figures on the number of people attending methadone treatment programs were available to the Commission. Those involved in the a d m i n i stration of these programs do not appear to maintain

comprehensive statistics. An y figures maintained are generally only for in-house p u r p o s e s . Accordingly, the criteria for the information

recorded v a r y from one p rogram to another, and the Commission found it

impossible to make any meaningful comparisons b etween the different

f i g u r e s .

The C o m mission then sought figures on the consumption of methadone

syrup. As this form of methadone is used exclusively for the treatment

of addicts, m e thadone syrup consumption figures could reflect the number of narcotic users undergoing methadone treatment.

The statistics received by the Commission for the consumption of

methadone syrup for the years 1974 to 1978 are given in Table I V . 2 0 .

These figures p r obably underestimate the total amount of methadone used to treat drug users since they do not include methadone tablets used by

private treatment clinics or prescribed by private doctors. For

example, in T a s m a n i a , which has no official methadone treatment program, the consumption of syrup was shown as n i l .

Table IV.20 shows that the consumption of methadone has increased in each State w i t h p a r t i cularly large increases from 1976 to 1978 (for all

States except New South Wales). These large increases indicate that the number of patients treated with syrup or the average dosage (or both)

have increased, part i c u l a r l y over the last two y e a r s .

Part (b) of Table IV.20 shows the consumption relative to

population. This further shows the increase in methadone syrup

consumption, p a r t i cularly in 1976 to 1978.

It is interesting to note that New South Wales, whilst leading the

field in the overall consumption f i g u r e s , has remained far more stable

in its methadone syrup consumption than the other States over the period 1975 to 1978. Furthermore in 1978 it no longer had the highest per

capita consumption. Both Queensland and Western Australia had higher

rates of consumption.

Drug Overdose Admissions

The circumstances surrounding an overdose can va r y considerably.

The overdose can be accidental or deliberate and can occur with either

an occasional or heavy user. It can result from either the legal or

illegal use of d r u g s . Although data on overdoses generally cannot

A306

C o m p a r i s o n o f M e t h a d o n e C o n s u m p t i o n for t h e y e a r s 1 9 7 4 t o 1 9 7 8

(a) T o t a l c o n s u m p t i o n (mis)

2 5 m g / 5 m l s y r u p N . S . W . V I C . Q L D . S . A . W . A . T A S . A . C . T . N . T . A U S T .

1 9 7 4 2 4 0 7 5 0 2 0 7 5 0 12 2 5 0 -

1 9 7 5 1 1 8 8 8 0 0 3 0 9 8 0 0 31 7 5 0 - 65 7 5 0

1 9 7 6 1 2 5 8 5 0 0 4 7 4 5 0 0 20 5 0 0 6 6 5 0 0 4 1 5 0 0

1 9 7 7 1 5 4 3 5 0 0 5 7 8 2 5 0 3 6 0 5 0 2 1 5 0 0 0 0 2 1 5 2 5 0

1 9 7 8 1 6 2 1 5 0 0 9 4 1 7 50 7 0 4 0 0 0 2 3 6 2 5 0 7 4 6 5 0 0

4 5 0 0 - 1

5 7 3

6 0 0

7 5 0

6 0 0

- - 1 8 6 1 5 0 0

1 2 5 0 2 5 0 0 0 2 8 7 3 7 5 2

18 5 0 0 4 2 6 8 5 0 0

(b) N o . o f m i s p e r 1 0 0 0 p o p u l a t i o n

1 9 7 4 4 9 . 7 5 5 . 6 4 5 . 9 9 - -

1 9 7 5 2 4 3 . 3 8 8 3 . 3 0 1 5 . 2 4 - 5 7 . 3 4

1 9 7 6 2 5 6 . 0 9 1 2 6 . 6 7 9 . 7 1 5 2 . 7 1 3 5 . 4 8

1 9 7 7 3 1 1 . 4 0 1 5 2 . 8 8 1 6 8 . 8 0 1 1 7 . 4 8 1 7 9 . 8 1

1 9 7 8 3 2 3 . 5 5 2 4 6 . 6 2 3 2 4 . 9 2 1 8 3 . 4 8 6 1 0 . 8 3

2 0 . 1 3

2 3 . 5 7 - 1 1 6 . 2 3

1 3 3 . 7 7

6 . 0 0 2 3 6 . 9 7 2 0 4 . 2 0

8 5 . 6 9 - 2 9 9 . 5 8

N o t e : F i g u r e s f o r 1 9 7 8 a r e s u b j e c t t o a u d i t .

P o p u l a t i o n f i g u r e s w e r e s u p p l i e d b y t h e B u r e a u o f S t a t i s t i c s . J u n e q u a r t e r 1 9 7 4 - 1 9 7 8 w e r e u s e d .

(Source: Commonwealth Department of Health)

provide a guide to the extent of u s e , such figures may reflect trends in

the illegal use of drugs by the general population.

No systematic collection of information on overdoses is undertaken in Australia. Accordingly, the Commission requested overdose figures from several major hospitals in Australia. Among the evidence received were results of a survey on drug overdoses carried out at the Prince of

Wales H o spital at Randwick, Sydney by a medical student, Mr D. Lim.

Some of these results are summarised in Table IV.21.

Table IV.21 shows that the m ajority of overdose cases arose from the

abuse (not necessarily illegal use) of legally prescribed d r u g s .

Narcotics (which could include legal narcotics in addition to heroin)

were involved only in 18 cases in 1977. The drugs primarily involved

were tranquillisers and non-barbiturate hypno-sedatives with

barbiturates featuring prominently as well.

Information received from eight other hospitals supported the trends shown in Table I V . 2 1 . Generally, the major drugs involved were legally prescribed d r u g s---particularly barbiturates, tranquillisers and to a lesser degree non-barbiturate h y p n o - s e d a t i v e s . Although there was a

higher p e r centage of cases involving narcotics in these hospitals than at the Prince of Wales Hospital, heroin was only of significance in

o n e---St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney. Methadone and legally prescribed narcotics were involved in more than 10 per cent of overdose cases in

only two other hospitals.

Drug-related Deaths

As comprehensive statistics were not available from each State, the Commission was able to form only a general picture of drug-related

deaths. This lack of factual information was highlighted by Dr L. R. H.

Drew, Senior Medical Adviser to the Commonwealth Department of Health

who stated that except for Ne w South Wales:

...there seems to be no inclination to co-ordinate coronial

reports or any other matter relating to disabilities relating to drug use.

(0T 20238)

Dr Drew p rovided the details presented in Table IV.22 which for some

States show the number of deaths known to be related to the abuse of

narcotics. Al t h o u g h the data did not include all States and

Territories, it does give some indication of the number of people

i n v o l v e d .

Discussing the relationship between the use of narcotics and health of the user, a senior Commonwealth Department of Health official stated in confidential session:

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Table IV.21

T h e M o s t C o m m o n D r u g s I n v o l v e d i n O v e r d o s e C a s e s s e e n a t

P r i n c e o f W a l e s H o s p i t a l , S y d n e y

1 9 7 4 1 9 7 5 1 9 7 6 1 9 7 7

N u m b e r o f C a s e s (a) 3 2 9 3 3 6 2 4 7 3 2 9

D r u g s ( b ) :

N a r c o t i c s N / A 9 5 18

N o n - b a r b i t u r a t e

h y p n o - s e d a t i v e s (c) 57 7 0 57 89

B a r b i t u r a t e s 6 1 61 32 4 5

T r a n q u i l l i s e r s (d) 1 1 9 1 2 7 8 5 97

A n t i d e p r e s s a n t s 18 31 8 12

A n t i c o n v u l s a n t s 13 4 7 1 6

A n a l g e s i c s 3 5 33 2 0 2 6

T o t a l (e) 3 0 3 3 3 5 2 1 4 3 0 3

(a) T h e s e a r e t h e n u m b e r o f p a t i e n t s s e e n .

(b) In c a s e s w h e r e m o r e t h a n o n e d r u g w a s i n v o l v e d ,

w a s i n c l u d e d .

e a c h d r u g t a k e n

(c) T h e m a j o r n o n - b a r b i t u r a t e h y p n o - s e d a t i v e s i n v o l v e d

(33 c a s e s i n 1 9 7 7 ) a n d M o g a d o n (39 c a s e s i n 1 9 7 7 ) .

w e r e M a n d r a x

(d) T h e t r a n q u i l l i s e r s m o s t

1 9 7 7 ) a n d S e r e p a x (30 c a s e s :

o f t e n i n v o l v e d

in 1 9 7 7 ) .

w e r e V a l i u m (54 c a s e s in

(e) T h e s e f i g u r e s d o n o t c o v e r a l l d r u g s i n v o l v e d , o n l y t h e m o s t

c o m m o n . T h e t o t a l s a r e o n l y i n c l u d e d t o p r o v i d e p e r s p e c t i v e t o t h e

f i g u r e s f o r t h e i n d i v i d u a l d r u g s . N o t e t h a t t h e a c t u a l t o t a l s f o r a l l

d r u g s i n v o l v e d ( t h i s w a s n o t a v a i l a b l e ) w o u l d e x c e e d t h e n u m b e r o f c a s e s

s i n c e s o m e c a s e s i n v o l v e d m o r e t h a n o n e d r u g .

( S o u r c e : O p e n E x h i b i t 684)

T a b l e IV. 22

D e a t h s k n o w n t o b e r e l a t e d t o t h e A b u s e o f N a r c o t i c s i n s o m e S t a t e s

S t a t e 1 9 7 4 1 9 7 5 1 9 7 6 1 9 7 7

N e w S o u t h W a l e s 14 16 4 9 4 2

Q u e e n s l a n d 1 3 3 7

W e s t e r n A u s t r a l i a 5 11

T a s m a n i a 1 1 2 -

N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y , 4

( S o u r c e s : S t a t e H e a l t h A u t h o r i t i e s )

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There is no proven association of the prolonged controlled use

of narcotics with serious harm to h e a l t h . . .Few, if any, deaths

are due to narcotic o v e r d o s e . Death is usually due to some

other complication of the injection.

The argument is that although it ma y appear to be overdose of

drug, it is probably something else that caused the death...It

is not an argument against the fact that narcotic users kill

t h e m s e l v e s . It's only a technical argument about the mode of

death.

(CT)

Other evidence on drug-related deaths presented to the Commission

i n c l u d e d :

A. A report b y M. J. Liddy for the Division of Analytical Laboratories,

of the N S W Health Commission , entitled 'The Increasing Incidence of Fatalities Related to the Abuse of Narcotic Analgesic Drugs in NS W

and A.C.T., 1974— 76'. This report showed an upward trend in deaths

associated with the use of narcotic analgesics. In 1974 there were

13 deaths attributed to narcotic analgesics in NS W and A.C.T.; in

1975, 15, and in 1976, 51. (OT 14442).

Of a total of 78 cases examined, 35 deaths were due to the narcotics

heroin, morphine and opium, while 19 were associated with the use of

methadone (OT 14442). The slight differences between these

statistics and those in Table IV.22 are possibly due to the data

having been extracted from different sources or to different drug

definitions being u s e d .

B. A statement by Detective Sergeant D. J. Craft, Officer-in-Charge of

the A.C.T. Police Drug Squad in November 1977 that deaths resulting

from the illegal use of drugs in the A.C.T. had averaged one a year

for the last three years.

C. The results of a review of the Sydney Coroner's Reports for the

years 1972 to 1978 carried out by a senior official of the

Commonwealth Department of Health (given as evidence in confidential session). These results indicated that:

- deaths involving narcotics increased dramatically from being of

little significance in 1972 (when there were 8 deaths) to a

'level of c o n c e r n ' in 1976. In 1978, there were 32 deaths.

These d e a t h s , however, represented less than one in eight of

all the drug-related deaths r e v i e w e d ;

- deaths involving barbiturates had diminished markedly w ith time

(from a peak of 141 in 1972 to 64 in 1977 and 68 in 1978);

- deaths involving the non-barbiturate hypno-sedatives showed no significant overall change during the period. Although there was a peak in 1975 of 69, the annual figure usually was between

30 and 50 d e a t h s ;

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- deaths involving tranquillisers and antidepressants diminished considerably over the p e r i o d , falling from 24 in 1972 to 7 in

1977 and 9 in 1978;

- other drugs were involved only infrequently and the number of

such cases showed no significant change over the period.

D. Evidence from Mr H. F. Adams, Clerk of the Melbourne Coroner's

Court, which indicated that the m a jority of drug-related inquests handled concerned legally prescribed drugs (OT 9500).

Incidence of Serum Hepatitis B

Serum hepatitis B is a disease of the liver which is carried by the

blood stream. It occurs as a complication of intravenous injections or

blood transfusions, especially if the injections or transfusions are

f r e q u e n t , and if the way in wh i c h the injections are given is unsterile

( e .g . , repeated use of needles or syringes or failure to clean the

skin). It is also more common in debilitated people. Thus it is a

hazard of the intravenous use of d r u g s , including heroin or other

injectable substances.

Accordingly, it has been suggested that data on serum hepatitis may

indicate trends in illicit intravenous drug use. The number of cases of

serum hepatitis notified to State health authorities is given in Table

IV.23.

Professional opinions given in evidence also indicated that the

number of reported cases was increasing. Witnesses further suggested

that immunity as a result of previous infection may result in the

increased incidence in the drug using population being understated.

On the other hand, other witnesses suggested that the exact nature

of the relationship of hepatitis B and narcotic usage had become clouded in more recent y e a r s . Dr L. R. H. Drew, a Senior Medical Adviser to the

Commonwealth Department of Health, stated that recent developments in the understanding of hepatitis B had led to a lessening of confidence in

the view that changes in the number of cases of hepatitis B could

reflect changes in narcotic use (OT 20239). This view was supported by

a paper b y Dr I. D. Gust. This p a p e r , presented b y Dr. J. F . Rutter of

Victoria discussed ways other than those discussed above by which serum hepatitis could spread (Open Exhibit 497).

EXTENT OF ILLEGAL DIVERSION OF DRUGS

The Commission did not receive sufficient information to enable it

to estimate accurately the extent to which drugs lawfully obtained are

diverted to illegal trafficking or illegal use. However, the Commission examined various methods w hereby drugs may be diverted in an attempt to

find general indications of the extent of such diversions.

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Table IV.23

Notifications for Serum Hepatitis

Year NSW VIC SA WA QLD NT ACT TAS Total

1967-68 - 2 - - - - - - 2

1968-69 - - - - - - - - 0

1969-70 - - 10 4 - 1 3 - 18

1970 - - - - - - - - 0

1971 6 66 - - - - - - 72

1972 26 62 - - - - - 2 90

1973 16 79 - - - - - 1 96

1974 40 79 6 - - - 4 - 129

1975 92 138 55 - - - 11 1 297

1976 162 144 100 12 9 2 13 - 442

1977 222 188 107 9 43 28 40 - 637

(Source: 'Three Studies in Drug Use' research papers for the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs.)

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These methods of diversion were summarised by Mr R. C. M c C a r t h y ,

rincipal Pharmacist of the South A u s tralian Health Commission, in these o r d s :

It is the Department's opinion that there is little diversion

of the narcotics in the legal channels of distributing to the

illicit t r a d e , certainly in the c h a n n e l , w h o l e s a l e - p h a r m a c i s t . What diversion there is would be the result of burglaries of

p h a r m a c i e s , forged prescriptions and prescriptions obtained by false pretences or injudiciously prescribed.

(OT 7121)

These methods are discussed below.

Prescriptions obtained by False Pretences or Injudiciously Prescribed

Evidence indicated that the m ajority of legal drugs diverged to

illegal use were obtained using prescriptions obtained either b y false p r etences or injudiciously prescribed. Several witnesses, (including h e a l t h officials and drug u s e r s ) , commented that the practice was very

w i d e s p r e a d and users seldom had any difficulties obtaining their

r e q u i r e m e n t s . Evidence also suggested that many users obtained their

p rescriptions from a number of doctors. For example, Dr J. E. Aldred,

of the Victorian Department of Health commented that:

...some persons are employed on what appears to be a full time

basis shopping around from doctor to doctor obtaining

prescriptions for (Pa l f i u m ) .

(OT 2677)

Whilst no accurate measure of the extent of this type of prescribing

was given, witnesses considered that it posed a significant problem.

One witness suggested in confidential session that the total volume of

drugs illegally diverted would at least equal the volume of heroin on

the illegal drug market. Another confidential witness considered that it was possible that in excess of half of the legally prescribed

dextromoramide (Palfium) and almost half of the methadone was 'going

into addicts' hands'. This witness stressed that whilst it was an

impossible task to calculate accurately the extent, the problem was

c o n s i d e r a b l e .

This view was supported, in confidence, by a NSW Health Commission

pharmacist who commented that 1 in every 5 to 10 prescriptions for

narcotic drugs could be diverted to illegal use.

Statistics for the years 1974 to 1978 showing the number of drug

charges involving false pretences for Australia generally are given in Table IV.24. Th e y show that the number of charges increased to 1976 but

have decreased in 1977 and 1978. The major drugs involved were

d e x t r o m o r a m i d e , petjiidine and methadone. In 1978, they accounted for over 70 pe r cent of all charges laid. (The Commission received no

information concerning the apparent sudden increase of charges involving pethidine in 1976.)

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Table IV.24

D r u g C h a r g e s i n A u s t r a l i a i n v o l v i n g F a l s e P r e t e n c e s

D r u g 1 9 7 4 1 9 7 5 1 9 7 6 1 9 7 7 1 9 7 8

D e x t r o m o r a m i d e 2 9 4 1 13 3 6 1 8

( P a l f i u m )

M e t h a d o n e 9 1 3 3 6 6 5 5 0

( P h y s e p t o n e )

P e t h i d i n e 1 4 1 6 1 3 4 2 0 1 3

O t h e r N a r c o t i c s 5 8 4 5 12 8

M a n d r a x 1 3 2 6 1 8 2

B a r b i t u r a t e s a n d - 3 - 2 6

o t h e r H y p n o t i c s

A m p h e t a m i n e s - - 2 7 5

T r a n q u i l l i s e r s 1 1 2 - 3 1 0

O t h e r s 3 3 4 5 2

T o t a l 6 2 9 9 2 6 0 1 6 8 1 1 4

(S o u r c e : C o m m o n w e a l t h P o l i c e S t a t i s t i c a l S u r v e y s - ' D r u g A b u s e i n

A u s t r a l i a 1 )

T a b l e IV. 25

F o r g e d P r e s c r i p t i o n s p r e s e n t e d u n d e r t h e N a t i o n a l H e a l t h A c t

D r u g 1 9 7 5 1 9 7 6 1 9 7 7

D e x t r o m o r a m i d e 9 2 9 7 1 5 3

( P a l f i u m )

M e t h a d o n e 1 5 7 1 7 2 1 2 3

( P h y s e p t o n e )

P e t h i d i n e 5 4 7 2 0

O t h e r N a r c o t i c s 1 1 15 3 9

B a r b i t u r a t e s 7 17 14

N i t r a z e p a m 4 13 74

( M o g a d o n )

D i a z e p a m 4 4 1 1 8 1 5 7

( V a l i u m )

O t h e r s 1 3 1 0 4 8

T o t a l 3 3 3 4 8 9 6 2 8

N o . o f P r e s c r i p t i o n s N / A 4 7 5 5 9 9

( S o u r c e : C o m m o n w e a l t h D e p a r t m e n t o f H e a l t h )

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Evidence received by the Commission also indicated there was a

number of doctors in most capital cities who would frequently prescribe drugs of addiction to known addicts on request. Information on such

doctors tended to circulate quickly through the user community and as a

result these doctors generally p r e s cribed for a considerable number of addicts. One witness, a drug user himself, cited one example in

confidential session:

Ev e r y Sunday at his surgery there would be 30 or 40 fellows who

would turn up. He would see us for about 30 seconds and write

a prescription and each person would pay $13 or $14 being the

Sunday rate.

Although such prescribing was undesirable and often u n l a w f u l ,

witnesses suggested few doctors were ever prosecuted. Reasons given by witnesses included:

- most problems were resolved through c o u n s e l l i n g ;

- State Health Departments appeared to be reluctant to prosecute

medical practitioners;

- the stigma of deregistration was considered very serious;

- every top medical administrative unit in government d e p a r t m e n t s ,

State or Commonwealth, was controlled by medical practitioners;

- it was difficult to get a conviction because it had to be proved the

doctor knew he was prescribing for an addict.

Forged Prescriptions

Witnesses indicated that as no central body collected data on forged prescriptions, it was not possible to determine accurately the amount of drugs obtained in this way. Although evidence suggested that forging

prescriptions was not as easy as obtaining prescriptions directly from a doctor, witnesses considered it still posed a considerable problem.

Statistics relating to detected forged prescriptions covered b y the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and presented under the National Health Act were obtained from the Commonwealth Department of Health (see Table I V ,25). These statistics showed a steady increase in the number of

forgeries being detected. The drugs mostly involved were

dextromoramide, methadone and d i a z e p a m . In 1977, these drugs accounted for almost 70 per cent of all National Health Act prescription forgeries detected. It must be r e m e m b e r e d , however,that not all forgeries

dispensed under this Act are detected. F u r t h e r m o r e , evidence

indicated that because of the risk of detection, forgeries were more

likely to be written outside the provisions of the Pharmaceutical

Benefits S c h e m e . ,

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Table IV.26

D r u g T h e f t s f r o m L i c i t S o u r c e s

S o u r c e 1 9 7 3 1 9 7 4 1 9 7 5 1 9 7 6 1 9 7 7 1 9 7 8

P h a r m a c y ( B r e a k ,

E n t e r a n d S t e a l )

1 7 0 5 2 0 5 3 1 2 3 5 2 0 5 2 3 6

P h a r m a c y ( A r m e d

H o l d - u p )

10 4 6 54 2 9 38 5 0

D o c t o r 's S u r g e r y 2 0 7 2 4 3 1 8 8 1 4 8 2 1 1 2 5 7

D o c t o r ' s C a r 1 2 2 2 2 8 1 6 8 67 73 5 2

W h o l e s a l e r - 1 5 - 3 3

M a n u f a c t u r e r 3 - 1 - - 1

H o s p i t a l 2 5 2 6 25 17 16 1 6

M i s c e l l a n e o u s 53 27 2 0 7 13 73

T o t a l 5 9 0 1 0 9 1 9 9 2 5 0 3 5 5 9 6 8 8

( S o u r c e : C o m m o n w e a l t h P o l i c e S t a t i s t i c a l

T a b l e I V . 2 7

D r u g s S t o l e n f r o m L i c i t S o u r c e s

N a r c o t i c s (gms)

S u r v e y s - ' D r u g A b u s e i n A u s t r a l i a ')

S t a t e 1 9 7 3 1 9 7 4 1 9 7 5 1 9 7 6 1 9 7 7 1 9 7 8

N . S . W . 6 6 3 1 6 1 1 6 2 4 8 2 8 8 0 2 6 0 5 1 2 6 2 2

V i c . 7 6 5 9 1 9 1 5 3 5 6 3 5 9 2 1 8 7 7 1 1 9 9

Q l d . 4 3 5 3 9 1 1 5 2 7 5 4 6 2 6 5 1 3 4 3

S . A . 4 5 8 1 5 4 3 2 8 7 7 1 5 1 2 5 5 5 2 2 6

W. A. 5 8 6 2 2 4 5 6 6 3 13 5 5 2 8 9 6

T a s . 8 1 4 9 4 - 41 - 4 8

N . T . - - 1 3 4 - - -

A . C . T . 4 8 - - -

A u s t r a l i a (a) 9 0 0 5 19 9 8 0 13 0 4 0 6 5 8 3 5 8 5 4 1 6 3 3 5

( T h i s t a b l e i s c o n t i n u e d o n t h e n e x t p a g e )

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Table IV.27 (cont.)

Amphetamines (gms)

State 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978

N.S.W. 41 63 62 18 30 32

Vic. 5 53 41 36 15 16

Qld. 1 - 4 1 1 3

S.A. 1 - 27 9 2 1

W.A. 4 - 6 - 0(b) 17

Tas. - 22 - 0(b) - -

N.T. - - - - - -

A.C.T. 1 - - - - -

Australia (a) 53 138 141 65 49 68

Methaqualone (gms)

State 1975 1976 1977 1978

N.S.W. 491 388 1445 1988

Vic. 475 570 403 88 7

Qld. 1276 220 214 1062

S.A. 0 (b) 91 356 268

W.A. 144 - - 1108

Tas. - 87 - 109

N.T. - - - -

A.C.T. - - -

Australia (a) 2386 1356 2418 5422

(a) These figures may not equal the sum of the various States due to rounding.

(b) Thefts for this State amounted to less than 0.5 gms.

(Source: Commonwealth Police Statistical Surveys - 'Drug Abuse in

Australia')

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Similar patterns were found for the number of drug charges laid by

police involving forged prescriptions, both PBS and private. Statistics showed a steady increase in the number of charges from 1974 to 1978.

Dextromoramide and methadone were the drugs most involved. Diazepam,

however, was involved only in a few c h a r g e s . For e x a m p l e , in 1978 it

was involved in 10 charges.

Forged p rescriptions are discussed in more detail in Part XIII.

Drug Thefts from Legal S o u r c e s :

Table IV.26 shows the number and nature of drug thefts from legal

sources in A u stralia for the years 1973 to 1978. These statistics show

that the number of such thefts rose dramatically in 1974, fell slightly

in 1975 and almost halved in 1976 before rising in both 1977 and 1978.

The major sources for drug thefts were pharmacies, doctors' surgeries

and doctors' cars.

The quantities of drugs stolen from legal sources in the various

States are given in Table I V . 2 7 . It should be noted that although the

number of thefts from licit sources rose by 23 per cent in 1978 (see

Table I V . 2 6 ) . the quantities of narcotics involved rose by 180 per cent. This dramatic increase was mainly due to the quantity stolen in New

South Wales, where the 1978 figure represented an increase of 380 per

cent over the 1977 figure. At the same time, witnesses indicated that

the stocks of these drugs kept at p h a r m a c i e s , had decreased over this

p e r i o d .

The quantity of narcotics involved in thefts decreased following a

peak in 1974 until it rose dramatically in 1978. The quantity of

amphetamine stolen increased suddenly in 1974, decreased suddenly in

1976 but since then has remained fairly constant. Note that these

amounts are much smaller than the quantities of narcotics stolen. Data

on methaqualone was only available since 1975 but the quantities stolen have been increasing since 1976.

EXTENT OF THE MISUSE OF DRUGS SO FAR AS IS RELEVANT TO THE ILLEGAL USE

OF DRUGS.

Although data was not available to show the relationship between

drug misuse and illegal use, professional opinion appeared to support

the theory of inter-relation. Dr C. P. V. Evans, Deputy Director-

General of the Commonwealth Department of Health, stated that

longitudinal studies of drug use overseas had shown that drug use did

not usually begin with the use of illegal drugs: adolescent drug use

generally started with legal d r u g s . These studies considered that the

use of legal drugs was a necessary stage between non-use and illegal

drug use (OT 3616).

Several witnesses considered that the illegal drug problem was, in

part, due to a permissive attitude that has developed towards the use of

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all d r u g s , including a l c o h o l , t o b a c c o , tranquillisers and analgesics. The high consumption of alcohol and legal anxiety-relieving drugs set

the pattern for the alternative, but illegal, drug taking of the young.

These witnesses suggested that this ready social acceptance of drugs was related to society's ambivalent attitudes to the medical profession. Society encouraged the attitude that there should be a chemical solution to almost any problem on the one hand and permitted evasion of the

'stuffy' restrictions on availability of drugs on the other (T. B.

Stephens OT 8462).

This is further discussed in Part III, Legal Use of Drugs.

General

As this Chapter deals partly with legal drugs the material received

in evidence is not so imprecise as that received under other heads of

the factual terms of reference; for example, on the extent of

importations of illegal drugs in Chapter 3 of this Part. What has been

said at the end of that Chapter is applicable here. The need for an

effective system of recording, collating, and making available data on drug abuse is obvious.

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Chapter 7 The Organised Basis of Drug-related Crime

The Commission's concern with the topic dealt with in this Chapter was

in the context of paragraph (d) of the Terms of Reference. This required

the Royal Commission to inquire into and report on the extent (if any)

to which the illegal importation, illegal exportation, or illegal

production of drugs and the illegal trafficking in drugs (those being

the illegal activities mentioned in paragraph (a) of the Terms of

Reference) are engaged in, directly or indirectly, by persons who

engage, on an organised basis, in other illegal activities, whether or

not related to drugs. Paragraph (d) further requires the Royal

Commission to inquire into and report on the extent (if any) to which

drugs are illegally used and the extent to which drugs lawfully obtained are diverted to illegal trafficking or illegal uses (the illegal use and diversion to trafficking mentioned in paragraph (c) of the Terms of

Reference) by such per s o n s .

In other words it asks the Commission to concern itself with the

relationship between criminals and the illegal drug t r a d e .

Most of the evidence received by the Royal Commission relevant to

paragraph (d) of the Terms of Reference was received in confidence and

there are good reasons for its remaining confidential to the Commission. For example, publication could jeopardise the safety of a witness who

gave the evidence or it could jeopardise a current law enforcement

operation. Such considerations make it inappropriate to publish much of the evidence received relevant to paragraph (d) of the Terms of

Reference. What follows therefore is an assessment of the evidence

received and its significance, and the conclusions to be derived from

that evidence. It is not part of the Commission's task pursuant to its

Terms of Reference to engage in naming those engaged in the illegal

activities mentioned in paragraph (a) of the Terms of Reference or the

illegal use or the diversion of drugs mentioned in paragraph (c) and who

also engage on an organised basis in other illegal activities, whether

or not related to dru g s . The Commission can see no purpose in naming

such people where they may be the subject of current interest on the

part of law enforcement authorities. To do so would only alert them as

the nature and extent of such interest. In other situations people have

been named to the Commission as engaged in illegal activities on an

organised basis and it has not been possible on the evidence, to form

any concluded view as to the accuracy or otherwise of the allegations

made in respect of them. In those circumstances it would be neither

responsible nor productive for the Commission to name the individuals.

For considerations such as those mentioned above, individuals are

not named in this Chapter except in one case where this is done to

illustrate the implications of engagement on an organised basis in the

illegal activities outlined in paragraph (a) of the Terms of Reference. The steps taken by the Commission in respect of information received by

it relating to current or prospective criminal activities are dealt with

later in this Chapter.

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In reporting on its inquiries pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (c) of

the terms of reference the Royal Commission has dealt with the extent

of, and methods used in, the illegal importation, exportation,

production and trafficking of drugs and the extent to which drugs are

illegally used and to which drugs lawfully obtained are diverted to

illegal trafficking or illegal uses. Whilst it is not appropriate to

repeat what is said there it should be pointed out:

1. There was no evidence of a n y , or any current, substantial illegal

exportation of drugs from Australia.

2. The evidence received by the Royal Commission indicates that in the

immediate past the illegal production of drugs in Australia has been substantially limited to the growing of cannabis.

3. The diversion of drugs lawfully obtained to illegal trafficking or

illegal uses is, on the e v i d e n c e , engaged in, substantially if not

wholly, by individuals or small groups of individuals to satisfy

their own immediate n e e d s .

It must also be appreciated that these are the known facts of the

present situation. It may change. These matters should be borne in

mind when considering what follows.

WHAT IS MEANT BY 'ORGANISED BASIS'?

It is desirable to say something in respect of the phrases

'organised basis' and 'directly' or 1 indirectly' used in paragraph (d) of the terms of ref e r e n c e . In considering the expression 'organised

basis' used in respect of persons who engage in illegal activities other than the illegal activities mentioned in paragraph (a) of the terms of

reference or the illegal use or the diversion mentioned in paragraph (d) (from here on it is convenient to refer to these as 'other illegal

activities') it is not necessary to adopt a formal definition of a

particular concept which will satisfy both academic students of the

topic and practical investigative groups. Indeed, to do so may

arbitarily exclude persons who ought to be included for consideration

and will almost certainly give rise to barren argumentation concerning definitional appropriateness and whether particular persons ought to be

included or e x c l u d e d .

Phrases such as 'organised c r i m e ' and arbitary definitions of such phrases quickly become catch cries devoid of any meaning and, becoming

labels and ends in the m s e l v e s , detract attention from the task of

effectively dealing with criminal activity. It was considered more

important to seek to identify the characteristics by reason of which it can be said that individuals engage in other illegal activities on an

organised b a s i s . These characteristics are obviously not restricted to a formalised structure with predefined powers, responsibilities and

f u n c t i o n s .

There are degrees of organisation which vary from one group of

individuals engaged in other illegal activities to another group so

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e n g a g e d . Indeed wi t h i n the same group the degree of organisation may

vary w i t h the p a r t i c u l a r other illegal activity engaged in. In the

broadest sense, h o w e v e r , the other illegal activities are engaged in for the purpose of making money. To achieve this, or to maximise the amount

to be m a d e , a number of individuals necessarily act in concert according to a definite order and direction. Within the group so engaged there is

a hierarchy of a c c o u n tability with persons at one level marked by being

accountable to persons who might thereby be regarded as being at a

higher level than they but who themselves m a y be accountable to others

who might consequently be regarded as being at a still higher level.

Should enforcement of such accountability be considered necessary

v i olence or the threat of violence, and ultimately m u r d e r , is resorted

to. Of course the common interest of all participants is making money

and that this is most effectively done by participating will reduce the

occasions on wh i c h such resort is necessary. The position in the

h i erarchy will frequently, but not a l w a y s , determine the proportion of profits going to an individual. The activities engaged in by the group

continue over time. They do not depend upon the continued participation of all those who engage in the other illegal activity or any aspect of

it at a particular time. In other words, individual members of the

group may be lost, for example upon being convicted for their part in a

par t i c u l a r illegal activity, but other (or even the same) illegal

act i v i t y by the remaining members continues unabated. To protect its

m embers and its activities the g r o u p , or members of it, will seek to

influence law enforcement agents and persons regarded as influential. This does not stop at b r i b e r y . There will be efforts to compromise such

people or to place members of the group in a position where they are

regarded worthy of special consideration. They may, for e x a m p l e ,

associate with the person sought to be influenced in worthy charitable

or other organisations. They ma y offer him favourable legitimate

business opportunities. On this approach 1 organised crime', a phrase wh i c h excites much discussion and which is increasingly becoming a vogue word, is wi t h i n the area for consideration with emphasis on the

characteristics of the organisation rather than on the definition of the

term.

So far as 'd i r e c t ' or 'i n d i r e c t ' involvement is concerned 'd i r e c t '

involvement clearly includes people who engage in the physical aspect of a p a r t icular crime. In the context of drug offences they actually carry

the drugs or steal the passport to facilitate the entry into Australia

of the carrier. On this approach p e r s o n s , for e x a m p l e , providing the

ideas and/or finance for the particular illegal activity but no more may be regarded as 'indirectly' involved. The significance of the phrase

'directly or indirectly' is taken to be to give the widest possible

connotation to engagement in the illegal activities mentioned in

pa r a g r a p h (a) of the terms of reference and the illegal use or the

d i version mentioned in paragraph ( c ) .

I NVESTIGATION OF THE 'ORGANISED BASIS' OF CRIME

The Royal Commission's report in respect of paragraph (d) of the

term of reference must be approached in the context of some

considerations relevant to the evidence which was available to and

received by the Commission relating to that particular term of

r e f e r e n c e . The identification of persons engaged on an organised basis

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in other illegal activities is fraught with difficulty. Persons who

engage in illegal activities are generally at pains to disguise the

nature of the activities and their connection with those activities.

The purpose of the 'organised basis' of illegal activities is to

insulate from the illegal activity those who organise it; for e x a m p l e , to protect 'principals' by having the crime committed by individuals

having no apparent connection with them; to make less susceptible to

discovery the links between principals and those who actually commit

crimes by disguising such links; and to facilitate, by intimidation or corruption, the suppression of evidence of connection or involvement. F u r t h e r , the determination of whether individuals engage on an organised basis in other illegal activities depends upon elements other than the

necessary elements of the particular illegal activity. For example,

there is an element of planning and organisation in any conspiracy to

commit an illegal a c t---it may be robbing a bank. It does not

necessarily follow that those engaged in such a conspiracy are engaged on an organised basis in illegal activities except in the narrow sense

of the single illegal activity the subject of the conspiracy.

The activities of law enforcement are largely designed for, and

directed to, the control of individuals by reacting to a complaint of an offence already committed so as to identify the individual who committed it, to secure evidence of his involvement and, ultimately, his

conviction. The activities of law enforcement agencies are not directed towards placing detected offences and the individuals connected with them in the context of any 'organised basis' of which those individuals might be a part or to categorising the place and function of individuals within that 'organised basis'. Law enforcement regards its function as

discharged once the individual is arrested and charged in respect of a

particular offence. To say these things is not to criticise law

enforcement agencies in the performance of their duties. The criminal law in Australia is ill equipped to deal with any 'organised basis' of

illegal activities---establishing the 'organised basis' will have no consequence so far as the law is concerned. Thus law enforcement, quite apart from the sheer pressure of dealing with detected individual

criminal activities (with the need to satisfy complainant citizens,

their political representatives and the press) is not directed or

inclined to identify any 'organised basis' or to direct its activities against it. There are some signs of change in the activities, of for

example, the various crime intelligence units. Neve r t h e l e s s , the

comments remain v a l i d . There are difficulties in turning information into practical enforcement. In this context it must also be borne in

mind that those who engage in illegal activities, whether related to

drugs and of the kind specified in paragraphs (a) or (c) of the Terms of

Reference or otherwise, are not constrained by the territorial (national or state) boundaries or the considerations of statutory power and

organisational responsibility which constrain the individual law

enforcement agencies.

In practical terms in the Commonwealth sphere at present

Commonwealth law, and consequently Commonwealth law enf o r c e m e n t , deals only with drugs illegally imported into Australia. Enforcement

responsibility in this area is with the Bureau of Customs and in

particular the Narcotics B u r e a u . That Bureau has no direct

responsibility for other offences against Commonwealth law, however

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directly they might be connected with illegal activities concerning

drugs of the kind specified in paragraphs (a) and (c) of the terms of

r e f e r e n c e . On the other h a n d , the Australian Federal Police Force is

(and the Commonwealth Police was) charged with responsibility in respect of those other offences but have no responsibility for breaches of

Commonwealth law involving drugs.

On the other hand State police forces deal with breaches of the law

of their particular state committed within its territorial boundaries. In the State sphere the 'organised basis' of a particular illegal

a ctivity identified, and for the commission of which individuals are

apprehended in, for example, Adelaide, may be in Sydney. The money,

pla n n i n g and certain individuals contributing particular skills were pro v i d e d in, occurred or are situated t h e r e . None of these things may

be discovered b y the police in Adelaide, and if they are they may be of

little consequence to them, while if no crime was committed in Sydney

the matter may be of no consequence to the New South Wales police.

C o n s i d eration of the means available to law enforcement agencies to investigate illegal activities is also material. If someone is the

victim of criminal activity that person, upon his complaining to police or up o n a complaint on his behalf, provides a basis for and gives a

d i rection to investigation. When individuals carry out illegal

activities on an organised basis whether or not they are related to

d r u g s , the pos i t i o n is not so simple. In the first p l a c e , the activity

and individuals will probably have to be sought out.

The methods available to law enforcement agencies in this context

(which of course may be, and ideally a r e , used in combination) broadly

speaking, are firstly to seek to penetrate the group by positioning a

law enforcement officer (an undercover agent) within it. The

difficulties of this are o b v i o u s ; apart from the necessity to find the

right kind of officer and consideration of the dangers to which he may

be e x p o s e d , it is frequently impossible to insert an agent except at the

lower level of the organisation. For such an agent to work his way up

to a level where he is useful may be impossible---he may never be

accepted. It is in any event time-consuming (years may be involved).

Man p o w e r is consumed in providing the necessary 'back-up'. Criminal

activity takes no cognisance of normal work hours. The activity may

have to be abandoned because of the necessity for the agent to engage in

illegal activities. Finally those who engage on an organised basis are extremely wary of such p e n e tration---one of the purposes of the

organised basis is to inhibit it.

The second method is to obtain access to a person within the group

(an i n f o r m e r ) . Once again the difficulties are o b v i o u s . Again one of

the very purposes of the organised basis is to inhibit such an

o c c u r r e n c e . The access is in any event usually fortuitous. A law

enforcement agency cannot go and acquire an informant in a group simply

b ecause it decides to direct resources to look at that group. On the

other hand, it ma y acquire an informant in a group which, in terms of

its priorities for committing its res o u r c e s , is rightly not held to be

par t i c u l a r l y important but which then must be attended to.

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The third method is to undertake surveillance of those believed to

be involved in illegal activities in order to identify patterns of

association and the relationship between individuals so as to be able to identify the nature of the activities engaged in or p r o p o s e d . If the

activity is illegal this knowledge is used to disrupt the activity and

with a view to, ultimately, receiving the conviction of those concerned. This method is extremely demanding in terms of law enforcement

resources, particularly m a n p o w e r , and places great strain on the

individual law enforcement officers involved. The subjects of

surveillance are frequently alert to the possibility of surveillance and adept in making effective surveillance difficult if not impossible. The difficulties of law enforcement are added to by inability to intercept

communications (written or oral) or to overhear conversations, which are essential concomitants to a number of individuals' engaging in illegal activities on an organised basis. In any event, it has been the

experience in other countries that the use of such powers imposed

substantial additional demands on manpower resources.

As has already been said, much of the evidence received by the Royal

Commission relevant to paragraph (d) of the Terms of Reference was

received subject to the confidentiality and witness-protection

provisions of the various statutes applying to the Commission. It will

be appreciated that it was not likely that the Commission would receive

evidence from individuals currently engaged on an organised basis in

illegal activities. The Commission d i d , h o w e v e r , receive evidence from a number of individuals who had previously engaged in illegal activities of various kinds on an organised basis. The very existence of the

organised basis was a constraint on such persons giving evidence and on

the evidence they gave.

Among those who gave evidence were people who had been detected and

convicted for engaging in illegal activities. The weight to be given to the evidence of such people has to be carefully considered. Frequently

they have a limited view of the activity without appreciating the

limitations of their v i e w---that is a function of the 'organised basis'.

They are often people who are habituated to untruths. There may be an

incentive to give the Commission a particular appreciation of some

aspects of their role and an incentive to conceal other aspects.

In addition to witnesses in the category just referred to the

Commission received evidence from people who had not themselves engaged in any illegal activity but who claimed to have knowledge of both

the illegal activities referred to in paragraphs (a) and (c) of

the Terms of Reference and of the involvement in those activities

of individuals who engaged on an organised basis in other illegal

activities either related or not related to drugs. Once again,

the evidence of such witnesses has to be approached with great

circumspection. When the basis of their evidence was scrutinised it was frequently seen that the witnesses themselves had no personal knowledge of the matters of which they spoke. They w e r e , r a t h e r , reiterating

stories or rumours circulated within their particular community and

which, by reason of the extent and continuity of such circulation and by

reason of their being taken up by newspapers, radio and television, come

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to be accepted by the witness and by other members of the community as

reflecting the true situation.

It was apparent to the Commission that some who sought to give

evidence were interested in advancing their own interests or personal

animosities against an individual rather than the truth, and their

evidence was for these reasons discounted or discarded. There were

those who sought to impose conditions on the giving of their evidence

wh i c h were not acceptable to counsel assisting the Commission or the

solicitors instructing them. As a consequence, no evidence was received from those persons. The Commission received a considerable body of

evidence relevant to paragraph (d) of the Terms of Reference from law

enforcement authorities and the officers of such authorities. With all witnesses there was frequently apparent a tendency to assume that their limited knowledge and experience could be regarded as having universal application to account for all aspects of criminal offences, either of

the kinds referred to in paragraphs (a) and (c) of the Terms of

Reference or otherwise.

The evidence received by the Commission relevant to paragraph (d) of the Terms of R e f erence related to known or detected activities both of

the kind referred to in paragraphs (a) and (c) of the Terms of Reference

and to other illegal activities. With respect to all aspects of

p a r agraph (d) of the Terms of Reference the Commission has no way of

knowing the total extent of the activities or the proportion of the

activities dealt with in evidence to that total.

A body of the evidence received by the Commission was, or was based

upon, an approach conveniently described as deriving a 'theory' or

'theories' of 'organised crime'---often based on the experience of the

United States of A m e r i c a---and, upon applying it to facts considered

relevant to c o n t emporary A u s t ralian events and individuals finding signs establishing the presence of 'organised crime'. Such an approach is

useful but mu s t be used with great care. It is very easy, particularly

wh e n facts are, and can be, but p a rtially known, to fit those facts into

a model of 'organised crime' in Australia. The ease with which this

can be done wh e n taken wi t h the material bias of the proponent of the

c a s e---may result in equally applicable explanations being overlooked or ignored. Facts which are not known may entirely alter the significance

of what is known. There are, moreover, many who are very anxious to

find 'organised crime' on the American model in Australia. Proponents

of this approach have, on occasions, a propensity to seize upon and

emphasise facts which support the approach and ignore facts which do

n o t---or which are contrary to it.

A ROYAL COMMISSION INITIATIVE

In addition to the evidence received from officers of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, the Commonwealth Police Force, the

police forces of all the States and Territories a considerable body of

evidence relevant ^to paragraph (d) of the Terms of Reference was

received from officers of the Commonwealth Police Force who were

specifically designated to carry out investigations on behalf of the

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Commission. It is necessary to say something of the circumstances in

which this o c c u r r e d .

In the course of the Commission's sittings in Sydney towards the end of June 1978 confidential evidence was received relating to the

involvement of individuals and groups of individuals and of commercial enterprise in criminal activities including, but not restricted to, the illegal importation and illegal production of drugs and trafficking in d r u g s . For example, some aspects of this evidence related to the

growing and distribution of marihuana in Australia. In respect of other aspects it was not possible to identify the drug in question or whether

or not it was imported. In the same and yet other cases it was clear

that criminal activities such as illegal gambling, prostitution,

breaches of immigration and currency control laws were involved. The

involvement of illegal activities related to drugs of the kind referred to in paragraphs (a) and (c) of the Terms of Reference was less clear in

some cases than in others. Those providing the evidence were not

prepared to provide it to the New South Wales authorities---the Royal

Commission officers were not in a position to consider the justification or absence of justification for this attitude. Indeed it was not

considered appropriate they do so. It must be remembered that this

Royal Commission had no commission from His Excellency the Governor of

the State of Ne w South Wales. In any event the activities dealt with

were by no means restricted to New South Wales. It was, however,

decided that the matters dealt with by the evidence required

investigation.

On 3 July 1978 Senior Superintendent Headland and Detective

Inspector Lamb of the Commonwealth Police Force, having been attached as investigators to the Royal Commission, were briefed by the Commission's senior instructing solicitor and counsel assisting the Commission. On 10 July 1978 the officers mentioned, together with other officers of the Commonwealth Police F o r c e , organised into an investigative unit and an observation squad commenced operations in Sydney (with their own

communications and resources) in premises separate and discrete from the District Headquarters of the Commonwealth Police of New South Wales. The strength of this unit over a period of its existence from 10 July

1978 to August 1979 varied from six to eighteen officers.

The unit reported initially to counsel assisting the Commission and the senior solicitor instructing them on 20 July 1978. This report

supported many aspects of the evidence which had been received and

indicated other areas justifying further consideration. It revealed that the evidence in question showed part of a larger picture. The most

significant aspect was the prospect of establishing connections between groups of individuals---in Sydney, in other parts of Australia and

overseas---who were engaged on an organised basis in illegal activities both of the kinds referred to in paragraphs (a) and (c) of the Terms of

Reference and otherwise. After consideration of a more detailed report received on 12 August 1978, and after consultation between officers of the investigative group and counsel assisting the Commission and their instructing solicitors, the investigative group was instructed to

proceed, having regard to Terms of Reference (d), to investigate and

report in respect of evidence and intelligence of the involvement of

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certain nominated criminal elements in illegal activities both of the

kind mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (c) of the Terms of Reference and

o t h e r w i s e .

Certain constraints were placed on the i n v e s t i g a t o r s . They were

instructed not to become involved in the arrest of o f f e n d e r s . For them

to have done so would have been so time consuming as to have depleted or

destroyed their ability to have continued their work for the Commission wh i c h would only be in existence for a limited time. The investigators

were i n s t r u c t e d , so far as possible, to avoid trespassing on ground

traversed by the Ne w South Wales Royal Commission into Drug Trafficking being conducted by the Honourable Mr Justice Woodward. They were

further instructed not to inquire in areas identified as being the

subject of current investigation b y any law enforcement agency. On

occasion one or other of these considerations meant that a particular

line of inquiry was closed off to investigators. No publicity was given

to the existence of the investigative unit. Information received by the investigators relevant to contemporaneous or future h a p p e n i n g s , whether related to drug or other o f f e n c e s , was carefully assessed and discussed w i t h counsel assisting the Commission or the solicitors instructing them

and, in proper cases, passed to the appropriate law enforcement

a u t h o r i t y---State or Federal (sometimes to a number of such authorities) in a form appropriate to the circumstances in which the information was

r e c e i v e d .

It should be m e ntioned that a similar course was adopted with all

such information received by the Commission from any source. It is to

be appreciated that the information here being spoken of was not

n e c e s s a r i l y relevant to the Terms of Reference. It required varying

degrees of further investigation or assessment before its significance could be appreciated. In some cases it was information related to

current interests of law enforcement agencies and could be assessed only in the context of all the information known to the agency in question.

The Commission had itself no capacity to investigate the information and had such capacity been available the Commission would have continued

indefinitely. Finally, it must be remembered the information

pot e n t i a l l y related to current criminal activities---it was unlikely

those engaged in them would await the outcome of the Commission.

Throughout its existence the investigative group reported regularly to counsel assisting the Royal Commission and the solicitors instructing them. Those reports and associated material have been incorporated into the confidential transcript. Officers engaged in the investigation gave confidential evidence on a number of occasions. Subject to appropriate

s a f e g u a r d s , officers of the investigative group have briefed the Crime Intelligence Units of the police forces of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland on matters discovered in the course of investigations

identified as being of interest to the police forces of those states.

Arrangements have be e n made for relevant information to be provided to

officers of the Commissioner of Taxation. It will be appreciated that

these activities related to current continuing activities by those

k n o w n , or believed wi t h reason, to be engaged in illegal activities both

related and unrelated to drugs.

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The Task Force

On 14 February 1979 the Royal Commissioner, the Honourable Mr

Justice E. S. Williams, met with the Honourable Mr Justice P. M.

Woodward who was engaged in conducting the New South Wales Royal

Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking. The views of this the

Australian Royal Commission expressed at that meeting was influenced by its assessment of the reports from the investigators as referred to

earlier. It was, however, substantially formed on the overall evidence by then received as to the effectiveness of law enforcement and upon the United States experience ---which the Commissioner and senior counsel had by then seen first hand. Both Royal Commissioners signed a memorandum

comprising recommendations to the Government of the Commonwealth of

Australia and to the New South Wales Government in the following terms:

1. Studies made independently by each Commission have concluded that

the law enforcement effort against drug traffic is significantly

below the level that Governments are entitled to expect because of

the critical lack of co-ordination and co-operation between State and Federal Agencies.

2. The present separate enforcement effort, State and Federal, results in wasteful deployment of resources, duplication of effort and

suboptimal performance.

3. There is an urgent need to develop co-operative modes of

investigation probably using the 'task force' or strike force inter­ agency models of co-operation developed in the U.S. to eliminate

wasteful duplication of effort and to increase efficiency.

4. Consultation between the Commissions which had been intended to

occur from an early point of time has recently resulted in the

appreciation by each Commission that the other Commission had come to the same conclusion on the matters mentioned in paragraphs 1--3

h e r e o f .

5. These questions were explored in a recent discussion between senior

counsel for each Commission in Sydney. As a result a meeting was

convened in Brisbane between the Royal Commissioners and the legal staffs of each Commission on Wednesday 14 February 1979.

6. As a result of this meeting the Royal Commissioners concluded as a

matter of urgency to urge the Commonwealth Government and the

Government of New South Wales that a joint task force be set up.

At the same time documentation detailing the composition of the task force and other matters relevant to its organisation was signed by the

Royal Commissioners. On 5 May 1979 the Honourable the Prime Minister of

the Commonwealth of Australia and the Honourable the Premier of New

South Wales jointly announced the establishment of a Commonwealth State joint task force aimed at securing the conviction of persons engaged in drug trafficking. The arrangements in respect of the task force the

subject of that announcement substantially accepted the recommendations made by the Royal Commissioners and contained in the documents earlier mentioned. The joint task force commenced operations on 16 July 1979.

Some of the officers of the Commonwealth Police Force seconded to the

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Royal Commission to carry out the investigations previously referred to are serving on the task force.

Both Royal Commissions provided material relevant to the

d etermination of targets appropriate for the attention of the joint task force and p r o v i s i o n has been made for appropriate access by the joint

task force to materials held by the Royal Commissions relevant to the

inquiry of the task force. The terms of agreement between the

respective Governments provide for the Royal Commissions to receive

m o n t h l y reports from the joint task force until such time as a

p a r ticular Royal Commission has presented its final report. This Joint Task Force and task forces in general are dealt with in Part XIII

Chapter 8, 'Task Forces'.

THE IMPORTANCE O F SYDNEY IN RELATION TO ILLEGAL DRUGS

Both the investigations on behalf of the Commission and the Joint

Task Force were set up in Sydney. The Commission had received evidence

from the earliest days of its sittings of the importance of Sydney in

the context of illegal importation of drugs into Australia and the

illegal trafficking of drugs within Australia from Mr H. Bates,

A s sistant S e cretary Investigations Branch, Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, and responsible for the operations of the Narcotics

Bureau. Mr B a t e s ' vi e w that Sydney was the major trafficking centre for

drugs in Australia and that most of the major shipments of drugs

entering Australia go to Sydney for redistribution was supported by the O f f i cer-in-Charge of the Australian Capital Territory Police Drug Squad, by the Officer-in-Charge of the Tasmanian Police Force Drug Bureau, by

the Commissioner of the Commonwealth Police Force, by the Commander of

the Southern Re g i o n (Victoria and South Australia) of the Narcotics

B u r e a u , by the Chief Investigator in charge of the Narcotics Bureau in

Pe r t h Western Australia, by the Officer-in-Charge of the Victoria Police C.I.B. Drug Bureau, from the former Officer-in-Charge of that bureau, by the Chief Inspector of the Northern Territory Police Force and by the

Senior Narcotics Agent of the Narcotics Bureau in charge in Darwin as

well as from the Regional Commander of the Eastern Region of the

Narcotics Bureau. It is true that some of these witnesses coupled

Sydney and M e l bourne together and that the more recent evidence received b y the Commission in Perth indicated an upsurge of importation directly to P e r t h---although even then it was stated some heroin seized in Perth

was thought to have come from Sydney. The officer in charge of the New

South Wales police drug squad did not think Sydney was the

'headquarters'. He spoke of heroin coming to Sydney from Melbourne,

Perth and Brisbane, 'it is a matter of where the supply is available to

the particular group that is selling it'. He also, however, spoke of

the attractions of Sydney as a market, in the context of it probably

being the most attractive market in Australia.

Support for the view of Sydney as a focal point was found in other

confidential evidence received b y the Commission and is exemplified by a comparison of the seizures recorded by the Bureau of Customs of certain

drugs illegally imported into Australia, in New South Wales and in

Victoria. The seizures for the most part were effected in the capital

cities .

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HEROIN

1977 1978

Australia 11 726.9 grams 17 879.50 grams

Ne w South Wales

(Sydney) 6 420.42 grams 12 743.9 grams

Victoria

(Melbourne) 1 573.75 grams 2 070.3 grams

CANNABIS RESIN

1977 1978

Australia 228 799.40 grams 2 429 410.39 grams

New South Wales

(Sydney) 155 853.20 grams 2 148 436.7 grams

Victoria

(Melbourne) 13 806.10 grams 176 969.60 grams

It should be noted that there is no basis for a reliable estimate of

the quantities of drugs illegally imported and not seized.

A further reason for selecting Sydney was that the Commission had

received a considerable body of evidence that illegal gambling, illegal race betting, prostitution and pornography we r e---and had been for many y e a r s---conducted in Sydney on a large scale. Such activities generate considerable cash flows and those engaged in them, on the basis of

experience overseas, are attracted to the money making opportunities afforded b y drug trafficking. This general topic is further dealt with

in Part XIII Chapter 5, 'Financial Controls'.

Finally, Sydney has most of the attractions of the bigger cities of

the Western World. It has excellent communications with other

countries. It is in a country which is stable politically and which is

anxious to attract overseas funds. As has already been said, law

enforcement in Australia is inhibited in dealing with large-scale

continuing criminal activities. It would be foolish to assume that this is not apparent to those outside Australia who engage in such

activities. As will be seen later there are connections between such

individuals overseas and Australian c r i m i n a l s .

CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES RELATED TO DRUGS

It is evident that in order to be available to the ultimate consumer

drugs have to be procured (manufactured, bought or stolen), transported and distributed. To do those things even on a limited scale is

frequently beyond the capacity of any one person. A g r o u p , and

consequently a degree of organisation, must be in v o l v e d . If the drugs

are to come from overseas (as does presently the heroin illegally used

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in Australia) or as a consequence of cultivation in areas relatively

remote from the market and the consumer (as is much of the cannabis

consumed in Australia) the group becomes larger and the organisation

more complex.

The evidence received by the Commission indicates that the groups of persons known to engage in the illegal importation, exportation,

pro d u c t i o n and trafficking in drugs referred to in paragraph (a) of the

Terms of Reference or in the illegal use or diversion of drugs lawfully

obtained referred to in p a ragraph (c) may for present purposes

conveniently be considered as falling into three broad categories:

A. Persons who themselves use drugs or who are immediately involved

with others who use d r u g s .

B . Persons who also engage in illegal activities not related to drugs.

C. Persons w i t h a common national or ethnic b a c k g r o u n d .

The evidence establishes that groups of individuals falling within each of the three categories mentioned engage in illegal activities

related to drugs other than the illegal activities mentioned in

p a r agraph (a) of the Terms of Reference or in the illegal use or the

diversion m e n tioned in paragraph (c). T h u s :

1. Groups of those habituated to barbituates or amphetamines or other

medical drugs and within category A above may engage in one or some

or all of the following activities:

(a) theft of domestic appliances particularly colour television

sets from dwelling houses in order to raise money to finance

their drug habit. The Commission received confidential

evidence from one girl that she and companions stole 15 to 20

sets a day over a period of weeks on this b a s i s . There is also

evidence to support the view that extensive and elaborate

organisations are necessary for disposing of these goods.

There is other evidence suggesting sets stolen in, for example, M e lbourne find their way to Sydney and Adelaide on a regular

b a s i s .

(b) theft from doctor's surgeries of prescription forms.

(c) forging of prescriptions either on forms stolen in the way

referred to above or on prescription forms specially fabricated

for the p u r p o s e .

(d) theft of drugs from pharmacies and doctor's motor vehicles or

p r e m i s e s .

2. Groups within any one of the three categories m a y engage in the

illegal importation of drugs into Australia. To do this may

i n v o l v e ;

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(a) breach of the foreign exchange control laws to remove money

from Australia to purchase the drugs o v e r s e a s .

(b) the theft or forgery of Australian passports to facilitate a

courier's entry into Australia.

(c) breach of the passport and immigration laws in order, for

e x a m p l e , to make it appear that a courier's journey originated in places not normally associated with narcotics importation or to get into Australia a person to assist in cultivating.

(d) recourse to a criminal activity, such as fraud, embezzlement or robbery to raise the necessary f u n d s .

3. Within groups falling within any one of the three categories

mentioned above violence may be resorted to for any of a number of

reasons or a combination thereof. Violence may be used to enforce

accountability against a member or members of the group. It may be

used to protect the activities of the group from incursion by other

g r o u p s . It ma y be used to seize drugs in the possession of

another group or to repel such an attempt by another g r o u p . It may

be used in retribution for money having been paid for 'drugs' which

turned out not to be a drug at all---glucose not h e r o i n , grass

clippings not cannabis.

In the period from late May to early September 1979 the Royal

Commission visited the various cities in which it had previously

received evidence for the purpose of up-dating various aspects of that evidence. On the occasion of these later sittings officers in charge of the various State and Territory Drug S q u a d s , and from the Narcotics

Bureau's regional offices, among others, gave evidence. It was most

striking that these officers expressed concern at the increased

incidence of people with substantial criminal records but not previously involved in drugs who were detected as involved in drug trafficking or

seeking to become involved with those who were engaged in drug

trafficking. All such witnesses also expressed great concern at the

increased incidence of violence amongst those engaged in illegal

production, illegal importation and illegal trafficking of drugs. They spoke of it being increasingly common to seize weapons from those

involved in drug related activities. Mention was also made of the

increasing use by drug traffickers of sophisticated communications

equipment. This included commercially available equipment which

permitted the trafficker to search out and listen in to police

t r a n s m i s s i o n s .

On 31 May 1979 the Officer-in-Charge of the Drug Squad of the South

Australia Police expressed concern at the increased prospensity to

violence, the increased incidence of violence and the likelihood that it would not be long before a police officer was shot. On 2 July 1979 in

the course of a gun battle at an hotel in Adelaide between police and

alleged drug traffickers a person allegedly engaged in drug trafficking was shot by police officers. Two others were charged with the attempted

murder of a police officer. A further illustration is provided by

evidence given by the Officer-in-Charge of the Victoria Police Drug

Bureau in respect of two operations conducted by that Bureau in 1978.

The first involved a syndicate which was using prostitutes working in St

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KiIda area to supply heroin to street level u s e r s . It involved both

known criminals and prostitutes. The result of the first operation was

summarised for the Commission as f o l l o w s :

(i) Persons charged

(ii) Charges laid:

conspiracy

trafficking in heroin

trafficking in cannabis

burglary

p o s session of firearms

(iii) Drugs seized:

heroin

cannabis

5

4

4

1

1

1

15 grams

147 Thai sticks

amphetamine 2 grams

(iv) Other goods seized:

2 x .22 magnum pistols

2 x shotguns

stolen property

One offender was found in possession of sixty (60) capsules of heroin

the street value of which was estimated by police to be $3000. She

admitted selling sixty capsules of heroin daily over the previous two

and a half m o n t h s . This represents heroin to the value of $225 000 with

an admitted profit of $75 000. Another offender admitted selling heroin valued at $180 000 over a three-month period. The profit was $57 000.

The second operation involved people concerned in the conduct of

massage parlours who were trafficking in heroin (on the basis of

evidence received by the C o mmission, a not uncommon connection). A

feature was the amount of stolen property, including colour television sets and stereo equipment recovered. The result was summarised as

f o l lows:

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(i) Persons charged 3

(ii) Charges laid:

trafficking heroin 4

selling heroin 4

handling stolen property 11

felon in possession 1

(iii) Drugs seized:

heroin 4 grams

(iv) Mo n e y seized:

$37 000

(v) Firearms seized:

1 x .32 auto pistol

3 x rifles

1 x 12 gauge shotgun

(vi) Other goods seized:

TV sets

stereo equipment

The two operations in Victoria mentioned above are not u n i q u e . They are illustrative of the kind of activity increasingly being dealt with

by law enforcement agencies throughout the larger cities of Australia. The scale of criminal activities apparent from the details set out above might fairly be regarded as indicating the involvement of persons who

engage in illegal activities on an organised basis.

Similar evidence to that just set out was subsequently given by the

officers-in-charge of the drug squads of the New South Wales, A.C.T. and Queensland police forces. Indeed Detective-Inspector P. A. G. Lawrence of the New South Wales police f o r c e , who had recently become officer-in­ charge of that force's drug squad after 29 years general criminal

investigation experience told the Commission on 16 August 1979;

Some of the users of those drugs are not in actual fact

criminally involved but when one goes into the area of supply,

I find that many criminals have moved into that field because

it is a lucrative field. I was surprised actually to find as I

went through various daily arrest dossiers to see the records

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of a good ma n y criminals that I had dealt with in the past

always simply in the area of ordinary crime.

(CT).

A criminal case history

An a p p r e ciation of the implications on a b roader scale than that

just referred to of the engagement in illegal importation and

t r a f ficking of persons who engage on an organised basis in other illegal activities is perhaps most v ividly gained in terms of the activities of

a par t i c u l a r individual. The individual is chosen not because he is

u n i q u e---far from it. He is chosen because sufficient is known of his

activities to be able to gain more appreciation of them and because he

is serving a term of imprisonment and is thus removed from the scene of

his previous activities. In October 1978 Murray Stewart Riley, having

p l e a d e d guilty, was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for his part in

the attempted illegal importation into Australia of 2.7 tonnes of

cannabis in the form of Buddha sticks. In early June 1978 this quantity

was brought to A u s tralia and landed at Port Macquarie or was found

aboard a yacht boarded by law enforcement officers at F orster in New

South Wales. The 2.7 tonnes was part of a larger quantity which a group

of individuals intended to illegally import into Australia. In April

1979 Riley and others had pleaded guilty to having conspired to cheat

and defraud A m e r i c a n Exp r e s s---the offences involved travellers' cheques and w e r e not r elated to the a t t empted illegal importation referred to

a b o v e . Riley also pl e a s e d guilty to a further charge of having forged

an a p p l i c a t i o n for an Aus t r a l i a n passport on 18 April 1975.

Ri l e y had be e n referred to b y the Honourable Mr Justice Moffitt in

his 1974 Re p o r t o n certain matters relating to organised crime in clubs

in N e w South Wales. It appears from that report that Riley was a

detective in the N e w South Wales Police Force. He resigned in the early

1950s following his being returned to uniformed duty. He was

depa r t m e n t a l l y charged with taking out communications for persons in

g a o l . After he left the force Riley was convicted in New Zealand of

attempted br i b e r y of a police inspector and sentenced to 12 months'

i m p r i s o n m e n t . He was deported from New Zealand on 1 March 1967. Mr

J ustice Mof f i t t was satisfied that on this occasion Riley went to New

Z ealand at the behest of some A u s tralian criminals specifically to bribe a N e w Zealand police officer wi t h a view to ultimately procuring the

escape of A u s t ralians then in custody in New Zealand in connection with

charges of dis h o n e s t y relating to a scheme of pyramid selling. Dealing

in some detail wi t h Riley's activities in relation to a number of clubs

in Sydney M r Justice Moffitt found that Riley both organised and

p a r t i c i p a t e d in p r o curing pa y m e n t to himself or others for goods and

services not in fact provided to the clubs or procured the clubs to pay

for goods and services actually provided but at a rate in excess of the

go i n g commercial rate. Mr Justice Moffitt found that Riley engaged in

these activities in association wi t h other residents in Sydney and known to law e n f o rcement agencies to engage in illegal activities of various

kinds, p a r t i c u l a r l y illegal gambling and race betting. One of those Mr

J ustice M offitt found to be an active associate of Riley's was an

Ame r i c a n regarded b y law enforcement agencies in the United States as

engaged in that c ountry in continuing large-scale criminal activities.

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Confidential evidence received by this Royal Commission establishes that Riley c o n t i n u e d , up to the time of his arrest in respect of the

attempted illegal importation referred to, to associate with persons in Australia, in the United States, in Hongkong, in the Phillipines and in

Thailand regarded by law enforcement authorities in those places as

being engaged in organised criminal activities. That is to say, he

visited such p eople regularly and stayed with them. He telephoned them

regularly and wrote to them regularly. To facilitate his travel he

travelled under a number of different names and had a number of

Australian passports. In particular, Riley visited regularly persons on the West Coast of the United States who are known b y law enforcement

authorities to have been engaged in criminal activities on an organised basis. He engaged in various ventures with such persons, both in the

United States and elsewhere. The precise nature of all of these

ventures cannot be determined on the information presently available. Some of the ventures can be identified as business ventures of varying

degrees of legitimacy. Other ventures were, or probably were, criminal activities or to facilitate criminal activities of various kinds both in Australia and in other cou n t r i e s .

The magnitude of the operation involved in the attempted illegal

importation referred to, and the scale of the law enforcement effort

necessary to cope with such activities is indicated not only by the

quantity of drugs involved but also by the following considerations.

The drugs in question were acquired in South-East Asia, loaded on to a

large fishing vessel acquired for the purpose and transported to the

South Pacific. Part of the cargo was concealed in a wreck which had

been located and identified as being suitable for the p u r p o s e . The

balance was transferred to another vessel which had been acquired to

transport it to Australia. Of the order of 25 false or forged

Australian passports were used to facilitate the movements of those

involved in the conspiracy. Once landed it was intended that the drug

be transported by motor vehicles to distribution points and thence into the market. The extent of the distribution network and the degree of

organisation necessary to dispose of such a quantity of drugs is

o b v i o u s . A similar course was then to be taken in respect of the drugs

remaining concealed on the wreck. The detection, interception and

apprehension of Riley and his accomplices involved officers of the

police forces of New South Wales, Queensland and the British Solomon

Islands and of the Narcotics Bureau together with other officers of the Australian Bureau of Customs and of the British Solomons' Customs. It

also involved units of the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal

Australian Navy. The operations extended over a period of weeks and

required a large commitment of manpower and equipment throughout the

p e r i o d .

Prior to their arrest the conspirators were seen to be associating

with persons regarded by law enforcement authorities in Australia as

having been long involved in many kinds of illegal activities including illegal gambling, illegal betting, prostitution, pornography, crimes of violence and crimes involving the theft of property as well as in

previous illegal importations of drugs. Not all of these associations were directed to the illegal importations of the cannabis referred to. Some were identified as directed to the furtherance of other criminal

activities. The purpose of others could not be identified.

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Evidence received by the Commission shows it is typical of persons

of the kind referred to in the previous paragraph that they are never

observed to engage in legitimate employment although on occasions they claim to be so e n g a g e d . They live in expensive d w e l l i n g s , drive

expensive c a r s , dine at expensive r e s t a u r a n t s , travel extensively within A u stralia and overseas. They are prolific users of the telephone and

avid attenders of m e e t i n g s , p a r t i cularly in bars and restaurants. At

least one individual who satisfied the foregoing criteria h a s , according to confidential evidence received by the Commission, had a telephone

bill showing hundreds of dollars worth of calls a month over a period

and was at the same time in receipt of Commonwealth Unemployment

B e n e f i t s---under a number of different n a m e s . Individuals of the kind

being spoken of here are always conscious that their activities may be

the subject of interest by law enforcement agencies. They constantly

take precautions to render surveillance difficult and to expose any

surveillance. They are alert to identify any police informer. Any

informer identified is ruthlessly dealt with. They deal only with

people who are known to them or who are introduced to them by someone

they t r u s t , whose 'credentials' they trust and who they have come to

accept after a period of testing.

It is difficult for law enforcement agencies to identify the precise role of such people in any particular illegal activity which has

occurred or wh i c h has been planned. They are frequently not directly

involved but p rocure others to be involved. Their own involvement,

apart from pr o c u r i n g in the sense just spoken of, m a y be to do any one

or more of p r o c u r i n g or providing f i n a n c e , facilitating intr o d u c t i o n s , co-ordinating activities and providing access to individuals with

p a r ticular skills or attributes (for example forgery or a propensity to violence). Ap a r t from being part of a criminal conspiracy such

individuals do not necessarily commit a criminal o f f e n c e . Their role

varies from activity to activity. Riley is not u n i q u e . He simply

provides an example of the kind of individual, who according to the

evidence received by the Commission, is increasingly being identified by law enforcement authorities as engaged, among other things, in the

illegal importation of drugs into Australia and in the illegal

p r o duction of and trafficking in drugs within Australia.

OBTAINING CONVICTIONS

It must be appreciated that it is one thing for law enforcement

agencies to obtain information and to make observations with

implications of the kind discussed in the preceding paragraph: it is

altogether another thing for them to be in a position to immediately

allocate the resources necessary to pursue the investigation. Even

then, they cannot be assured of obtaining admissible evidence so as to

lead to the conviction of individuals. The reasons for this were

considered earlier in this Chapter in dealing with the concept of

'organised basis' for criminal activities and with the nature and source of evidence available to the Commission. Mention was also made of the

burden on the manpower resources of law enforcement authorities imposed by surveillance and associated methods available to gather information about the individual concerned. Resources are finite, they may already be committed so that an opportunity cannot be exploited. To turn

information into evidence, where it can be d o n e , gives rise to serious

A339

questions in terms of priorities in the allocation of resources of law

enforcement and imposes great demands on the resources allocated

e l s e w h e r e .

For the Commission to be persuaded that there are individuals who

engage on an organised basis in criminal activities of all kinds

(including those referred to in paragraphs (a) and paragraph (c) of the

Terms of Reference) and that m a n y such individuals are known to law

enforcement agencies is therefore not to be taken as necessarily

involving a criticism of the agencies. It perhaps rather reflects that

the agencies ought to be given more discerning and effective support

from all segments of Australian society than they are presently

r e c e i v i n g .

PATTERNS OF ASSOCIATION BETWEEN CRIMINAL ELEMENTS AND GROUPS

Mention was made earlier of the group of Commonwealth Police

officers which carried out investigations on behalf of the Commission. There is no doubt that many (indeed most) of the individuals identified

and subject to the attention of the group and aspects of their

activities were already in some degree known to elements within law

enforcement agencies. However, on the evidence received, the Commission is inclined to the view that the work of the investigative group

identified the existence of patterns of association among individuals and groups both in various parts of Australia and outside Australia the

full significance of which had not previously been appreciated by law enforcement authorities ---not least because of the absence of an overall view. In addition, certain individuals with strong associations in

organised criminal activities in other countries, particularly the

United States, who had not previously been identified by law enforcement in Australia were identified. That the investigative group was able to

achieve these things was not least because it was less constrained by

the arbitary administrative and territorial divisions previously spoken of as constraining the activities of law enforcement agencies. It

should be mentioned that one area where the investigative group was not

able to give the attention it deserved, owing to limitations of

resources (manpower and accounting skills) and particularly time, was the area of financial transactions and movements of funds within

Australia and to and from Australia b y those engaged in criminal

activities. There is no doubt that there is movement of funds to

purchase drugs overseas. Funds obtained as a consequence of illegal

drug trading must be utilised and dispersed. Confidential evidence was received by the Commission of commercial organisations in and out of

Australia being engaged in treating the proceeds of illegal activities both inside and outside Australia in such a way as to render their

origin undiscernable. As has been said, it was not possible to

investigate these activities in any detail or to evaluate the evidence. There is however no doubt that such activities go on. The matter is

dealt with further in Part XIII Chapter 5, 'Financial Controls'.

Various considerations, substantially those imposed by limitations of time and resources, led to the Commission's investigators

increasingly focussing their attention on connections between

individuals and groups in Australia, particularly, but by no means

A340

exclusively, in Sydney, and individuals and groups in the United States. A number of individuals with criminal records in the United States who

are there regarded by law enforcement authorities as having associated with, and having been involved in, the activities of organised crime in

that country were looked at. What was discovered m a y be summarised as

f o l l o w s :

1. Individuals regarded by United States law enforcement authorities as involved in organised crime visit Australia, particularly Sydney, regularly and wi t h some frequency. They there associate with

individuals regarded by A u s tralian law enforcement authorities as involved in substantial criminal activities.

2. Individuals regarded by United States law enforcement authorities as involved or having been involved in organised crime in that country, in some cases with convictions or outstanding charges relating to

that involvement reside in or about S y d n e y . These people maintain

c ommunication by exchanging visits, by telephone and letter, with

individuals in the United States regarded by law enforcement

authorities there as involved in organised criminal activities.

They regularly associate in Australia with persons regarded by

A u s t ralian law enforcement authorities as involved in substantial criminal activities.

3. Individuals regarded by Australian law enforcement authorities as

engaged in substantial criminal activities or as associates of such individuals visit the United States regularly and frequently and

there associate with persons regarded by United States law

enforcement authorities as involved in organised crime. Between

visits regular communications seem to be maintained.

4. Some of the Australians referred to in the preceding paragraph have

been convicted of offences relating to the illegal importation of

drugs into Australia, the illegal production or trafficking of drugs in Australia or of other offences connected with such activities.

Others are believed by A u s t ralian law enforcement authorities to be involved in such activities. Similarly, some of the individuals in

the United States have been or are suspected of being engaged in the

illegal importation of drugs into the United States or the illegal

production or trafficking of drugs in that country.

5. Some of the Australians referred to and some of the Americans are

known to m aintain common association with individuals in South-East Asia regarded as being involved in drug trafficking.

Some of the associations referred to have been terminated. M a n y ,

however are continuing. Some have existed for a long time, some are of

fairly recent origin. Certain individuals, mainly A m e r i c a n s , have been identified as acting as facilitators of introductions between

Australians of the kinds spoken of and Americans of the kind spoken o f .

To know, however, of associations is not to know of their implications.

To know of the implications there must at least be access to the

substance of communications exchanged and to the subject matter of

discussions which take place on occasions of meeting. It cannot be said

that it necessari'ly follows that the associations referred to between Australians and Americans are directed to the illegal importation of

A341

drugs into Australia or to the illegal production or trafficking of

drugs in Australia. It can be confidently said of some occasions in the

past that associations did have these implications. In others there is

a very strong degree of probabilty they did. Other aspects of the

associations referred to can be said to be directed to criminal

activities having no relationship to drugs. In yet other aspects the

associations are directed to the furtherance of commercial activities of varying degrees of legitimacy in Australia, in the United States or in

other countries.

DOES A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP CONTROL ILLEGAL DRUGS IN AUSTRALIA?

The Commission directed considerable attention to the question of whether there is a single individual or group controlling illegal drug

activities in Australia or in any part of A u s t r a l i a . There are people

committed to the vi e w that there is such an individual or group.

O t h e r s , seemingly less v o c a l , are committed to the opposite view.

A number of witnesses who asserted that there was a controlling

individual or group were f o u n d , upon examination, to be simply repeating something of general circulation within the community or the subject of press reports. The background of these was such that they were not in a

position to be likely to know the facts of which they spoke. Other

witnesses with experience of the drug community as well as members of

that community also made such assertions. It is not, in the

Commission's experience, unknown for drug users to suggest associations or claim a role or a place for themselves in an organisation in order to

impress the Commission or others rather than to reflect the true

situation.

The Commission received evidence, often from marihuana u s e r s , that a single controlling individual or group caused marihuana to be withdrawn from the market so that it could be flooded with heroin. On some

occasions when a witness asserted this another witness from the same

locality, but with a different source of supply, claimed no difficulty in obtaining m a r i h u a n a . On some occasions the shortage was seasonal and marihuana subsequently became available. On other occasions the supply was affected by successful law enforcement action. The Commissioner

found it was always difficult for a proponent of a single controlling

individual or group to identify the area which was the subject of the

alleged control.

There is no doubt that on occasions some individuals in a particular locality who were deprived of access to a supply of marihuana turned to

other drugs and that criminals took advantage of the situation to supply them with heroin. It does not follow, however, that these criminals

brought about the situation. There is furthermore a question-mark in

respect of what the deprived users would have done had heroin not been

available. A number of them certainly would have in any event obtained

access to d r u g s .

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On the other hand the Commission was left in no doubt that despite

suggestions b y some user/dealers that there was no need to 'push'

heroin, this drug is potentially so profitable to those who traffic in

it that a v e r y powerful incentive to 'push' it is always there. Those

who could be d e s cribed as victims of the d r u g---the hardcore users whose

d e s p eration leads them to illegal activities to finance their ha b i t---

have no hesitation, as the evidence showed in obtaining money by

p r o moting trade in the d r u g .

The Com m i s s i o n is satisfied that on the basis of the e v i d e n c e , it

cannot be said that there is a single individual or group of individuals

controlling illegal drug related activities in Australia or in any part of Australia. There are rather a series of associations or groups

centred about par t i c u l a r individuals, not necessarily restricted to a par t i c u l a r geographical location or to a particular kind of criminal

activity. There are often, but not necessarily, associations between

v arious g r o u p s . A p a r ticular individual may participate at different

degrees and at different levels in the activities of more than one

group at a par t i c u l a r time. Whilst there is usually a central core to

the group centred on a particular individual and his close associates

the other components of the group will vary from time to time and from

one illegal act i v i t y to another being engaged in at the same time.

Members identified as being part of the central core of a particular

group may be identified as being involved in the activities of another

g r o u p . There are identifiable individuals who provide the

e n t r e p r e n e u r a l , organisational and financial skills necessary to

conduct criminal activities of a substantial and continuing kind. They ma y make some or all of these skills available only to the group or to

the group and others outside it acceptable to them. Such an individual

ma y stand outside any group but be available to anyone who is

a c c e p t a b l e . Some groups or individuals may restrict their activities to d r u g s---others do not. It may be that the increasing tendency for

pe o p l e wi t h criminal backgrounds to be identified as being involved in

drug and drug related offences is an indication that such people are

b e i n g attracted b y the expanding market to the potential of large profit w h i c h u n d o ubtedly exists in the area of drugs. On the other h a n d , it

ma y be that such people have always been involved but have only recently

b e e n so identified.

The evidence of associations between United States and Australian

criminals does not, in the Commission's view, establish that United

States criminals control criminal activities in Australia. It rather

indicates that A u s tralian criminals seek access to the experience and

expertise of United States criminals to assist them in identifying

opportunities and in exploiting those opportunities to the maximum

advantage. The possibility that the United States figures are investing mo n e y in Australia cannot be ignored. The availability to United States enforcement authorities of remedies permitting them to seize and forfeit entire business enterprises in which illegally obtained money has been

invested and increasing concentration on the use of these remedies may

p rovide the n e cessary i m p e t u s .

It is essential to appreciate that the situation being spoken of

in the p r o ceeding paragraphs is not static. By the time this is read it

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may have c h a n g e d . For reasons canvassed in dealing with the concept of

1 organised basis' the knowledge of authorities will almost certainly lag

behind the changes. There is something to be said for the view that the

situation outlined ma y present an opportunity for exploitation by an

individual or group seeking to become the controlling influence over the illegal importation, illegal production, and illegal trafficking of

drugs in Australia or in a particular part of Australia.

Another factor which ought to be remarked upon at this stage is that

an increase in the effectiveness of law enforcement in stopping the

illegal importation of drugs into Australia or the illegal production or illegal trafficking in drugs within Australia may provide the occasion for increased involvement by criminals in providing the necessary

sophistication, finance and ruthlessness to cope with the increased

enforcement efficiency.

On the basis of the evidence received by the Commission it is rare

for members of groups of the kind being spoken of as engaging on an

organised basis in illegal activities both related to drugs and not

related to drugs to themselves use d r u g s . People who illegally use

drugs are however utilised by such people to engage in illegal

activities related to drugs of the kind spoken of by Term of Reference

(a) and Term of Reference (c) and otherwise. The use of such people may

be facilitated by the ability to control their supplies of the drug on

which they are d e p e n d e n t . Such use is seen particularly at the lower

levels of distribution.

INVOLVEMENT OF ETHNIC GROUPS

M ention was made earlier of the involvement of persons of a similar

national or ethnic background in certain of the illegal activities

referred to by paragraph (a) or (c) of the Terms of Reference and in

other illegal activities both related and not related to drugs. There

is in the Australian community a tendency for some immigrants,

particularly those whose native tongue is not English, to congregate in discrete communities within the general Australian community. This

occurs both in the larger cities and in certain rural areas. Such an

aggregation may be substantially composed of people from the same place of origin in the home country or with family or clan ties. A proportion

of such an aggregate may never become fluent in English and consequently be dependent on others who a r e . Many such people come from a background

of poor economic cir c u m s t a n c e s . A number come from backgrounds in their country of origin where the production, distribution, and use of d r u g s , wh i c h are prohibited imports in Australia and whose production and use

in Australia is prohibited by Australian law, are part of their daily

lives. Their continued contact with their place of origin gives them

access to a supply of such drugs or makes them knowledgable in the

skills of cultivation. Some of them engage in small crop farming or

similar activities in Australia, an ideal situation for the cultivation

of cannabis.

Among some ethnic or national groups the distrust of public

authority and police is ingrained due to their experience in their

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country of origin. There has developed in their society a hierarchy

based on considerations of blood r e l a t i o n s h i p , r e g i o n a l , religious or similar affiliations which is independent of civil authorities. These c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , together with the comparative attractiveness of

Australia, par t i c u l a r l y as an opportunity to advance their, or their

children's, economic position, provide opportunities for unscrupulous persons to exploit members of the ethnic or national groups. Such

exploitation m a y include but is not restricted to the engagement on an

organised basis in the illegal importation and/or the illegal production and the illegal trafficking of drugs in Australia. Other activities

involved may be illegal gambling wi t h its associated activities relating to the provision of credit and the collection of debts thereby

i n c u r r e d , br e a c h of the immigration laws, and the perpetration of fraud on authorities responsible for the payment of social service benefits

and workers' compensation. The considerations giving rise to the

opportunity for exploitation usually mean that the exploiters are

members of the same ethnic or national g r o u p .

Ethnic and national groups of the kind considered above existing

within Australian society impose great difficulties on law enforcement. There is a language b a r r i e r . Covert inquiries are very difficult to

c o n d u c t . For law enforcement to infiltrate ethnic groups and

communities almost always requires the use of individuals of the same

ethnic or national background. The groups are tightly knit so that if a

person of a p a r ticular ethnic or national background becomes a member of a law enforcement agency it is generally well known within the

community. Whilst such membership is frequently a matter of pride to

the greater pro p o r t i o n of the community the knowledge makes it very

difficult for the particular law enforcement officer to be used in any

long term penetration. Mention has already been made of the distrust of

some members of ethnic communities of civil a u t h o r i t i e s . They do not

turn to such authorities for assistance or provide them with

information. There may be an incentive for a politician who has a large

constituency with a particular ethnic or national background to bring

pressure to bear if it is thought that a group is receiving attention.

The press, radio and television may tend to publicise the involvement of members of a particular ethnic or national group in any wrongful

activity and this tends to bring about a reaction by members of the

group who have no association wi t h the activity.

Considerations relevant to ethnic groups have been canvassed at some length b ecause the evidence received by the Commission leaves no room

for doubt that there are within the Australian community persons who

engage on an organised basis in the illegal importation, production and trafficking of drugs and who also engage on an organised basis in other

illegal acitivities bo t h related and not related to drugs and who carry

on their activities within an ethnic or national community group the

members of which they exploit for the p u r p o s e . None of this is to say

that Australians do not engage in such activities; much less that any

particular ethnic or national group is to be thereby con d e m n e d . The

situation d o e s , however, give rise to discrete and unique difficulties and so is wo r t h y of separate t r e a t m e n t . It is now proposed to advert to

the effect of the evidence as it dealt with some specific ethnic groups.

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Chinese

Evidence received by the Commission establishes that groups of

Chinese have long been involved in the illegal importation into

Australia and in the illegal trafficking in Australia of drugs,

particularly opium and opium derivatives. The evidence further supports the view that whilst originally this activity m ay have been directed to support demand within the Chinese community, in more recent times

sections of this community have become and are involved in the illegal

importation of heroin for distribution outside the Chinese community. The evidence also indicates that the same groups are heavily involved in illegal gambling and associated activity. Whilst the evidence does not permit it to be said that the groups referred to are part of Chinese

secret societies known to be involved in heroin trafficking in other

countries, the evidence is such that it would be unwise to discount this possibility, at least in some cases.

Lebanese and Greek

Groups of persons from the Lebanon are and have for some considerable

time been involved in the illegal importation into Australia and in the distribution within Australia of heroin, cannabis resin and cannabis oil in particular. Such groups are also involved in illegal gambling and

associated activities and also prostitution. Lebanese groups have been known to obtain assistance from Australian criminal groups particularly in the area of distribution. Evidence received by the Commission,

indicated that funds generated by some of the Lebanese groups involved in the illegal importation and trafficking of drugs may be used to

finance political activities in the Lebanon. With the exception of the financing of political activities the comments made in respect of

Lebanese groups a r e , on the evidence, applicable to groups within the

Greek community. In cases of both the Greek and Lebanese communities

some clubs operated by and for the benefit of members of the community

seem to play a considerable role in facilitating the organisation of

illegal activities of all kinds.

T urkish and Italian

Turkish nationals have been identified as involved, in organised

g r o u p s , in the cultivation and distribution of c a n n a b i s . This is

notably so in South Australia and Victoria. The arrests of persons

involved in the cultivation of cannabis in Australia and in its

distribution are characterised by considerable involvement of Italian nationals. Organised groups consisting wholly of Italian nationals have been also identified as being engaged in the illegal importation of

heroin, hashish and hashish oil into Australia and in the illegal

trafficking of these drugs within Australia. Once again there is

involvement of the same groups in illegal gambling and in prostitution. In respect of all groups breaches of the immigration laws and the

foreign exchange control regulations occur.

Investigations carried out on the Commission's behalf indicate a

closer degree of association between p ersons regarded as highly placed in those segments of the Greek, Lebanese, Turkish, Italian and Chinese communities engaged in illegal activities both related to drugs and

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otherwise than had previously been thought to be the case. Finally, New

Zealanders: there is evidence that Ne w Zealanders, both alone and in

association wi t h Australians, are notable for their involvement in

large-scale activities involving the illegal importation of drugs into Australia and the trafficking of such drugs in Australia. Evidence

indicated that the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement was mu c h abused for these purposes.

A S S O C IATIONS BETWEEN ILLEGAL D R U G - RELATED ACTIVITIES AND OT H E R ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES

It will be apparent from the foregoing that the evidence received by

the Commission establishes that the illegal importation and the illegal p r o duction and illegal trafficking in drugs are engaged in both directly and indirectly by persons who engage on an organised basis in other

illegal activities both related and not related to d r u g s . The evidence

does not permit the Commission to report on the extent of such

e n g a g e m e n t . Some of the reasons for this were canvassed earlier in this

Chapter. We do not know how much criminal activity of the kinds in

question is undetected. To return to the broad categories used earlier, the p r o portion of illegal importation, production and trafficking by

persons who themselves use drugs as against the proportion by persons

who engage in illegal activities not related to drugs cannot be k n o w n .

Activities of the kind referred to in paragraph (a) or in paragraph (c)

of the Terms of Reference m a y be detected but that they are engaged in

by persons who engage on an organised basis in other illegal activities

is not discovered. The number of occasions on which this occurs cannot

be k n o w n .

Rather than become involved in an attempt to estimate the extent to

w h i c h the illegal activities mentioned in paragraph (a) or in paragraph (c) of the Terms of Reference are engaged in by persons who engage on an

organised basis in other illegal activities (which must ultimately be

so heavily qualified as to make it little more than a guess) there are

some other points which it is important to make. Some, for example the

increasing detection of the involvement of known criminals in offences related to drugs and the increasing propensity to violence, have already b e e n mentioned. When those engaged on an organised basis in illegal

activities other than those mentioned in paragraph (a) or paragraph (c) of the Terms of Reference as well engage in illegal activities of the

kind there m e n tioned they are motivated by the potential profits to do

so on a large scale. They have a vested interest in expanding the

market. Th e y make available skills and bring to bear ruthlessness which greatly increases the difficulty of law enforcement. In other words,

such persons and groups have an impact out of proportion to the numbers

involved in the illegal importation, production, trafficking, and use

of d r u g s .

FINANCIAL REPERCUSSIONS OF D R U G - RELATED CRIME

Finally, drug trafficking puts large sums of money at the disposal

of those who successfully engage in it, directly or indirectly. In 1970

the O r g anised Cfime Control Act became law in the United States. The

statement of findings and purpose which accompanied it stated that the

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purpose of the Act was to seek the eradication of organised crime in the

United States by strengthening the legal tool and the evidence gathering p r o c e s s , by establishing new penal prohibitions, and by providing

enhanced sanctions and new remedies to deal with the unlawful activities of those engaged in organised crime. In reporting on the bill which

subsequently became the Act the committee on the judiciary of the House

of Representatives and the committee on the judiciary of the United

States Senate separately expressed themselves to be satisfied that:

1. Organised crime in the United States was a highly sophisticated

diversified and widespread activity that annually drained billions of dollars from the American economy by unlawful conduct in the

illegal use of force, fraud and corruption;

2. Organised crime derived a major portion of its power through money

obtained from such illegal activites as syndicated gambling, loan sharking, the theft and fencing of property, and the importation and distribution of narcotics and other dangerous drugs and other forms of social exploitation;

3. The money and power of organised crime was increasingly used to

infiltrate and corrupt legitimate business and labour unions and to subvert and corrupt the processes of government;

4. Organised criminal activities in the United States were found to

weaken the stability of the national economy, to harm innocent

investors and competing organisations to interfere with free

competition and to seriously b urden interstate and foreign commerce, to threaten domestic security and undermine the general welfare of the nation and c i t i z e n s ;

5. It was considered that organised crime continued to grow because of

defects in the evidence gathering process of the law inhibiting the development of legally admissible evidence necessary to bring

criminal and other sanctions or remedies to bear on the unlawful

activities of those engaged in organised crime and because the

sanctions and remedies available to the government were

unnecessarily limited in scope and impact.

The fourth division of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Crime Statute prepared b y officers of the Organised Crime and Racketeering

Section, Criminal Division, United States Department of Justice in 1978

said:

The realisation is apparent to those of us in law enforcement

that professional and organised crime have infiltrated economic entities in this country and have diverted the revenues to

perpetrate criminal activity and to manipulate our economic

system.

Australia

So far as the Commission is aware little attention has been paid in

Australia to the amount of money generated by illegal activities or to

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the extent to which that money finds its way into the general economic

system or to the methods by which they do. It seems that almost nothing

is known of the effect of illegal activities on Australia's economy.

Little is done b y law enforcement, for reasons already c a n v a s s e d , to

identify or strike at the assets accumulated as a consequence of

criminal activities or to cut off the mo n e y flow generated by it and

t hereby inhibit future criminal activities. In Part XIII Chapter 5,

'Financial Controls', this aspect is looked at further. The question of confiscatory provisions and provisions to recover monies accumulated is also dealt w i t h e l s e w h e r e . It is likely that the situation in Australia

does not approach that which so alarmed the respective Judiciary

Committees of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate in 1970. Nevertheless the concerns expressed by those

bodies and reiterated by the section of the United States Department of

Justice most d i rectly concerned wi t h dealing with the problem ought to

serve as a war n i n g to Australia of the situation which m a y develop

unless firmer and more positive steps are taken to deal with all kinds

of criminal a ctivity conducted on an organised basis. There is no

doubt, on the basis of the evidence received b y the Commission, that

m o n e y generated b y all kinds of illegal activities in Australia finds

its way into 'l e g i t i m a t e ' business enterprises. As is mentioned in the

earlier Chapter of this Part of the R e p o r t , heroin consumed in Australia has its origin outside Australia and funds move from Australia to

purchase heroin intended to be illegally imported. Some measure of the

profits available from such activities is provided b y the $75 000 from

selling 60 capsules of heroin daily over a period of two and a half

months in the Victorian case given as an example in the earlier part of

this chapter.

In evidence before the Commission Mr J . B . Donovan, an economist

from W. D. Scott and Associates estimated that the drain on Australia's

overseas funds through the purchase of private gold holdings and drugs

could exceed $A100 million a year. He suggested that most of this

amount would have been spent on the financing of drugs for the

Australian market:

I suspect the purchase of gold has far less affect than the

purchase of drugs but if you take the two together the drain on

overseas funds could exceed $100M a year.

We have chosen the figure of $100 000 000 b e c a u s e , although the

data we used for estimating was very speculative, the real

figure seemed to be far in excess of $100M.

(0T 10258)

In an attempt to test Mr Donovan's evidence the Commission estimated the possible cost to Australia as a consequence of the purchase of

heroin for use by hard core addicts. Two major problems faced the

Commissions attempt. First was to estimate the number of addicts,

secondly was to estimate at what stage w a s , how and when to what extent

heroin was used. In carrying out the exercise the Commission made

calculations on data it had obtained in the course of evidence.

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The estimates were made for 1 uncut' 1 first cut' and 'second cut'

heroin at overseas markets and two levels of the Australia wholesale

m a r k e t---'Sydney A' market, where heroin sells in lots of 1 kg, and the

lower level 'Sydney B' market, where heroin sells in lots of 28 grams (1

o z ) . (As explained in Chapter 6 of this Part of the Report, 'cutting'

is adulteration of a drug by mixing it with other materials. In the

case of heroin, a 'cut' probably has the effect of doubling the drug's

weight and halving its purity or diamorphine concentration. Thus, a

'first cut' of 1 kg of 80 per cent pure heroin results in 2 kg of 40 per

cent purity and a 'second cut' results in 4 kg of 20 per cent purity.)

Table IV.28 entitled 'Estimated Wholesale Values of 1 kg Uncut

Heroin - 1979', shows the approximate value of quantities of heroin

equivalent to an original 1 kg of 80 per cent pure heroin at various

overseas and local whole market levels and at various stages of cutting.

The estimates in the Table, based on prices quoted to the Commission by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, clearly illustrate the dramatic rise in the value of the drug as it passes through each

market and each state of cutting. For example, 1 kg of 80 per cent pure

No 3 heroin bought in Bangkok for $A3000 could be worth $A85 700 in an

uncut state if sold in Sydney at 28 gram lots or $171 4000 if sold as 40

per cent pure heroin, or as much as $342 900 if increased to a total of

4 kg of 20 per cent pure heroin by a 'second cut'. Equally 1 kg of No 4

heroin bought in Bangkok for $A8000 could be worth as much as $A428 600

if sold in Sydney in 28 gram lots of 20 per cent pure heroin.

As Chapter 6 of this Part of the Report outlines, the Commission

estimated in one approach to the evidence available, that there couid be between 14 200 and 20 300 hardcore heroin addicts in Australia.

On this basis, and taking into consideration other evidence

suggesting that such addicts would require a total of between 914 and

1303 kg of 80 per cent pure heroin, the Commission considered the

possible implications of this heroin addiction to the Australian economy

in 1979.

These considerations, including allowances for heroin seizures by Australian law enforcement officers, are set out in Table IV.29 entitled 'Estimated Total Wholesale Values of Imported Heroin, 1979'.

This Table shows a wide variety of possibilities. For example if

all heroin imported into Australia in 1979 was bought in an 80 per cent

pure state in Bangkok, the total sum expended could have been as low as

$A2 740 000.

However evidence to the Commission suggested that either of these

examples would represent an over-simplification of the situation. The

following factors also need to be considered:

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Table IV.28

Estimated Wholesale Values of 1kg Uncut Heroin - 1979

Market Level

Uncut (1kg) (80% Pure)

1st Cut (2kg) (40% Pure)

2nd Cut (4kg) (20% Pure)

$A

No. 3 Heroin

Bangkok 3000 * *

Kuala Lumpur 5000 * *

Sydney A 35 000 70 000 140 000

Sydney B 85 700 171 400 342 900

No. 4 Heroin

Bangkok 8000 * ■k

Kuala Lumpur 12 000 * *

Sydney A 40 000 80 000 160 000

Sydney B 107 100 214 300 428 600

* As is discussed in the text of this section of the Report, the Commission assumed that heroin imported was of high purity. Therefore calculations are not made for 'cut' heroin bought at Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Table IV.29

Estimated Total Wholesale Values of Imported Heroin - 1979

Uncut 1st Cut 2nd Cut

(80% Pure) (40% Pure) (20% Pure)

Quantity Imported 914— 1303 1828— 2605 3656— 5210

(kg)

Market Level $A Million

No. 3 Heroin

Bangkok 2.74— 3.91 * *

Kuala Lumpur 4.57— 6.52 * *

Sydney A 31.99— 45.61 63.98— 91.18 127.96— 182.35

Sydney B 78.34— 111.69 156.69— 223.29 313.37— 446.57

No. 4 Heroin

Bangkok 7.31— 10.42 * *

Kuala Lumpur 10.97— 15.64 * *

Sydney A 36.56— 52.12 73.12— 104.20 146.24— 208.40

Sydney B 97.93— 139.61 195.86— 279.11 391.71— 558.21

* As is discussed in the text of this section of the Report, the Commission assumed that heroin imported was of high purity. Therefore calculations are not made for ’cut1 heroin bought at Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

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* Evidence indicated that heroin known to have entered Australia in

substantial shipments were often of high purity. Although many small amounts of heroin seized have proved to be of low purity when

analysed, the Commission assumes that the majority of heroin bought into Australia as part of large scale importation w o u l d , for ease of concealment and maximum return, be of high purity.

* Police evidence suggested that although a predominance of either No

3 or the more expensive No 4 heroin might occur in some Australian

cities from time to t i m e , both forms were being imported regularly.

* Although many of the more spectacular seizures of heroin have been

associated with Bangkok not all heroin is bought there. For

example, the largest detected shipment of heroin into Australia ---13.5 kg in September 1979 ---was aboard a ship that had come from

South East Asian ports other than Bangkok.

The most important consideration, however, would appear to be the

amounts of money generated within Australia at the Ά ' and 'B ' market

l evels. The Commission has no doubt that a proportion of this money

leaves Australia, either to buy more heroin on foreign markets or simply to be 'laundered'.

Assuming that most heroin enters Australia in a relatively pure

form, it would appear that the amount of money needed simply to buy the

estimated total quantity of the drug in overseas markets ranges from

$A2 740 000 (if 914 kg of pure No 3 heroin was bought in Bangkok) to

$A15 640 000 (if 1303 kg of pure No 4 was bought in Kuala Lumpur).

These estimates of the amounts of money required to buy heroin in

overseas m a r k e t s , however, do not take into consideration the further

amounts generated on the Australian wholesale market, particularly at the higher 'A' level.

Evidence discussed in Chapter 5 of this Part of the Report suggests

that it would be the Ά ' level trafficker who also imports heroin, or

arranges such importations.

As such this Ά ' level wholesaler would appear to be the trafficker

most likely to send money overseas. Firstly the money is required to

make heroin purchases and secondly because this trafficker might be

supplying several 'B ' level traffickers larger amounts of money are

being accumulated by Ά ' level traffickers. The amounts involved at

this level clearly lead to the assumption that 'laundering' could become

a necessity.

It should be stressed that these amounts take no account of heroin

imported for users other than hard-core addicts. It takes no account of imported hashish or hashish oil or cannabis in 1 stick' form.

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When these are taken into consideration, Mr J. B. Donovan's estimate of $A100 million being drained from Australia's overseas funds would appear to be no underestimation.

The Commission also noted that without allowance for further cutting the 'street' value of the estimated supply of heroin required by hard core addicts could be between $A1000 and 1600 million. This estimate may overstate the actual amount spent by hard core addicts since some

addicts may purchase direct from a wholesaler.

The estimate of $A1000 and 1600 million compares with final private consumption expenditure on alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco for 1978— 79 of $A3696 and 1319 million respectively. This would suggest that the full impact of illegal drug activities on the economy of Australia could be quite significant.

The financial implications of criminal activities as related to drugs are further dealt with in Part XIII, Chapter 5.

CONCLUSIONS

It is now convenient to summarise the Commission's conclusions in

respect of the subject matter of paragraph (d) of the Terms of

R e f e r e n c e .

1. There is no doubt that the illegal importation, illegal production

and illegal trafficking in drugs is engaged in, both directly and

indirectly, by persons who engage on an organised basis in other

illegal activities both related and not related to drugs.

2. It is not possible to responsibly estimate the extent of the

involvement referred to in 1 above. However:

(a) There is evidence that those who engage on an organised basis in

illegal activities not related to drugs are increasingly involved in the illegal importation, production and trafficking in drugs ---

particularly the illegal importation of and trafficking in heroin.

(b) The access of the individuals referred to in (a) to large sums of

money---often generated by illegal activities, their knowledge and the contacts they have acquired in the course of their other illegal

activities, their ruthlessness and greed mean that the engagement of such people in the illegal importations or production of or

trafficking in drugs has a far greater effect than the engagement of

an equivalent number of people not engaged on an organised basis in

illegal activities unrelated to drugs.

(c) Dealing with criminals of the kind spoken of in paragraph 1 above

and in (a) and (b) hereof places a much greater burden on law

enforcement than does dealing with those without the characteristics referred to in (b) hereof and without the shield of an organised

basis. ,

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3. Law enforcement agencies are constrained by State and Territorial boundaries and considerations of statutory power and organisational responsibility which do not constrain those engaged on an organised basis in illegal activities both related and not related to dr u g s . The existing organisation of law enforcement, geared as it is to

react to complaints by individuals and to identify and obtain

convictions of individuals identified as having carried out criminal activities in many respects is inapposite to deal with criminal

activities engaged in on an organised basis by persons who engage

directly, and particularly indirectly, in such activities.

Similarly the powers given law enforcement agencies and the

consequences of such an organised basis being identified are in many respects inapposite or lacking.

4. There have been and there are associations between individuals

regarded by United States law enforcement authorities as involved in organised crime and individuals regarded by Australian law

enforcement authorities as involved in substantial criminal

activities. Some of these associations have been and are directed to criminal activities which involved the illegal importation, the illegal production and the illegal trafficking in dr u g s .

5. There are sections of some ethnic groups which, perhaps because of

their isolation from the Australian community and their continuing ties with their place of origin, are prone to exploitation by

certain of their own countrymen. There is no doubt that some such

groups have engaged and are engaging in criminal activities such as illegal gambling, prostitution and in the illegal production,

importation and trafficking in drugs and that in these activities are engaged in on an organised basis.

6 . Those who p roduce, import or traffic in drugs and many of those who

use drugs are in any event engaged in other illegal activities to

facilitate the production, importation, trafficking or u s e . If these activities are carried out over time and on a scale of any

magnitude they have necessarily an organised basis---as do other

related illegal activities such as violence, theft and crimes of dishonesty.

7. The illegal importation, production, trafficking and use of drugs involves money on a scale which almost certainly has an effect on

the Australian economy---an implication which has to date received little attention.

It is not proposed in this Chapter of the Report to make specific

recommendations directed to dealing with problems identified in

reporting on the matters raised by paragraph (d) of the Terms of

Reference. The Commission makes throughout its report a number of

recommendations dealing with the adequacy of existing laws and of

existing law enforcement (including arrangements for co-operation between law enforcement agencies) all of which bear, in varying degrees, upon dealing more effectively with those who engage on an organised

basis in illegal activities both related and not related to dr u g s . In

particular, but not extensively, reference may be made to

recommendations made in respect of Part VI Chapters 5, 6 and 7 Part VIII Chapter 6 Part XIII Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8 and to Part XIV.

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Part V

Legislation

P a r t y Legislation

C h a p t e r 1. I n t e r n a t i o n a l C o n v e n t i o n s

C h a p t e r 2 . L e g i s l a t i v e P o w e r s and J u r i s d i c t i o n

C h a p t e r 3 . C o m m o n w e a l t h L e g i s l a t i o n ( O f f e n c e s an d

P e n a l t i e s )

C h a p t e r 4 . S t a t e a n d T e r r i t o r y L e g i s l a t i o n ( O f f e n c e s

a n d P e n a l t i e s )

C h a p t e r 5. I n t e r c e p t i o n o f C o m m u n i c a t i o n s

C h a p t e r 6. S e a r c h e s an d S e i z u r e s

C h a p t e r 7. A r r e s t , Bail a n d C o n f i s c a t i o n

C h a p t e r 8 . C o m p u l s o r y T r e a t m e n t

C h a p t e r 9 . H e a l t h L e g i s l a t i o n

C h a p t e r 10 . M o t o r T r a f f i c a n d I n d u s t r i a l L e g i s l a t i o n

T h i s P a r t s u r v e y s the p r e s e n t l a w c o n t r o l l i n g d r u g s in

A u s t r a l i a . It d o e s t h i s f i r s t by c o n s i d e r i n g i n t e r n a t i o n a l

c o n v e n t i o n s a n d t h e n A u s t r a l i a n d o m e s t i c law, b o t h C o m m o n ­

w e a l t h a n d S t a t e . U n d e r t h e h e a d i n g ' L e g i s l a t i v e P o w e r s a n d

J u r i s d i c t i o n ' in C h a p t e r 2, the s o u r c e a n d a m b i t o f the

l e g i s l a t i v e p o w e r o f the C o m m o n w e a l t h P a r l i a m e n t a n d of the

S t a t e P a r l i a m e n t s is e x a m i n e d .

C e r t a i n a r e a s o f the l a w w e r e f r e q u e n t l y m e n t i o n e d by

w i t n e s s e s b e f o r e t h e C o m m i s s i o n . T h e s e h a v e b e e n a c c o r d e d

s e p a r a t e t r e a t m e n t in C h a p t e r s 6 a n d 7 to a s s i s t the r e a d e r

to u n d e r s t a n d w h a t the A u s t r a l i a n d o m e s t i c l a w p r o v i d e s on

t h e s e a r e a s , s u c h as p o w e r s o f a r r e s t a n d p o w e r s o f s e a r c h .

As the P a r t is c o n c e r n e d w i t h s u r v e y i n g the l a w as it

s t a n d s , n o c o n c l u s i o n s or r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s a r e m a d e in t h i s

P a r t . T h e y w i l l be m a d e l a t e r in the R e p o r t .

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Chapter 1 International Conventions

Australia is a signatory to two international drug conventions: The

Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 and The Convention on

Psychotropic Substances 1971.

The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961

The first agreement to initiate the concept of international co­ operation in the control of narcotics as a matter of international law

was the Hague Convention of 1912. Twenty-five countries originally

signed the Convention and Great Britain signed on behalf of Australia.

The convention laid down that:

- trade in o p i u m , heroin, morphine and codeine must be controlled by

l a w ;

- parties were obliged to prohibit the trade in opium prepared for

smoking and to gradually suppress its manufacture and u s e ; and

- manufacture, sale and use of manufactured drugs were to be confined

to medical and scientific purposes.

With the setting up of the League of Nations at the end of the First

World War the Hague Convention was included in the Treaty of Peace and

the League was entrusted with general supervision of international drug agreements. The League's Council was responsible for two drug

conferences held in Geneva in 1925. The first conference dealt solely

with opium but the second conference, known as The Geneva Convention of

19 February 1925, covered all narcotic drugs then being used in medical

p r a c t i c e . This latter treaty, which was ratified by Australia, set up

an independent Permanent Control Opium Board (PCOB) to administer its

provisions, and it introduced a system of national import and export

permits which related to annual estimates of nations' drug requirements. However, this convention did not provide limits for companies

manufacturing narcotics nor could it limit acreages of opium poppies.

This flaw resulted in the Limitation Convention of 1931 which set up the

Drug Supervisory Body and made provision for extending annual estimates to cover the limitation of manufacture. Later in 1931 a further

agreement, The Convention on the Suppression of Opium Smoking was signed by six countries having possessions and territories in the Far East.

These conventions reduced significantly the diversions of legally produced drugs into the illicit market. However, the problem of

illegally produced drugs remained. Therefore, in 1936 the Conference

for the Suppression of Illicit Traffic in Dangerous Drugs was held in

Geneva. Australia did not become a party to this convention.

After the Second World War international drug control functions were transferred from the League of Nations to the United Nations. Various

machinery amendments had to be made to the previous conventions and

these were achieved in the 1946 Protocol. Two years later the existing

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conventions were amended by the 1948 Protocol which enabled those

conventions to regulate the recently developed, synthetic narcotic

d r u g s . Australia was a party to both protocols.

In 1953 a United Nations conference was held to conclude an

agreement to reduce the number of countries producing opium for export. It resulted in the Opium Protocol of 1953. Australia became a party-to

this protocol in 1955. It attracted little international support and

did not come into force until 1963, 10 years after its formulation.

By the mid-1950s there was enough impetus for moves to create a

single instrument codifying the existing conventions and protocols. The result was the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 which

terminated, for parties to it, all previous conventions and protocols except the 1936 Convention. Its two main features are:

* the replacement of the PCOB and the Drug Supervisory Body by a

single body, the International Narcotics Control Board; and

* a requirement that parties give special attention to the provision

of facilities for the medical treatment, care and rehabilitation of drug-dependent pers o n s .

Australia attended the conference and signed the convention in 1961 and, after obtaining the written agreement of the State Premiers, ratified it in December 1967.

Australia ratified the 1972 Protocol Amending The Single Convention in November 1972. This amendment was designed further to strengthen

national and international efforts to curb the increasing illicit

traffic in heroin and opium by increasing the International Narcotics Control Board's powers and by making provisions to facilitate

international extradition of narcotics traffickers.

The Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971

Concern by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs over the increasing abuse of certain types of psychotropic substances such as

hallucinogens, stimulants, barbiturates and tranquillisers led to an international conference in Geneva in 1971. Strong lobbying from some manufacturing countries to have many of these substances removed from the suggested scope of such a treaty resulted in a number of the

barbiturates not being included in the final draft which became the

Convention.

Australia was represented at this Conference and signed preparatory to ratification. Ratification has not yet taken place due to delays in

bringing Commonwealth Territory legislation into conformity with the Convention. The Report of the Senate Select Committee on Drug

Trafficking and Drug Abuse 1971 (the Marriott Committee) was prepared at a time when this Convention was open for signature and ratification.

The Committee recorded the following view:

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The Committee fully supports Australian participation in this C o n vention w h i c h is now available for s i g n a t u r e . It suggests

that the Commonwealth Government and State Governments take the necessary steps so that Australia can ratify the new Convention as soon as possible. In making this suggestion the Committee

is aware of the five year delay wh i c h occurred between

Australia's signature and ratification of the 1961 Convention. A similar delay would be intolerable, in the Committee's view.

Australia signed the Convention on 23 December 1971 and the States

b rought their legislation into conformity, the last being in November

1972.

O n 4 Ma r c h 1976 the Commonwealth Government agreed to ratify the

Convention and authorised the p r e p aration of appropriate Territory

legislation. At the same time it authorised the preparation of

additional C o m m o nwealth legislation which has since been enacted in the form of the Psychotropic Substances Act 1976.

O n the opening day of its h e a r i n g s , namely 17 November 1977, this

Commission was told that Commonwealth Territory legislation was still deficient wi t h respect to psychotropic substances although Commonwealth and State legislation had been brought into line. The Commission was

further told that action would be taken to ratify the Convention as soon

as possible. Since then the Commission has on several occasions pressed bo t h health and legal authorities to take all necessary steps so that

the Convention may be ratified. Regrettably, conflicting and confusing statements have b e e n made to the Commission as to what defect in

T e rritory legislation is inhibiting ratification.

If Australia is to preserve its international reputation in this

field, deficiencies such as this must not be allowed to c o n t i n u e .

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Chapter 2 Legislative Powers and Jurisdiction

INTRODUCTION

Australian legislation on drugs is the result of the exercise of

legislative power by the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia or by the legislature of a State or Territory. This diversity of

legislation is a result of the division of Commonwealth--State powers

under the Australian Constitution.

The Commonwealth Parliament has limited powers. There is a definite list of subjects on which it can make laws, most of which are to be

found in Section 51 of the Constitution. Thus the Commonwealth

Parliament has power to legislate on such 1 national' subjects as

overseas tra d e , defence, customs, quarantine and immigration. The

validity of any Commonwealth law depends upon its being referable to a

specific head of Commonwealth pow e r ; for example, the Commonwealth

Parliament has no power to legislate as to crime or drugs generally, but

it does have power to legislate as to crime relating to any of the heads

of Commonwealth power. T h u s , under its power in respect of overseas

trade and commerce, the Commonwealth Parliament has the power to deny

access to or have control over various goods, including d r u g s , entering or leaving Australia.

The exercise of the same Commonwealth power is reflected in those

provisions of the Customs Act, which prohibit the importation into, or

exportation out of, Australia of various drugs and other articles, such as pipes, etc., associated with drug use although it may be that these

provisions are incidental to the Commonwealth's power to control duties of Customs (Section 86). Commonwealth control over drugs is, however,

restricted in that no offences involving the use or possession of drugs

or articles associated with the use of drugs, without the element of

illegal importing or exporting, exist under the Customs Act and if they

did could not be supported by the Commonwealth's power in respect of

overseas trade and commerce and the control of Customs.

State Parliaments have w i d e r , more general, powers than the

Commonwealth Parliament. Generally speaking, they have power to

legislate in respect of the p e a c e , order and good government of their

States unless there has been a valid exercise of Commonwealth power in

respect of the same subject matter. T h u s , the several States are

constitutionally responsible for such localised matters as education, local government, health and hospitals, law enforcement and the

administration of justice generally. The Northern Territory is in a

similar position to the States. The A.C.T. is usually more

restricted ---it is not self-governing and must depend on the exercise of

Commonwealth power to a great degree.

State legislative controls over drugs are not, as are those of the

Commonwealth, restricted to the requirement of the existence of the

element of illegal importation or exportation or similar restricted head of power, but may deal with the use and/or possession of drugs, dealing

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or trafficking in d r u g s , the supplying of drugs and the possession of

things such as pipes, e t c . , used for the taking of d r u g s , no matter what

their origin.

This Commonwealth--State division of power may be seen as both

advantageous and disadvantageous in so far as the general legislative

control of drugs is concerned. It is advantageous because, under

international law, the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Parliament

extends to a considerable distance seaward around the Australian coast, whereas the State P a r l i a m e n t s , in the absence of a Commonwealth

Parliament, would have their jurisdictions confined to this distance

seaward of their respective coastlines. The extent of Australia's

jurisdiction seaward of the coast is discussed in the following section entitled 'Extra-territorial j u r i s d i c t i o n ' . The division of power is disadvantageous because of the constitutional difficulties it imposes on any attempt to introduce uniform legislation of any kind throughout

Australia. These difficulties are discussed in the section on

'Commonwealth— State powers'.

EXTRA-TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION

In accordance with international law Australia (i.e., the

Commonwealth of Australia) exercises certain controls over defined areas of the sea adjacent to the coast. These areas are:

* the Territorial Sea,

* the Contiguous Zone,

* the Continental Shelf, and

* the Exclusive Fishing Zone.

The Territorial Sea

This is the area extending from the coastline of a country to a

distance from the shore commonly fixed at 3 nautical miles. All of the

laws of a coastal country are applicable and may be enforced within the

limits of its Territorial Sea. Thus, the laws of the Commonwealth of

Australia are applicable to the area adjoining her coast to a distance

of 3 nautical miles from the shore.

Indications from the recent series of 'Law of the S e a ' conferences

are that the limits of the Territorial Sea will be extended to 12

nautical miles, which of course indicates that in the near future

Australian law will be applicable to a distance of 12 nautical miles

from the coast.

The Contiguous Zone

Article 24 of the International Convention on Territorial Seas and Contiguous Zones (to which Australia is a signatory) provides that:

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1. In a zone of the High Seas contiguous to its Territorial S e a , a

coastal State ma y exercise the control necessary to:

(a) prevent the infringement of its c u s t o m s , fiscal, immigration or sanitary regulations within its territory or Territorial S e a ; and

(b) punish an infringement of the above regulations committed

within its Territorial Sea.

2. The exercise of such control ma y not extend beyond 12 nautical miles

from the b aseline from which the b readth of the Territorial Sea is

m e a s u r e d .

The effect of this p r ovision is that Australia may control acts of

f oreign nationals and foreign vessels in its Contiguous one (i.e., the

area of wa t e r extending 12 nautical miles from the baseline from which

the br e a d t h of the Territorial Sea is measured) but only for the defined

purposes, i.e., the prevention of any infringement of Australian law

relating to customs, revenue, immigration, health and q u a r a n t i n e .

Punitive measures ( e .g ., arrest and judicial proceedings) may be taken only in respect of infringements committed within her Territorial Sea.

Australia is also a signatory to the International Convention on the H i g h Seas, wh i c h creates the right of a coastal State to pursue a

foreign vessel outside the area of the Territorial Sea or Contiguous

Zone of that State when the competent authorities of that State have

good reason to believe that such vessel has violated the laws and

regulations of the State. The pursuit must be commenced when the

foreign vessel or one of its boats is within the Territorial Sea or

Contiguous Zone of the coastal State and may only be continued outside

those areas if the pursuit is not interrupted. The right of pursuit

ceases as soon as the ship pursued enters the Territorial Sea of its own

country or of a third State.

The Continental Shelf

Another convention to which Australia is a signatory is the

International Convention on the Continental Shelf, Article 2 of which

provides that a coastal State exercises sovereign rights over the

continental shelf for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its

natural r e s o u r c e s .

The Convention defined the 1 continental s h e l f ' of a country as

being:

(a) the sea-bed and subsoil of submarine areas adjacent to the coast but

outside the area of the Territorial Sea to a depth of 200 metres or,

beyond that limit, to where the depth of the superjacent waters

admits of the exploitation of the natural resources of the said

a r e a s ; and

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(b) the sea-bed and subsoil of similar submarine areas adjacent to the

coasts of islands.

Consequently, Australia has the right of exclusive control over the exploration and exploitation of the natural resources of its continental shelf to the limits contained in the above definition. A foreign vessel may not explore that area or exploit those resources without Australia's

consent, and, accordingly, Australia may take such m e a s u r e s , including punitive m e a s u r e s , as may be necessary to prevent and/or punish any

infringement of her rights in this area.

The Exclusive Fishing Zone

This zone is identical with the contiguous zone referred to earlier (i.e. , it is the area of water extending 12 nautical miles from the

baseline from wh i c h the breadth of the Territorial Sea is measured), and was created b y the International Convention on Fishing and Conservation of Living Natural Resources (to which Australia is a signatory). The

main effect of the convention was to recognise the right of a country to

fish the seas adjacent to its coast to a distance of 12 nautical miles

seaward (the exclusive fishing zone) to the exclusion of the nationals of other countries.

Australia, along with all coastal states, has the exclusive right to fish in this z o n e , and may exercise the control necessary, including

punitive m e a s u r e s , to prevent and/or punish any infringement of her

rights in this zone.

It is pertinent to note that while international law currently

recognises a 12 nautical mile exclusive fishing zone, Australia has now followed the lead of a number of other countries by passing the

necessary legislation enabling it to declare a 200 nautical mile

exclusive fishing zone around Australia and its territories. The

legislation received the Royal Assent in August 1978, and came into

operation on the first day of November, 1979. From that date therefore

Australian domestic law imposes a 200 nautical mile fishing zone in

accordance with a growing international practice.

COMMONWEALTH--STATE POWERS

It may be that the Commonwealth alone has the necessary power to

implement legislation relevant to a particular subject matter, or it may be that such power is solely within the province of the States, or it

ma y be that full implementation of the legislation requires a joint

exercise of Commonwealth--State p o w e r s . Finally it may be that both the Commonwealth and States possess some legislative power in the particular area, but the extent of their respective powers is uncertain so that

some form of legislative co-operation is necessary. Such considerations are relevant to a discussion of an Australia-wide approach to drug

p r o b l e m s .

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The C o m m onwealth Parliament will only have the necessary power to

fully implement legislation if all matters covered by the legislation

are referable to the heads of Commonwealth p o w e r . For present purposes

these may be taken to be substantially the 39 heads of power enumerated

in Section 51 of the Constitution. A perusal of these heads suggests

that there is no subject to which general legislation directed against

drug trafficking could be r e f e r a b l e , apart from the possibility that the Commonwealth ma y be able to rely on its external affairs power.

This power authorises the Commonwealth Parliament to legislate to

give effect to obligations incurred under an international treaty. It

was originally thought that the power only authorised legislation giving effect to the subject matter of a treaty which was otherwise covered by

another pa r a g r a p h of Section 51 of the Constitution. The decision of

the Hi g h Court of Australia in the case of R. V. B u r g e s s ; ex parte Goya

H e n r y (1936) 55 C.L.R. 608, rejected this view and established the

external affairs power as a separate and independent power quite apart

from any of the other paragraphs of Section 51. The Burgess case also

established that the external affairs power authorises some Commonwealth intrusion into State legislative authority b y holding that the

Commonwealth Parliament could give effect to a treaty, the

implementation of wh i c h would require legislation affecting the domestic order of the Commonwealth.

If there was an international convention on drug trafficking the

Commonwealth may be able to rely on the external affairs power as

authority for the implementation of any necessary legislation to give

effect to obligations incurred under such convention. The legislation w o u l d have to be substantially in accordance with the provisions of the

convention ( R . - v - P o o l e ; ex parte Henry (1939) 61 C.L.R. 634).

There is a v i e w that the external affairs power is not limited in

its operation to legislation implementing specific treaties but extends to authorise legislation wi t h respect to all matters that come within

the expression 'external affairs'. If this view is correct, the power

w o u l d authorise the Commonwealth Parliament to legislate on any subject, notwiths t a n d i n g that such subject is normally within the exclusive

legislative power of the S t a t e s , providing the subject can be brought

w i t h i n the connotation of the term 1 external affairs'. On this view,

the power would authorise the Commonwealth Parliament to enact a drug

trafficking Act having Australia-wide application since drug trafficking and associated matters are now of international concern and the subject of the international conventions referred to in Chapter I of this Part.

Another avenue by which the Commonwealth could obtain the necessary po w e r to implement drug trafficking legislation is the referral power

contained in Section 51 (xxxvii) of the Constitution. Under this power

the Commonwealth can legislate 'with respect to matters referred to it

b y the Parliament or Parliaments of any State or States, but so that the

law shall extend only to States by whose Parliaments the matter is

referred, or which afterwards accept the l a w ' .

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T h e r e f o r e , through the use of this power the Commonwealth

P a r l i a m e n t , wi t h the co-operation of the S t a t e s , could gain the power it lacks to legislate on all aspects of drug trafficking. To achieve

uniformity, h o w e v e r , it would be necessary for the States to act in

concert in referring the necessary powers. Alternatively, one of the

States could refer such powers and the other States would adopt the

ensuing Commonwealth legislation. The main difficulty with this

approach is that the States cannot refer any matter to the Commonwealth

permanently and therefore the permanency of any Commonwealth legislation enacted under this power would depend entirely on the continued support of each of the States.

While it is often maintained that the division of power leads to

legalistic interpretations which fetter the powers of the Commonwealth Parliament over the Australian continent, it is often forgotten that

certain national purposes which cannot be achieved by the Commonwealth under its present legislative powers may yet be promoted through

Commonwealth--State legislative co-operation.

A common form of legislative co-operation is to be seen in the

'pooling' or joint exercise of legislative p o w e r s . An example of this

is provided by what is now referred to as the Uniform Companies Act.

The Commonwealth used its special powers to enact the Companies (Foreign Take-Overs) Act 1972, while each of the six States brought in a company

law in similar terms within its own S t a t e , the result being that the law

relating to companies is now similar throughout Australia. If proposed drug trafficking legislation were such that neither the States nor the Commonwealth alone had the necessary power to implement it, the desired result could be achieved by a joint exercise of powers, similar to that

described above.

Perhaps the most significant form of legislative co-operation

practised in recent years is embodied in the Petroleum (Submerged) Lands Act 1967 of the Commonwealth and States. This legislation was enacted

b y the Commonwealth and States to give effect to an agreement reached

between them on the principles which should govern the exploration and exploitation of the petroleum resources of the seabed adjacent to the

Australian coast. It consists of one Commonwealth Act and six State

Acts which 'mirror' one another. In other words, the provisions of the

Acts covering exploitation of petroleum resources---the mining code---are identical.

The object of this 'mirroring' legislation is to ensure that, if any litigation occurs in a particular area with respect to the exploration or exploitation of petroleum, a court would find that either

Commonwealth p ower or State power operated in the area. To ensure that

the Commonwealth Act is not applied to the exclusion of a State Act (by

virtue of its inconsistency) the Commonwealth Act provides that it is

'not the intention of the Act' to affect the operation of any Act of a

State or Territory. Also, to prevent any duplication of the statutory

application of adjacent legal systems it is provided that where any

right has been created or obligation imposed under either Act then, to

the extent to which there is a discharge of the obligation or the

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exercise of the right under the one Act, the right or obligation under

the other Act is not exercisable or is extinguished.

One problem that has arisen in connection with 'mirror' legislation is that the view has emerged that such identical legislation actually

constitutes a referral of the matter by the States to the Commonwealth.

While this view has yet to be proved correct, the States have guarded

against such a possibility by inserting in such legislation a provision stating that if such legislation does constitute a referral, then the

matter is not so referred.

If any aspect of proposed drug trafficking legislation covers an

area in w h i c h the extent of State and Commonwealth legislative authority is uncertain the use of 'mirror' legislation could remove any

difficulties caused b y such uncertainty.

In summary it ma y be said that unless the external affairs power is

sufficient authority for the Commonwealth Parliament to implement all aspects of any proposed drug trafficking legislation, uniformity of such legislation can only be achieved b y Commonwealth--State co-operation. The co-operation m a y take the form of the use of the referral power, the

'pooling' or joint exercise of Commonwealth--State p o w e r s , the use of

'mirror' legislation or it ma y take the form of a new method of co­

operation yet to be devised. But whatever the method u s e d , uniformity

will not be achieved unless all of the States act in c o n c e r t .

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Chapter 3 C o m m o n w ea lth L e g isla tio n (O ffe n c e s and P e n a ltie s )

Existing Commonwealth legislation relevant to the Commission's Terms of Reference is to be found in the Customs Act 1901, the Customs

Regulations made under that Act, the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 and the

Psychotropic Substances Act 1976. Other provisions with a bearing on

the use of drugs are found in the National Health Act 1951 and the

Therapeutic Goods Act 1966. Existing laws relating to offences and

penalties are set out in chart form at the end of this chapter.

THE CUSTOMS ACT

When the Commonwealth of Australia came into being on the first day

of January 1901 the collection and control of duties of Customs passed

to the Commonwealth from the States by virtue of Section 86 of the

Constitution. It became an exclusive power of the Commonwealth. A

Customs Act was one of the first bills introduced when the first

Commonwealth Parliament met. That piece of legislation, as amended,

remains in force today. It established the necessary legal and

administrative framework to maintain and operate a Customs barrier. The actual rates of duties to be levied on goods are provided for in

separate Customs Tariff Acts, which are amended continually in

accordance with government economic policy. Customs duties provide not only an important source of revenue but also a major control on overseas

trade. The provisions of the Customs Act itself are designed primarily

to achieve those ends. The power to prohibit the importation and

exportation of goods has been held to be incidental to the exercise of

these functions, but may also be supported by the power of the

Commonwealth with respect to overseas trade and commerce.

Control of Goods

All goods imported and all goods for export are subject to the

control of Customs. In general in the case of importation an entry

document must be filed, and goods so imported are normally not released

until payment of whatever duties may be appropriate.

Prohibited Imports and Exports

Certain categories of goods may be and are declared to be prohibited

imports or prohibited exports. The importation or exportation of such

goods may be prohibited absolutely or unless special conditions are

complied with and licences are obtained. All such goods are encompassed by the terms 'prohibited imports' and 'prohibited exports'.

Goods absolutely prohibited for import are set out in the Customs

(Prohibited Imports) Regulations Schedule 1. They include such goods as pipes and accessories for opium smoking. Opium itself and some 76 or so

other narcotics or dangerous drugs are contained in Schedule 4. Their

importation is prohibited unless specified conditions, restrictions and requirements are complied w i t h . These conditions are imposed by the

Director-General of Health and are discussed below. Corresponding

provisions exist 'for prohibited exports.

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The principal offences dealing with smuggling and the importation and exportation of prohibited goods are found in Section 233 of the

Customs Act. 'Smu g g l i n g 1 means any importation, introduction or

exportation of goods or any attempt to do so, with intent to defraud the

revenue (Section 4(1)). It therefore has little relevance to prohibited goods. In the original Act the importation of opium (along with spirits and tobacco) was prohibited unless contained in prescribed packages. However, by a proclamation made under the Act on 30 December 1905 the

importation of opium prepared for smoking was prohibited absolutely and opium for medicinal purposes was prohibited except for persons holding special licences. In 1967 offences were introduced relating

specifically to 1 narcotic goods' defined to mean goods that consist of a narcotic s u b s t a n c e . 1 Narcotic s u b s t a n c e 1 is in turn defined to mean the substances set out in the sixth schedule to the Act: cannabis,

diacetylmorphine (heroin) and opium are examples. The schedule now

contains over 100 s u b stances.

Special Offences Relating to Narcotic Goods

It is an o f f e n c e :

* to be in possession of any prohibited imports that are narcotic

goods on board any ship or aircraft (Section 233B ( 1 ) ( a ) ) ;

* to import or attempt to import into Australia any prohibited imports

that are narcotic goods (Section 233B(l)(b));

* to export or attempt to export from Australia any prohibited exports

that are narcotic goods (Section 2 33B(1)(b));

* to be in possession or attempt to obtain possession of such

prohibited imports imported into Australia in contravention of the Act or reasonably suspected of having been imported into Australia in contravention of the Act (Sections 233B(l)(c) and 2 33B(1)(ca));

* to conspire with another person or other persons to import into

Australia any prohibited imports that are narcotic goods or to

export from Australia any prohibited exports that are narcotic goods

(Section 233B(1) (cb));

* to aid, abet, counsel or procure, or be knowingly concerned in, the

importation into Australia of any prohibited imports that are

narcotic goods or the exportation from Australia of any prohibited exports that are narcotic goods (Section 233B(1)(d));

* to fail to disclose to an officer on demand any knowledge in a

person's possession or power concerning the importation or intended importation into Australia of any prohibited imports that are

narcotic goods or the exportation or intended exportation from

Australia of any prohibited exports that are narcotic goods (Section

233B(1) ( e ) ); *

* being the master of a ship or boat or the pilot of an aircraft, to

use the ship, boat or aircraft, or knowingly suffer her to be

used...in the importation of any narcotic goods in contravention of

Smuggling, etc.

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the Act, or in the exportation or conveyance of any narcotic goods

in contravention of the Act (Section 233A(2)(b)); and

* for two or more persons to assemble for the purpose of importing,

p r e venting the seizure, or rescuing after seizure, of any prohibited imports that are narcotic g o o d s ...(Section 231).

A general p r o v i s i o n relating to conspiracies to commit Commonwealth offences is to be found in the Crimes Act 1914, Section 86.

Special Penalties for Narcotics Offences

The above offences are not given individual penalties. Instead a

pe r s o n found guilty of any of these offences is sentenced in accordance

wi t h the complex set of provisions in Section 235. It will be noted

that, 1 trafficking' or 1 dealing' in drugs as such are not made o f f e n c e s ; it is the act of importing or exporting of drugs or actions incidental

to it (including having possession of the drugs) that constitute the

o f f e n c e . The attempt to discriminate between drug traffickers and

other drug offenders is made only in the provisions relating to p e n a l t y .

There are four factors which affect the determination of which

m a x i m u m pe n a l t y will apply to a given offender. They a r e :

* the q u antity in which the drug involved was present;

* whether the drug was c a n n a b i s ;

* whether the drug was held for sale or other commercial dealing; and

* whether it is a 1 first o f f e n c e ' within the m eaning of the section.

The quantity of the drug may fall into one of three categories: (1)

a 'commercial quantity' e.g. 100 kilograms of c a n n a b i s , 50 kilograms of cannabis resin, or 1.5 kilograms of heroin; (2) a 'traffickable

quantity' e.g. 100 grams of c a n n a b i s , 20 grams of cannabis resin, or 2

grams of heroin; and (3) all smaller amounts. The amounts are set out

in schedules to the Act and ma y be changed or added to by regulation.

A t present 'commercial quantities' have only been precribed for 9 major forms of commonly trafficked d r u g s . 'Traffickable quantities' have been p r e scribed for all drugs covered by the Act.

The p a r t icular scheme is as follows: if the offence related to a

commercial quantity of a drug the penalty is life imprisonment; if it

related to only a traffickable amount but it was a 'second o f f e n c e ', the

pe n a l t y is also life imprisonment. If it was a 'first o f f e n c e ' and the

drug was p resent only in a traffickable quantity then the penalty is 10

years imprisonment or $4000 fine or b o t h in the case of cannabis, or 25

years imprisonment or $100 000 fine or both in any other case. It is

open to the per s o n convicted for this offence to satisfy the court that

the drug was not held for sale or commercial dealing or that he had not

b e e n pre v i o u s l y convicted or found guilty within the meaning of the

section. This would reduce the applicable penalty to 2 years

imprisonment or $2000 fine or both. In all other cases the penalty is 2

years imprisonment or $2000 fine or both. All penalties mentioned are

the m aximum penalties possible.

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The Customs Amendment Act 1979, in addition to substantially

amending Section 235 of the Customs A c t , also made further important

changes. First, for the most serious offences no penalty by way of a

fine can be i m p o s e d ; second, a new 1 action for a pecuniary penalty'

under Section 243A discussed later in this Report was provided; and

third, on a 'second o f f e n c e 1 involving a traffickable amount of drugs it is no longer open to the convicted person to show that he had no

commercial intent and so attract a lower range of penalties.

Matters in Aid

Customs officers are given very wide powers to control shipping and aircraft entering and leaving Australia, to search them, their c argoes, and suspected passengers and crew, to patrol coastal areas, to question disembarking persons and examine their baggage, and to stop and search suspected vehicles for dutiable goods. The Act also provides for forms of general warrant enabling their holders to search any places for goods that are forfeited under the Act. They have correspondingly wide powers to seize goods they find and which they reasonably believe to be

forfeited. These matters are dealt with in detail later in this Report.

Forfeiture

All prohibited goods imported and exported and all other things

enumerated in Sections 229 and 229A are forfeited to the Crown.

Extensive provisions are made in the Act for the procedures for dealing w i t h forfeited goods. Forfeitures and confiscation are dealt with in

detail below.

Customs (Prohibited Import) Regulations

Drugs which are prohibited imports may none the less be imported

subject to two conditions: first, the importer must be licensed by the Director-General of Health for this p u r p o s e ; second, he must have a

permit for each importation, also issued by the Director-General of

Health. The licenses and permits seek to ensure that all such drugs are

used for medical and scientific purposes only, that adequate records of the amounts and disposal of the drugs are made and filed with the

d e p a r t m e n t , that adequate precautions are taken in moving the drugs and that the drugs are kept in safe custody (Regulation 5).

Similar requirements for both a licence and individual permits are made by the Customs (Prohibited Export) Regulations in relation to the

exportation of d r u g s .

THE NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT 1967

This Act, as amended by the Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 1976,

empowers the Minister for Health to licence manufacturers of narcotic drugs to which the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 applies,

e . g . , opium and its derivates such as morphine and codeine. It also

empowers the Director-General of H ealth to issue manufacturing quotas and control manufacture in accordance with the requirements of the

Convention.

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A person (or corporation) licensed to manufacture drugs under this

Act is required to comply with the conditions of his licence relating to

the premises where manufacture may be conducted, the period for which

the licence has be e n granted, the maximum quantities he is permitted to

manufacture and the maximum quantity he is permitted to have in his

possession, and also to comply w i t h directions given to him relating to

security of the premises and handling of narcotic materials.

Narcotic preparations supplied by a manufacturer must be labelled in accordance wi t h any directions given to the manufacturer by the

D i r e ctor-General of Health. The manufacturer is prohibited from

destroying any drug he has manufactured except wi t h the consent, in

writing, of the D i r e c t o r - G e n e r a l .

THE PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES ACT 1976

This A c t , when proclaimed to be completely in f o r c e , will empower a

Collector of Customs to seize all consignments in transit through

Australia of substances covered by the Convention on Psychotropic

Substances unless an appropriate export authorisation under that

C o n vention is held (Section 9). Section 2 provides that Section 9 will

come into force on a date to be proclaimed, that day to be not earlier

than the date on which the Convention on Psychotropic Substances enters into force for Australia. Section 9 has not been proclaimed. As noted

earlier, ratification of the Convention has been d e l a y e d .

ACTS DEA L I N G WITH DR U G TRAFFICKING INCIDENTALLY

The Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 sets standards for goods used for

therapeutic purposes, including the administration of drugs. Goods not me e t i n g these requirements may not be imported or made the subject of

inter-state trade.

In addition, certain narcotic drugs are included on the list of

pharmaceutical benefits available under the National Health Act 1953. Th e y are subject to the controls imposed by that Act. However, the

amount of a drug available on a National Health Service prescription is

limited. Persons abusing such drugs often seek larger quantities than

p rovided for under the Act as a result of which they do not qualify for

the b enefit and are not subject to the associated recording procedures

and statistical controls.

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TABLES OF COMMONWEALTH DRUG-RELATED OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

1. The following tables set out the major offences and their penalties under Commonwealth legislation.

2. Penalties shown are the maximum provided for in the legislation. 3. Numbers following descriptions of offences are section numbers.

Commonwealth Drug-related Offences and Penalties Importing/Exporting, Possession: as at 30 June 1979

Offence: Importing/Exporting Offence: Possession

Customs Act 1901

(all prohibited imports/exports referred to bel o w are narcotic goods)

Being assembled for purpose of...

importing prohibited imports... preventing the seizure or rescuing after seizure of any prohibited imports. 231

Importation or exportation of goods (where narcotic goods are involved) contrary to the Act by

master of ship, pilot of an air­

craft. 233A

Importing, e t c . , prohibited

imports into Australia or exporting same from Australia.

233B (1) (b)

A i d i n g , abetting, counselling, procuring, being knowingly con­ cerned in the importation of prohibited imports or exporta­ tion of prohibited exports. 233B(l)(d)

Failing to disclose knowledge on demand to officer concerning importation/exportation.

233B(l)(e)

Customs Act 1901

(all prohibited imports/exports referred to below are narcotic goods)

Being in possession of prohibited imports on ship, aircraft without reasonable cause. 233B(1)(a)

Being in possession of prohibited imports that have been imported in contravention of Act, without reasonable excuse. 233B(l)(c)

Being in possession of prohibited imports reasonably suspected of having been illegally imported into Australia, without reasonable excuse. 233B(l)(ca)

Penalties * 1

$100 000 or 25 years or both if the offence relates to narcotic goods in

a 'traffickable quantity'.* $4000 or 10 years or both if the offence relates to cannabis in a

1traffickable q u a ntity'.* $2000 or 2 years or both in all other cases.

^Offences of dealing or trafficking in narcotic drugs are not specified in the legislation but persons in possession of 'traffickable quanti­ ties' of narcotic substances as defined by the Act are liable to higher

penalties.

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Commonwealth Drug-related Offences and Penalties Importing/Exporting Possession: as at December 1979

Offences: Importing/Exporting, Possession

The Customs Act 1901 was amended in September 1979 by the Customs Amend­ ment Act 1979. This amendment did not alter the offences of importing/

exporting and possession of narcotic goods as outlined in the preceding table. It did, h o w e v e r , substantially alter the penalties provided for those offences. These penalties are set out below.

Penalties

Imprisonment for life if the offence is committed in respect of:

(i) A 'commercial quantity' of narcotic goods; or

(ii) A 'traffickable quantity' and the defendant has b e e n previously convicted of an offence specified by the Act.

$100 000 or 25 years if the offence is committed in respect of a

traffickable quantity of narcotic goods and the defendant has not been previously convicted of an offence specified in the Act.

$4000 or 10 years or both if the offence is committed in respect of

cannabis in a 'traffickable q u a n t i t y '.

$2000 or 2 years or both in all other cases.

Comm onwealth Drug-related Offences and Penalties: Manufacturing

Offence: Manufacturing (relating to legal trade in drugs)

Narcotic Drugs Act 1967

Prohibition on manufacturing drugs without manufacturing licence. 15(1)

Obligation on licensed manufacturer to manufacture at specified pre­ mises, and in accordance with conditions of licence, and only during permitted period of time. 15(2)

Obligation on licensed manufacturer to comply w i t h permit requirements about m a x i m u m quantities of drugs in his possession or to be manufac­ tured by h i m in a given period. 16

Obligation on licensed manufacturer to label drugs or narcotic prepara­

tions in accordance w i t h Act. 18

Prohibition on destruction of drugs, narcotic preparations, by-products, by licensed manufacturer, unless in accordance w i t h consent and direct­

ions of Director-General of Health. 19

Penalties for failure to comply with above provisions:

$4000 or 10 years or both (prosecution on indictment) $1000 or 2 years or both (summary prosecutions)

Obligation on m a n u f acturer (and wholesale dealer) to keep records and furnish returns to Director-General of Health. 23

Obstructing, failing to assist authorised inspector of manufacturer's

premises. 24(3) '

Penalty: $1000

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Commonwealth Drug-related Offences and Penalties: Importing/Trading

Offence: Importing/Trading (relating to legal trade in drugs)

Therapeutic Goods Act 1966

Obligation on importer, interstate trader, supplier to furnish informa­

tion with respect to the composition of therapeutic goods (includes

d r u g s ) . 9(2)

Prohibition on importing goods for therapeutic use that do not conform to certain standards and labelling and packaging requirements unless non-compliance is authorised by the Minister in writing. 19(1)

Prohibition on interstate trade in therapeutic goods unless goods con­

form to certain standards and labelling and packaging requirements or unless non-compliance is authorised by the Minister in writing. 20

Prohibition on supplying therapeutic goods as pharmaceutical benefits unless goods c o n form to certain standards and labelling and packaging

requirements or unless non-compliance is authorised by the Minister in writing. 21

Prohibition on supplying therapeutic goods to the Commonwealth or to an authority of the Commonwealth or of a Territory unless goods conform to certain standards and labelling and packaging requirements or unless non-compliance is authorised by the Minister in writing. 22

Prohibition on importing goods containing 'dangerous substances',

quarantine measures on such goods and orders forbidding the preparation of, and requiring the destruction of, such goods. 29

Penalty

$200 or six months (summarily)

$1000 or 1 year (on indictment)

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Chapter 4 State and Territory Legislation (Offences and Penalties)

The general criminal provisions relating to the illegal production,

trafficking in and possession of drugs are found in State and Territory

legislation. In Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania they are in the

Poisons Acts. These Acts deal comprehensively with all dangerous drugs, poisons, and deleterious substances. In Queensland they are found in

the Health Act, which deals not only with poisons but also with pure

food requirements and many other unrelated public health questions. In South Australia they are dealt with separately in the Narcotic and

Psychotropic Drugs Act (formerly the Dangerous Drugs Act). In Western

Australia they are contained in the Police Act. The A.C.T. and the

Northern Territory have special legislation separate from that

controlling other drugs and poisons. In this Chapter the relevant

legislation is identified and its general approach outlined. Aspects

of the legislation are looked at in more detail in later chapters.

Existing laws relating to offences and penalties are set out in chart

form at the end of this chapter.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR DRUGS OF ADDICTION

Even in those States where the criminal provisions are contained in

poisons and public health legislation, special sections are devoted to drugs of addiction and dangerous drugs. Separate offences of producing, trafficking in, possessing and using such drugs are created and they

attract much heavier penalties than offences relating to other drugs and poisons. Special powers of search and arrest are also given to police

in respect of these offences. They are considered separately later in

this Repo r t .

CLASSIFICATION OF DRUGS

Because these offences are dealt with in connection with public

health provisions, the legislation often identifies the drugs by

reference to their public health classification. In general terms all

drugs and deleterious substances are listed by public health authorities in a poisons list divided into eight categories of substances, each

contained in a separate schedule. This general scheme is adopted in all

States. As the decision on the category (or schedule) in which a

particular drug will be put depends on each State authority, there are

some variations from State to State, which have important consequences. The appropriate classifications of the drugs pentazocine (Fortral) and methaqualone (Mandrax) are examples of such differences. These are

dealt with elsewhere in this Report.

Of the eight categories or schedules three are relevant to illegal

trafficking: Restricted Substances (Schedule 4), Special Poisons

(Schedule 7) and Drugs of Addiction (Schedule 8). Insertion of a drug

into a particular schedule has the same general consequences in all

States. Restricted Substances (Schedule 4) such as diazepam (Valium)

are available only from a medical practitioner or on prescription from a pharmacist. Such prescriptions are subject to special requirements as to recording and to limitations on the quantity that may be prescribed.

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Special Poisons (Schedule 7) such as LSD and the hallucinogenic

drugs (in Victoria only) are banned from use except for scientific

research. Drugs of Addiction (Schedule 8) such as dextromoramide

(Palfium) and the opiates are also available only from medical

practitioners or upon prescription and subject to stringent control as to storage, recording of use and limitations on q u a n t i t i e s . Special

provisions are made to seek to prevent the use of forged prescriptions.

In New South Wales, for example, a pharmacist dispensing a prescription for the commonly abused narcotic analgesics such as dextromoramide must verify it wi t h the physician in cases where the handwriting is

unfamiliar to the pharmacist and the person presenting the prescription is not known to him.

DRUGS COVERED BY THE CRIMINAL PROVISIONS

The mode of identification of drugs covered by criminal provisions varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The earlier legislation

identified particular drugs by name. Problems arose when the statute

used a scientific or technical name, e . g . , cannabis sativa instead of

Indian h e m p , because such terms are limited to their precise meanings

and do not cover related, but distinct, substances which have similar

effects. The A.C.T. and Northern Territory overcame this problem by

appending lengthy schedules listing all the drugs and their derivatives to ordinances. Substances can be added or deleted by regulation. In

N e w South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania the drugs covered are defined

to be those contained in Schedule 8 (Drugs of Addiction) of the Poisons

L i s t . Dangerous although non-addictive drugs such as LSD may be

reclassified from Schedules 4 and 7 to Schedule 8 by proclamations or

regulations. In Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia the

principal drugs are named in the Act while other drugs of addiction are

included by use of a general definition or by reference to Schedule 8 of

the Poisons List. Non-addictive substances such as the hallucinogens are added by proclamations by the Governor-in-Council. Restricted

Substances (Schedule 4) are added by regulations and usually called 'specified substances' for the purpose of the criminal provisions. In nearly all States special offences are created for particular named

drugs especially opium, heroin and Indian hemp. The offences in each

jurisdiction are discussed in detail below.

The main provisions in each State and Territory are to be found in

the statutes listed below.

New South Wales

Poisons Act 1966, Part IV : Drugs of Addiction,Prohibited Drugs and

Prohibited Plants.

Victoria

Poisons Act 1962, Part II : Special Poisons, and Part III : Drugs of

Addiction.

Queensland

Health Act 1937, Part IV, Division IV : Dangerous D r u g s , Prohibited

Plants and Poisons.

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So u t h Australia

Narcotic and Psychotropic Drugs Act 1934.

We s t e r n Australia

Police Act 1892, Part V I A : Opium and Dangerous D r u g s .

Poisons Act 1964, Part IV: Drugs of Addiction.

Tasmania

Poisons Act 1971, Part V : Special Provisions relating to Narcotics,

Prohibited Plants and Prohibited S u b s t a n c e s .

No r t h e r n T e rritory

Dangerous Drugs Act 1978 (formerly Dangerous Drugs Ordinance 1978).

P r o hibited Drugs Act 1978 (formerly Prohibited Drugs Ordinance 1978).

Aus t r a l i a n Capital Territory

Poisons and Narcotic Drugs Ordinance 1978, Part II : Addictive

S u b s t a n c e s .

T R A F FICKING

Al t h o u g h the mere possession and the use of illegal drugs are

offences in every State and Territory, all jurisdictions recognise that the supplying of, and trafficking in, such drugs are more serious

offences deserving more severe penalties. As has b e e n seen in the

Federal legislation, although the Customs Act does not make this

distinction when creating offences it does so for the sake of

determining p e n a l t i e s . In the illegal drug trade, as in all 'black

markets', the distinction b e t w e e n the 'consumer' and the 'retailer' is often not easy to determine in practice, and it can be arbitrary to a

degree. Proof of trafficking, or intention to do so, imposes additional and difficult evidentiary burdens on the prosecution. This has led all

jurisdictions to specify certain quantities for each illegal drug as a

'traffickable a m o u n t '. In most jurisdictions the commonsense inference that a larger amount of a drug is likely to be held for purposes of sale

is converted into a legal presumption that this is so. The person

charged mu s t then present evidence and argument to prove that it was

not. (Special note of these 'd e e m i n g ' provisions is taken in setting

out the trafficking o f f e n c e s .) In three States (Victoria, Queensland

and W estern Australia) the legislature has in recent years enacted

amendments to the relevant drug legislation making it an offence to be

in possession of money or other valuable sureties or documents in

connection with the commission of an offence against the legislation

(WA, Qld) or providing that such possession is deemed to constitute

trafficking for the purposes of the Act (Vic.). Working on the

p r e s u m p t i o n that persons who are in possession of such items in given

circumstances are likely to be traffickers or dealers, the penalties

imposed on such people by virtue of their p o s session of such documents

are the same as' those applying to trafficking or dealing. Such

legislation by-passes many of the difficulties faced by the prosecution

in p roving a case.

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AIDING, ABETTING, ETC., AND COMPANY OFFENCES

In many jurisdictions an offence is constituted by attempting to

commit an o f f e n c e , by aiding and abetting another to commit an offence, or by soliciting another to commit an offence, and these have not been

specifically noted for every State. Another common provision that

should be noted generally is one determining how liability will fall in

the case where a company commits an o f fence. Generally speaking,

directors and managers of corporate bodies are liable for acts

constituting offences unless they can prove they had no knowledge of, or did not consent to, the prohibited activities.

NEW SOUTH WALES

The major drug offences in this State are set out in the Poisons Act

1966 Part IV, headed 'Drugs of Addiction, Prohibited Drugs and

Prohibited Plants'. There are many separate offences specified in Part IV. The 'traffi c k i n g ' offences are set out first.

For the purpose of creating offences, the Act considers the drugs

covered by Part IV in four g r o u p s :

- prepared opium and Indian h e m p ;

- other drugs of addiction;

- prohibited drugs (i.e ., heroin and its derivatives); and

- prohibited plants.

While the types of offences relating to each are similar they are

not identical.

The 'trafficking offences'

It is an offence:

* To manufacture, supply, sell or otherwise deal in prepared opium or

Indian hemp (Section 21(l)(a));

* to m a n u f acture, prepare, sell, distribute, supply or otherwise deal in any prohibited drug (Section 32(1)(a));

* to sell or supply any drug of addiction other than prepared opium or

Indian hemp (unless licensed or otherwise lawfully excused)

(Section 2 1 (2A));

* to cultivate any prohibited plant (Section 33A(1)(a));

* being the occupier, owner or lessee of any premises, to permit those

premises to be used for the purpose of cultivation, sale, or supply

of or dealing in any prohibited plant (Section 33A(l)(d)); or

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" to be concerned in the m a n agement of any such premises referred to

in (d) (Section 33A(l)(e)).

Offences other than 'trafficking'

* Being the occ u p i e r of premises, to permit those premises to be used

for the purpose of pre p a r a t i o n of opium or Indian hemp for smoking

or the sale, supply, distribution or smoking of prepared opium or

Indian hemp (Section 21(l)(c));

* being the owner or lessee of any premises, to knowingly permit such

premises to be used for the purpose of smoking opium, prepared opium

or Indian hemp (Section 21(l)(d)); or

* to be concerned in the management of any premises used for any

purpose referred to in (c) and (d) (Section 21(l)(e));

* to have in p o s session any prepared opium or Indian hemp (Section

21(1)(b));

* to have in p o s session any prohibited drug (Section 3 2 ( 1 ) (b));

* to have in possession without authority any drug of addiction (other

than prepared opium or Indian hemp) (Section 21(2));

* to have in possession any prohibited plant (Section 33A(l)(c));

* to have in possession any pipes or other utensils for use in

connection with the smoking of opium, prepared opium or Indian hemp

or any utensils used in connection with the preparation of opium or

Indian hemp for smoking (Section 21( 1 ) (f));

* to smoke opium, prepared opium or Indian hemp or otherwise use

prepared opium or Indian hemp or to frequent any place used for the

purpose of smoking opium, prepared opium or Indian hemp (Section

2 1( 1 ) ( g ) ) ;

* to use any prohibited drug (Section 3 2 ( 1 ) (c));

* to attempt to commit any of the above offences or to solicit or

incite another to commit such an offence (Sections 26(4), 33(2) and

3 3 C ( 2 ) ) .

Penalties for the above offences

All of the above offences may be tried summarily (Section 45).

Where they are so tried the maximum p enalty in all cases is a fine of

$2000 or imprisonment for 2 years or both (Sections 26(1), 33(1) and

3 3 C ( 1 ) ) . Such imprisonment is additionally stated to be with or without hard labour in all cases except offences relating to prohibited plants

(Section 33C(1)). Section 45A(1) provides that the three offences of

'supplying or selling' set out at the beginning of the above list and

all the offences relating to prohibited plants may be prosecuted on

indictment. Sub-section (3) provides that any person convicted on

indictment of such charges shall be liable:

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except as provided in the next sub-paragraph, to a fine not

exceeding $50 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15

years, or to both such fine and imprisonment; or

where the offence relates only to Indian hemp in leaf form, to a

fine not exceeding $25 000 or to imprisonment for a term not

exceeding 10 years, or to bo t h such fine and imprisonment.

The reference to Indian hemp in leaf form is a reference to:

- Indian hemp which does not contain more than 3 pe r cent by weight,

determined in the prescribed manner, of t etrahydrocannabinol; or

- a prohibited plant of the genus Cannabis (Section 45A ( 3 A ) ).

In the case of those offences that may be tried on indictment under

Section 45A, p o s s ession of a certain amount (prescribed by regulation) of such substances is deemed to be possession for the purposes of supply

and sale unless the defendant proves the contrary. Another exception is also made for the defendant to prove that the drugs were lawfully

obtained by prescription (Section 4 5 A ( 4 ) ).

Licensed pos s e s s i o n

Part IV of the Act also provides that possession of drugs of

addiction m a y be specially a u t h o r i s e d . Regulations for the issue of

licenses and other controls are made under Section 24. Breach of these

provisions is an offence (Section 25). Section 26 renders persons

guilty of such an offence liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of $2000

or imprisonment (with or without hard labour) for 2 years or both.

VICTORIA

In Victoria the main legislation creating offences concerning the misuse of drugs is the Poisons Act 1962.

Part III of the Act is headed 'Drugs of Addiction', and the

substances in relation to which offences are created under this section of the Act include raw opium, prepared opium and medicinal opium, coca

leaves, crude cocaine, ecgonine, Indian hemp, drugs of addiction and

specified drugs so defined, but not lawfully prescribed medicines

containing such drugs of addiction or specified drugs. Specified drugs a r e , by legislative provision, restricted substances or drugs within

Schedule 4 declared to be productive of effects of similar character if

improperly used to those of drugs of addiction, and drugs of addiction

are defined as those substances specified in, or added by proclamation

to, Schedule 8 to the Act.

The 'trafficking' offences

* Section 30(1) of the Poisons Act 1962 makes it an offence to

manufacture or prepare or to take part in the manufacture or

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pre p a r a t i o n of heroin. Exemptions are created in favour of certain

educational and research e s t a b l i s h m e n t s . The penalty for a br e a c h

of this section as provided by Section 34(2) is imprisonment for not

more than 12 months or a fine of not more than $500 or both.

* Section 32(1) makes it an offence to p r e p a r e , manufacture, sell or

deal or traffic in the fresh or dried parts of any plant of the

genus Cannabis L. (by whatever name '"hose parts are called) in any

form without being authorised by or licensed under the Act. Such an

offence is a misdemeanour and liable to a maximum penalty of

imprisonment for a term of 10 years or to a fine of $4000 or to

both.

* Section 32(2) makes it an offence to p r e p a r e , m a n u f a c t u r e , sell or

deal or traffic in:

(a) any resinous or other extract obtained from any plant of the

genus Cannabis L. or from any part of that plant (by whatever

name those extracts are called), in any form; or

(b) opium or any other drug of addiction or specified drug in any

form, without being authorised by or licensed under the Act.

This offence is also a misdemeanour and liable to a maximum penalty of

imprisonment for a term of 15 years or to a p enalty of $100 000 or

both. The distinction between Cannabis extract in this offence and

Cannabis under Section 32(1) depends upon its strength as revealed by

analysis of the active i n g r e d i e n t . Strengths in excess of 3 per cent of

tetrahydrocannabinol attract the more serious penalties (Section 32(3)).

Under Section 32(4) a person is deemed to be trafficking if 'proved

to have in his possession or to have received any money or other

v a luable thing for or in connection with the preparation, manufacture, sale, dealing or trafficking in any drug of addiction or specified drug

in contravention of this s e c t i o n . ..unless the court is satisfied to the

c o n t r a r y ' .

Section 32(5) provides that when a person has in his possession more

than a certain q u antity of a drug the possession of that amount shall be

prima facie evidence that the person had that drug in possession for the

purpose of trafficking. It is provided in Sub-section 6 that the amount

constituting the specified quantity may be varied by the Governor-in­

Council b y p r o c l amation published in the Government Gazette.

Offences other than 'trafficking'

* Section 27(3) makes it an offence to administer, sell, prescribe or

dispense any drug of addiction or specified drug merely for the

purpose of addiction.

* Section 31(1) makes it an offence to smoke opium, Indian hemp or any

other drug of addiction or any specified drug. In Section 31(2)

there is a definition of the word 1 s m o k e ’ . It is stated that this

1 includes inhaling the fumes caused by heating or burning any

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substance and "smoking" and other derivatives of "smoke" shall have corresponding inte r p r e t a t i o n s ' .

Section 27(1) makes it an offence for an unauthorised person to have

in his possession or at his disposition any raw opium, prepared

opium, medicinal opium, coca leaves, crude cocaine, e c g o n i n e , Indian hemp, drugs of addiction or specified d r u g s . Possession is defined

as f o l l o w s : 'without restricting the m eaning of the word

" p o s s e s s i o n " , a substance shall be deemed for the purposes of this

part to be in possession of any person so long as it is upon any

land or premises occupied by him or is used, enjoyed or controlled

by him in any place w h atever unless it be shown that he had no

knowledge t h e r e o f ' (Section 28).

Part II of the Poisons Act 1962 (Victoria), which is headed 'Special

Poisons', relates to hallucinogenic d r u g s .

* Section 2 5 A ( 1) makes it an offence to p r e p a r e , m a n u f a c t u r e , deal or

traffic in hallucinogenic drugs for which the maximum penalty is

$4000 or 10 years imprisonment or both.

A person is deemed to be trafficking if he 'is proved to have in his

possession or to have received any mo n e y or other valuable thing for or

in connection with the preparation, m a n u f a c t u r e , sale, dealing or

trafficking in (such drugs) in contravention of this s e c t i o n . . .unless

the court is satisfied to the contrary' (Section 2 5 A ( 1 A ) ).

Section 25A(3) makes it an offence to be in possession of

hallucinogenic drugs without authority, for which the maximum

penalty is $500 or 12 months imprisonment or both.

Licensed possession

Part III of the Poisons Act 1962 (Victoria) also provides that

possession of drugs of addiction and specified drugs may be authorised. Regulations for the issue of licences and other controls are made under

Section 37. Sub-section (f) allows a maximum pen a l t y of $200 for any

contravention of or failure to comply with such regulations.

QUEENSLAND

The Act dealing with major drug offences under Queensland law is the

He a l t h Act 1937. The regulations to this Act, which are of some

relevance and which will be discussed later, are the Poisons Regulations 1973. The Act covers 'Dangerous D r u g s , Prohibited Plants and Poisons'

in Part IV, Division IV.

In Division IV, Section 130 is the significant section creating

o f f e n c e s . It has been amended frequently, particularly in the last

seven or eight years.

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The 'trafficking' offences

Section 130(2) is aimed mainly at persons who deal in, supply, and

traffic in drugs. The following activities are offences unless

performed in accordance with a lawful authority or licence:

(a) producing, preparing, manufacturing a dangerous drug or attempting to do so;

(b) cultivating a prohibited plant or attempting to do so;

(c) selling, giving, supplying or procuring a dangerous drug or

prohibited plant, or attempting so to do, or offering to sell, give,

supply or procure, to or for another person a dangerous drug or

prohibited plant, or otherwise dealing or trading in a dangerous

drug or prohibited plant or attempting so to do;

(d) being in possession of a dangerous drug or prohibited plant for a

purpose specified in (c) above;

(e) permitting or suffering premises of which the person is owner,

occupier, or involved in management, to be used for the production,

preparation, manufacture, sale, supply, distribution, smoking,

administration or consumption of a dangerous drug or for the

cultivation of a prohibited plant.

Section 130(2A), which was introduced in 1976, makes it an offence

for a person to be in possession of or have at his order or disposition:

(a) any money, marketable security or other thing; or

(b) any acknowledgement, note, or other thing, purporting or intended to entitle the bearer or any other person to money or money's worth

in any case had by him, whether directly, or indirectly, by way of, or

for the purpose of, the commission of an offence against Section 130(2)

(see above) or as consideration for the commission of such an offence.

The maximum penalty for the above offences is, upon conviction on

indictment, imprisonment with hard labour for life or a fine of $100 000

or both; upon conviction in summary proceedings the maximum penalty is

imprisonment with hard labour for 2 years or a fine of $2000 or both.

In proceedings brought for an offence in relation to possession of a dangerous drug a person who unlawfully has in his possession a quantity

of that drug in excess of a quantity prescribed under the Act or a

quantity of any substance containing that drug which quantity exceeds

the quantity prescribed under the Act, is deemed to have possession of

that drug for the purpose of selling, giving, supplying... dealing or

trading in a dangerous drug or a prohibited plant and is guilty of an

offence under Section 130(2)(c), unless he shows to the contrary

(Section 130J(1)).

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* Section 13 0 ( 3 ) (a) provides that a person shall not administer or

attempt or offer to administer a dangerous drug to another person

s a v e :

(i) where he does so under and in accordance with the authority of

a licence or other authorisation provided by or under this Act; or

(ii) where, he or such other person being lawfully in possession of

a dangerous drug, he administers or attempts or offers to

administer it to carry out the direction of a medical

practitioner who prescribed the drug for the bona fide

treatment of such other person.

* Section 13 0 ( 3 ) (b) provides that a person shall not 'have in his

possession' a dangerous drug for a purpose specified in Section

130(3)(a) that is u n l a w f u l .

* The max i m u m penalties provided for these offences a r e , if the

conviction is upon indictment, imprisonment with hard labour for 10 years or a fine of $10 000 or both; or if the conviction is in

summary proceedings imprisonment with hard labour for 2 years or a

fine of $2000 or both.

* Section 130(1) is aimed primarily at persons who are in possession

of dangerous drugs or prohibited plants. It is an offence for a

person to:

(i) be in possession of a dangerous drug or prohibited plant or to

procure for himself a dangerous drug or prohibited plant or

attempt to do so (save where there is authority to do so);

(ii) be in possession of a pipe, n e e d l e , syringe or other utensil in

connection with the preparation, smoking, administration or consumption of a dangerous drug (except where there is

authority or licence under the Act and possession is for the

purpose of lawful administration on the directions of a medical practitioner or a veterinary surgeon).

* The max i m u