Drugs

The abuse of illicit or illegal drugs is a high-risk activity that causes social, economic and personal harms.

With other government agencies, we work to:

  • develop and apply policy in line with the National Drug Strategy 2010 – 2015 to reduce the supply of illicit drugs and prevent the diversion of precursor chemicals used in the production of illicit drugs
  • coordinate Commonwealth law enforcement responses on current and emerging drug issues.

We work with agencies including Australian Federal Police, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, and Department of Health.

National Ice Action Strategy

Combatting the increasing use and impact of ice is a priority for the Australian Government and all states and territories.

The Council of Australian Governments endorsed a National Ice Action Strategy to develop a more coordinated and comprehensive response to the ice problem. All levels of government will work together to take forward initiatives in the strategy, with an increased focus on reducing the demand for ice and delivering effective support to help current users quit.

The National Ice Action Strategy will form a key part of the new National Drug Strategy 2016-2025, which is currently being finalised.

Illicit Drug Data Report 2014-15

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has released its annual Illicit Drug Data Report 2014-15. The report combines data from law enforcement, forensic laboratories and government agencies across the country to provide a snapshot of the illicit drug market.

The report assists law enforcement and policy makers in developing strategies to combat the threat of illicit drugs.

Import ban on new psychoactive substances

New psychoactive substances (NPS) are new versions of illicit synthetic drugs, whose chemical structures have been altered to avoid existing controls. These substances are often ordered over the internet and brought in through the international mail system.

The Australian Government recently enacted the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Psychoactive Substances and Other Measures) Act 2015, which bans the importation of NPS based on their effect rather than their chemical structure.

The laws ensure that criminals cannot import untested and potentially dangerous substances, as an alternative to more established illicit drugs. The ban does not affect the importation of substances with a legitimate use, such as foods, therapeutic good and industrial chemicals.

Improved controls on precursor chemicals and equipment

A significant proportion of illicit drugs are produced in Australia using legally available precursor chemicals and equipment.

All states and territories have controls to restrict the possession and sale of precursor chemicals and equipment through either criminal offences, licensing or permit processes. However, these controls are inconsistent across Australian jurisdictions. This has created opportunities for diversion which organised crime groups may look to exploit.

In early 2016, the Attorney-General’s Department sought public feedback on a number of draft policy options to improve and harmonise controls on precursor chemicals and equipment. The department has finalised a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS), which identifies a number of possible reforms to precursor controls:

If you are experiencing issues with accessing the RIS, please contact precursor.controls@ag.gov.au for an alternate version.

At the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council meeting in October 2016, Commonwealth, state and territory Attorneys-General and Justice Ministers considered the RIS and agreed to implement nationally consistent controls on precursor chemicals and equipment. These reforms include:

  • harmonised legislation and schedules of precursor chemicals and equipment in each jurisdiction
  • a new national electronic end user declaration system to help police track precursor sales across the country
  • enhanced information-sharing between border and law enforcement agencies about importations of high-risk precursor chemicals.

Clandestine drug laboratory sites: Guidelines for remediation

These guidelines help authorities investigate and make safe sites that may have been contaminated by use as clandestine drug laboratories.

Related websites