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Statistical Information: Drugs & Alcohol

Indicators of drug abuse

The concept of an indicator of drug abuse is that can potentially "provide comparable, scientifically based estimates of the extent of the more severe patterns of drug use that cannot be reliably measured by surveys. This information is useful for assessing treatment needs, and offers a realistic basis for estimating the social costs of drug problems, for example drug-related crime." Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction (Statistical Bulletin 2007).

Indicators of drug abuse published by WADDCU (1981 - 1992)

The recognition for a national approach to have statistical data & information concerning alcohol and other drugs was one of the outcomes from the Special Premiers' Conference on Drugs held in Canberra in April 1985, convened by the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke, which resulted in the establishment of the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NCADA). Click here for the Communique of the Special Premiers' Conference. The NCADA was renamed the National Drug Strategy (NDS) in 1993.

One outcome of the NCADA was Commonwealth funded the establishment of the Western Australian Drug Data Collection Unit (WADDCU) which in 1988 commenced the publication of series of reports of indicators of drug abuse. (Similar units were established in the other States & Territories.) The WADDCU was located in the Epidemiology Branch of the Health Department of WA until June 1994, when Commonwealth funding ceased & it was absorbed into the Epidemiology Branch of the Health Department of WA.

The title of these reports were changed a number of times, depending on whether or not the rationale for publication of data was narrowly defined as being concerned with indicators of illicit drug abuse, or reflected a broad policy perspective that encompassed the use and/or abuse of both licit & illicit drugs. Accordingly the scope of these reports was expanded over time so that they contained a spectrum of indicators, such as drug-related mortality, morbidity, attendances at hospital emergency departments, arrest, conviction & imprisonment data, notifications of drug addiction, distribution of needles & syringes, drug-related telephone calls, utilisation of treatment services and alcohol sales & consumption.

WADDCU reports published between 1988 & 1995:

  • Indicators of illicit drug abuse in Western Australia, 1981 - 1987 [PDF 885k]
  • Indicators of illicit drug use in Western Australia, 1981 - 1988 [PDF 903k]
  • Indicators of illicit drug use in Western Australia, 1981 - 1989 [PDF 2.8MB]
  • Indicators of drug abuse in Western Australia, 1981 - 1990 [PDF 5.8MB]
  • Indicators of drug use in Western Australia, 1982 - 1992 [PDF 8MB]

Indicators of drug abuse published by the TFDA (up to 1995)

The Task Force on Drug Abuse (TFDA) provided the WA Government with a 3 volume report in September 1995. An extensive compilation of a range of indicators of drug abuse were presented in Volume 2, which covered the following broad areas broken down on an annual basis:

  • Chapter 5: Law enforcement data - Charges for drug offences (1985-1994), drug seizures (1985-1994), convictions for drug offences (1985-1993) & imprisonment (1982-1992)
  • Chapter 6: Injecting drug use - Notifications of registered addicts (1982-1994), HIV notifications (1983-1994) & distribution of needles & syringes
  • Chapter 7: Prevalence surveys of drug use by young people
  • Chapter 8: Treatment services - Participation in methadone treatment, Court Diversion Service (1988-1994), sobering up centres (1990-1994), attendances at residential treatment programs (2988-1994) & alcohol & drug related telephone calls (1986-1994)
  • Chapter 9: Prevalence surveys, alcohol sales (1986/1987-1993/1994), per capita alcohol consumption (1967/1968-1993/1994), hospitalisation due to alcohol-related injuries (1981-1992), admissions for alcohol related illness (1982-1992), alcohol related mental illnesses (1982-1993) alcohol related mortality (1982-1993),
  • Chapter 10: Tobacco
  • Chapter 11: Other drugs - Cannabis, opiates, psychostimulants, volatile substances, designer drugs & pharmaceutical drugs

Click here to view or download a PDF (1.6MB) copy of Volume 2 of Protecting the community - the report of the Task Force on Drug abuse.

Indicators of drug abuse published by WADASO (up to 2001)

In 2001 the WA Drug Abuse Strategy Office (WADASO) produced two reports which were a compilation of number of indicators, published as part of a series of short reports, styled as WA Drug Strategy Occasional Papers:

  • Indicators of drug abuse in Western Australia, Occasional paper No. 4 (covering Crime statistics & law enforcement indicators, Public health indicators, Morbidity, Mortality, Drug related telephone calls, Licit drugs, Illicit drugs & treatment services) [PDF 5.6MB]
  • Indicators of drug abuse, Australia versus selected countries, Occasional Paper No. 5 [PDF 329k]

Occasional papers published by WADASO & DAO (2000 - 2003)

The WADASO & the Drug & Alcohol Office (DAO) published a series of reports between 2000 & 2003, which WADASO styled as WA Drug Strategy Occasional papers, which included statistical summaries & commissioned research papers concerned with a number of illicit drug related issues:

  • No. 1: Management of pre-hospital opiate overdoses in Perth, Western Australia by Ian Jacobs (July 2000) [PDF 53k]
  • No. 2: Youth suicide in Western Australia involving cannabis & other drugs by Sharon Hillman, Sven Silburn, Andria Green & Stephen Zubrick (December 2000) [PDF 364k]
  • No. 3: The Drug Aware psychostimulants campaign: How to develop a campaign aimed at preventing the use of 'Party drugs' (March 2001) [PDF 207k]
  • No. 4: Indicators of drug abuse in Western Australia (November 2001) [PDF 5.6MB]
  • No. 5 Indicators of drug abuse: Australia vs other countries (September 2001) [PDF 329k]
  • No. 6: Use of illicit drugs: West Australian adults, 1998 (November 2001) [PDF 467k]
  • No. 7: The criminal careers of drug offenders in Western Australia: A study of the recidivism & criminal history of those arrested for a drug offence in Western Australia between 1989 & 1999 by Giulietta Valuri, David Indermaur & Anna Ferrante (May 2002) [PDF 807k]
  • No. 8: Police drug seizures & drug purity narratives, Western Australia, 2002 (June 2003) [PDF 2.4MB]
  • No. 9: Cannabis related deaths in Western Australia, 1997 - 2001 (December 2003) [PDF 74k]
  • No. 10: Volatile substance related deaths in Western Australia, 1997 - 2001 (August 2003) [PDF 56k]
  • No. 11: Alcohol related harm in Western Australia (May 2002) [PDF 1.4MB]

These publications may also be available from the Drug & Alcohol Office website here.

Statistical bulletins published by TFDA, WADASO & DAO (1996 - 2008)

Separate publications related to a number of specific indicators were published between 1996 & 2008 a series of short reports, styled as Statistical Bulletins. The first series was produced by the Task Force on Drug Abuse (TFDA) from May 1996 to June 1997, the second by the WA Drug Abuse Strategy Office (WADASO) from July 1997 to June 2001 & the third series by the Drug & Alcohol Office (DAO) after it took over functions of WADASO, from July 2001 to May 2008.

Listing of reports prepared by the TFDA, WADASO & DAO:

  • No. 1: Drug related traffic fatalities in Western Australia (May 1996) [96k]
  • No. 2: Mortality caused by opioids, Western Australia, 1995 (August 1996) [74k]
  • No. 3: Needles and syringes, Western Australia, 1995 (December 1996) [90k]
  • No. 4: Opioid deaths, Western Australia, 1996. (July 1997) [55k]
  • No. 5: Utilisation of sobering up centres, Western Australia, 1990-1997 [140k] (June 1999)
  • No. 6: Distribution of needles & syringes, Western Australia, 1987-1997 [103k] (March 1999)
  • No. 7: Alcohol sales, Western Australia, 1967/1968–1997/1998 [149k] (May 2000)
  • No. 8: Accidental heroin related deaths, Western Australia, 1997-1998 [85k] (May 2000)
  • No. 9: Drug offences, Western Australia, 1998-1999 [136k] (July 2000)
  • No. 10: Drug offences, Western Australia, 1998-2000 [105k] (February 2001)
  • No. 11: Utilisation of sobering up centres & their impact on detentions for drunkenness, Western Australia, 1990-2000 [161k] (April 2001)
  • No. 12: Seizure of illicit drugs, Western Australia, 1998-2000 [616k] (May 2001)
  • No. 13: Drug related telephone calls, Western Australia, 1986-2000 [161k] (June 2001)
  • No. 14: Distribution of needles and syringes, Western Australia, 1987-2000 [919k] (July 2001)
  • No. 15: Deaths caused by heroin and other illicit drugs, Western Australia, 1995-2001 [433k] (June 2002)
  • No. 16: Drug offences & seizures, Western Australia, 1998-2004 [438k] (December 2003)
  • No. 17: Utilisation of sobering up centres, Western Australia, 1990-2002 [784k] (September 2003)
  • No. 18: Distribution of needles & syringes, Western Australia, 1987-2002 [660k] (December 2003)
  • No. 19: Distribution of needles & syringes, Western Australia, 1987-2003 [585k] (December 2004)
  • No. 20: Utilisation of sobering up centres, Western Australia, 1990-2003 [582k] (January 2005)
  • No. 21: Utilisation of sobering up centres, Western Australia, 1990-2004 [780k] (June 2005)
  • No. 22: Utilisation of treatment services, Western Australia, 1999-2004 [1.2MB] (December 2005)
  • No. 23: Distribution of needles & syringes, Western Australia, 1987-2004 [718k] (July 2006)
  • No. 24: Drug related offences & seizures, Western Australia, 1998-2005 [892k] (June 2006)
  • No. 25: Drug related telephone calls, Western Australia, 1986-2005 [650k] (July 2006)
  • No. 26: Summary of illicit drug prevalence, Western Australia, 1995 - 2004 [669k] (June 2006)
  • No. 27: Illicit drug related deaths: Western Australia 1995 - 2006 & Australia 1988-2004 (June 2006) [568k]
  • No. 28: Drug related psychiatric outpatient mental disorders due to the use of psychoactive drugs (excluding alcohol), Western Australia, 2000-2006 [1.0MB] (June 2007)
  • No. 29: Drug related psychiatric inpatient mental disorders due to the use of psychoactive drugs (excluding alcohol), Western Australia, 2000-2006 [1.0MB] (June 2007)
  • No. 30: Distribution of needles & syringes, Western Australia, 1987-2005 [658k] (January 2007)
  • No. 31: Alcohol prevalence, Western Australia: 1995 - 2004 [67k] (June 2007)
  • No. 32: Confirmed deaths caused by opioids, Western Australia, 1995-2004 [474k] (May 2008)
  • No. 34: Drug related telephone calls, Western Australia, 1986-2006 [684k] (June 2007)
  • No. 35: Drug related offences & seizures, Western Australia, 1998-2006 [907k] (March 2007)
  • No. 36: Utilisation of sobering up centres, Western Australia, 1990-2005 [644k] (June 2007)
  • No. 37: Summary of West Australian results, Australian School Students’ Alcohol & Drug Survey, 2005 [483k] (June 2007)
  • No. 38: Indicators of drug abuse: Amphetamine type stimulants [969k] (June 2007)
  • No. 39: Confirmed deaths caused by amphetamines, Western Australia, 1997-2004 [468k] (May 2008)
  • No. 40: Overview of trends in opioid related mortality, Western Australia 1995-2007 & Australia 1988-2005 [474k] (May 2008)
  • No. 41: Utilisation of sobering up centres, Western Australia, 1990-2007 [659k] (May 2008)
  • No. 42: Distribution of needles & syringes, Western Australia, 1987-2006 [635k] (May 2008)

These publications may also be available from the Drug & Alcohol Office website here.

Statistical papers: Community Drug Summit (2001)

The Community Drug Summit, which explicitly excluded consideration of alcohol related issues, was held in Perth, WA in August 2001. Listing of publications prepared for the Community Drug Summit with summary data about the use of drugs:
Note:

  • Illicit drugs in WA: Facts & figures (Working paper prepared by WADASO for Community Drug Summit) [1.8MB]
  • Illicit drugs in WA: Services & strategies (Working paper prepared by WADASO for Community Drug Summit) [70k]

These publications may also be available from the Drug & Alcohol Office website here.

Criminal justice statistics

Listing of publications concerned with criminal justice system consequences involving drugs & alcohol:

  • Arrests for drug offences: Australia & Western Australia, 1995/1996 - 2009/2010 [PDF 493kb]
  • Convictions for drug offences in Western Australia, 2002 - 2006 [PDF 583kb]
  • Somerford P & Smith DI. 'Trends, consequences & patterns of illicit drug cases heard in courts in Western Australia, 1977 - 1985'. Paper presented at Second national drug indicators conference, Canberra, ACT, Australian Institute of Criminology, 1990. [PDF 1.0MB]

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