This review was written for the Australian Drug Foundation in December, 2008
George Aranda, Information Officer, DrugInfo Clearinghouse, Australian Drug Foundation
Benzodiazepine and pharmaceutical opioid misuse and their relationship to crime: An Examination of illicit prescription drug markets in Melbourne, Hobart and Darwin
Fry C, Smith B, Bruno R, O’Keefe B & Miller P 2007
NDLERF Monograph series, no. 21,Hobart: National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund
This report offers a review of facts, issues and future directions relating to the abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines and pharmaceutical drugs and their relationship to crime in Melbourne, Hobart and Darwin. The research, funded by the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund, is based on interviews with people personally affected by drug misuse and abuse, and individuals working in the law enforcement and health sectors.
The report examines the status and idiosyncrasies of the drug markets of each of these Australian cities, the nature and prevalence of crime, and how licit and illicit drugs enter the market. The findings of this examination identified the difficulties of front-line policing of these drugs in each city. A number of interventions are proposed to reduce the need for law enforcement responses and these include: creation of alternatives to criminal charges; greater monitoring of prescription medication; lower drug costs; greater communication and education between relevant health and legal systems.
At under 130 pages, the report provides a thorough yet succinct examination of the relationship of these drugs and crime in Australia and would be useful to anyone working from a legal, health or consumer perspective.
A PDF of the monograph is available from the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund website.