18 September 2015
The number of recorded drug use and possession offences in Victoria has continued to increase over the past five years, while other evidence suggests that the number of people using drugs has remained stable. This exploratory study analysed trends in both the number and rate of drug use and possession offences and offenders over the past ten years, as well as the characteristics of these offenders. The research found that the rate of offences has continued to rise since 2010. The rate of offenders has also risen, but to a lesser extent. Over the past two years, the increase in both the offence and offender rates has slowed. Seventy two percent of recorded drug use and possession offenders were only recorded for one use and possession offence incident between 2005 and 2014. The majority of recorded offenders were male (81.4%) and aged under 30 at the time of their first recorded offence in the dataset (62.7%). Further research will be conducted to examine whether the observed increases over past five years were driven by offending in particular geographic regions or by offences relating to particular drug types.
Keywords: trends, drug use and possession, recorded crime, repeat offending, offender characteristics.
Rate of recorded drug use and possession offences and offenders per 100,000 population
This paper was reissued on 21 September 2015 due to a draft version being loaded in error. The reissued final copy includes additional explanatory material and some updates to the commentary. The analysis and statistics within the paper were unchanged from the previous version. Users who have stored previous versions of the paper, however, are advised to delete the existing copy and replace with the new content.