Examining supply changes in Australia’s cocaine market

Caitlin Hughes, Jenny Chalmers, David Bright, Francis Matthew-Simmons, Natasha Sindicich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:
Media attention to cocaine use and supply has increased following some of the largest cocaine seizures in Australia's history. Whether there has been an expansion in supply remains unclear. This paper examines the evidence behind assertions of increased supply in Australia and the scale and nature of any apparent increase, using proxy indicators of cocaine importation, distribution and use.

DESIGN AND METHODS:
Eight proxies of cocaine importation, distribution and use were adopted, including amount of importation, mode of importation and supply flows to Australia. Each proxy indicator was sourced using publicly available and Australia-wide data, including information on the total weight of border seizures, mode of detection and country of embarkation of individual seizures. Data permitting, trends were examined for up to a 12 year period (1997-1998 to 2009-2010).

RESULTS:
Since 2006-2007 there was evidence of increased cocaine importation, albeit less than between 1998-1999 and 2001-2002. There were further signs that the 2006-2007 expansion coincided with a diversification of trafficking routes to and through Australia (beyond the traditional site of entry-Sydney) and shifts in the geographic distribution of use.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:
The congruity between indicators suggests that there has been a recent expansion in cocaine supply to and distribution within Australia, but that the more notable shift has concerned the nature of supply, with an apparent growth in importation and distribution beyond New South Wales. The diversification of cocaine supply routes may increase risks of market entrenchment and organised crime throughout Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-272
Number of pages10
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Australia
  • Cocaine
  • Demand
  • Market
  • Supply

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