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Drug Use and Crime: Findings from the DUMA Survey

NCJ Number
Stuart Weierter; Mark Lynch
Date Published
June 2002
6 pages
This document presents the findings from the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program.
Detainees were invited to complete a questionnaire and provide a voluntary urine sample. The urinalysis indicated whether drugs were present in the body at the time of the interview. The survey data recorded demographics, arrest information, and self-reported drug use, as well as information on participation in drug rehabilitation programs. A total of 5,440 detainees agreed to participate in the program in 1999, 2000, and 2001. Over 80 percent were male. Ages ranged from 12 to 82 years, with a median age of 26. A total of 3,964 detainees across the 4 sites provided a urine specimen. Cannabis was the most common positive result, followed by opiates and amphetamines. Alcohol was the most commonly tried drug, followed closely by cannabis. The results showed the proportion of males and females that tested positive for a drug were quite different for opiates (36 percent of females tested positive for opiates, compared with only 22 percent of males). The differences in the proportions of males and females using cannabis and amphetamines were much smaller. Detainees from the overall sample that left school in Year 10 or before were less likely than detainees that left school in Year 11 or later to test positive for opiates and more likely to test positive for amphetamines. The urinalysis results were compared with self-reported drug use over the previous 2 days. The self-report data and the urinalysis results matched to an acceptable level. Detainees reporting heroin use were most likely to indicate drug dependency. Detainees reporting dependency on alcohol were more likely than other drug-dependent detainees to have been charged with a violent crime. Detainees reporting dependency on heroin were much more likely than other drug-dependent detainees to have been charged with a property offense. Detainees reporting dependency on cannabis were more likely than other drug-dependent detainees to have been charged with a drug offense. Statistical relationships suggest two patterns of regular or addictive-like poly-drug use: (1) benzodiazepines and heroin, and (2) amphetamine, alcohol, and cannabis. 7 references