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Evaluating Drug Law Enforcement Interventions Directed Towards Methamphetamine in Australia

NCJ Number
Alison Ritter; David Bright; Wendy Gong
Date Published
133 pages
This study examined drug law enforcement interventions directed towards methamphetamine use in Australia.
This study examined drug law enforcement interventions directed towards methamphetamine use in Australia with two specific aims: provide a description of methamphetamine supply chains in the country in order to inform law enforcement interventions; and provide a cost analysis of different law enforcement interventions directed at the methamphetamine market. In order to determine the costs of the interventions, the study compared the value of seized drugs against the government's expenditures for combating the problem. The study found the methamphetamine (meth) used in Australia is both imported and produced locally within the country. Crystal meth is primarily imported into the country while non-crystal meth is mainly locally produced and distributed by a range of criminal networks. Seven law enforcement interventions used to disrupt the supply of meth were identified: end product seizures - source countries, end product seizures - borders, precursor seizure - border, regulation of precursors - domestic, clandestine laboratory detections - domestic, end product trafficking seizures - domestic, and end product retail level seizures - domestic. Only four of the interventions, however, were able to be examined using the economic model in the study. The analysis found that the highest ranked intervention, in terms of costs versus impact, was the clandestine laboratory detections. The other three interventions studied ranked as follows: second - end product trafficking seizures (domestic), third - precursor seizures (border), and fourth - end product seizures (border). These findings indicate the need for future research on the effective use of law enforcement interventions to stem the supply of methamphetamine in Australia. Study limitations and future research are discussed. Tables, figures, references, and appendixes