Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in Asia
Arrests, Convictions and Offences relating to Drug Abuse in the Pacific Region


Data released by the ABCI and presented in table 4 indi­cates that most arrests involving illicit drugs are heavily concentrated on cannabis (29,209 in 1991), followed at a distance by amphetamines (3,466), heroin (2,276) and cocaine (345). These figures should not be considered as measures of the extent of abuse but rather as rough indicators of law enforcement practices adopted by Australian authorities to curb drug related crimes (Department of Health, 1992).

            A National Prison Census, conducted by the Institute of Criminology in 1991, used the "most serious offence" committed by prisoners to give some indication as to type of drug related offences. Offences against property (32 per cent) and against the person (31 per cent) led the way, followed by robbery and extortion (11 per cent), offences against good order (7 per cent), road traffic violations (7 per cent), trafficking and manufacturing (6 per cent) and others (about 5 per cent) (Department of Health 1992).

Table 4            Number of arrests involving illicit drugs, Australia, 1989 to 1991

                              1989                    1990                     1991

Cannabis             32,598                 23,195                  29,209
Amphetamines      3,172                  2,079                   3,466
Heroin                  3,488                  2,312                   2,276
Cocaine                   383                      244                       345

Total                  39,641                 27,830                  35,296
Source:  Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence.

In 1992, a record 249 persons were arrested for drug related offences. Most arrests related to possession of small quantities of herbal cannabis. Arrests of cannabis growers is reported to be increasing (Fiji 1993). The majority of those arrested were males in the 17 to 25 age group, mainly for consumption offences, while a minority group aged between 25 and 40 years old was arrested for cultivation and trafficking offences (HONLEA 1993).

In 1990, 287 persons were arrested for drug related offences, all involving cannabis. Of these, 255 were arrested for possession/abuse and 32 for trafficking (U.N. 1990).

No information reported by 31st December 1993.

In 1990, a total of 33 persons were arrested and convicted for drug related offences (18 for possession/abuse and 15 for trafficking), all related to cannabis. All but four of those convicted were males, most (76 per cent) were between 20 and 24 years of age, and 24 per cent were between 25 and 29 years of age. All of those convicted were unemployed (U.N. 1990).

Cannabis-related offenses accounted for 93 per cent of the total drug offences for 1990 (ESCAP 1993).

Between January and October 1992, a total of 454 persons were imprisoned for drug related offences (382 between January and June 1993) (NNB 1993).

An Australian citizen and a Solomon Islander were arrested and sentenced for planting and growing cannabis. A Solomon Islander was arrested and sentenced in Australia for heroin trafficking (Solomon 1993). During 1991 and 1992, 9 cases for trafficking and 24 cases for drug abuse were recorded, but no arrests were made (Pacific 1993).

No information reported by 31st December 1993.

In 1989, 25 cases of possession and cultivation of cannabis plants were prosecuted by the police, and 17 cases were prosecuted during the first eight months of 1990 (ESCAP 1991).