Drug Related Research

There have been a number of inquiries, reviews and commissioned research in Western Australia (WA) concerned with the adequacy of existing policies and potential reforms to manage problems attributable to the use of alcohol and other drugs. Details of those conducted in WA since the early 1970s are listed elsewhere on the Inquiries and review page of this website.

Published research

The reviews and inquiries page includes links to extracts of text from published reports of these investigations, to make these materials more readily available and accessible. Statistical data that was used in conjunction with these sources has also been extracted and compiled as tables and graphs for similar reasons.

The information available on this page has in some instances been produced to underpin cannabis law reform, as well as with other drug law reforms, conducted in WA over the period since the 1990s in WA.

It should be noted these reports do not contain up-to-date information and should therefore be considered as primarily for historical value or research interest.

Parliamentary papers

These short unpublished papers are listed because of potential historical interest. It should be noted the information in these papers is not current and more recent research should be consulted.

Task Force on Drug (1995) Drug law enforcement statistics

This is an extract from Chapter 5 from the Interim report of the Task Force and includes State drug charges and seizures for the period 1985 to 1994 by drug type, Federal drug charges and seizures for 1992 to 1994, are group breakdown by gender and region for 1992/1993, drug charges dealt with by the Children’s court for 1985 to 1993 and a breakdown by ANCO drug offence codes for 1985 to 1993.

Click here to view or download a PDF (70k) version of this publication.

Select Committee on the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 (1997) Analysis of drug offences and offenders 1990 – 1996

This is an extract from Chapter 4 of the Interim report of the Select Committee, of the text of a detailed analysis, of commissioned research undertaken by the Crime Research Centre for the inquiry.

Click here to view or download a PDF (110k) version of this publication.

Published research

Swensen G. 
The drug war – Asian style. A study of legal measures adopted to combat illegal drug use in Singapore and China. E-Law – Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, 1999, 6(1).

The article compared and contrasted the legal & administrative structures adopted in these two jurisdictions to manage those who had used illicit drugs. 

A number of similarities were identified, even though Singapore is a literate and wealth society and has a legal system steeped in many common law principles through it being a former British colony, whereas the PRC has a history deeply steeped in Confucianist values. 

Both countries follow a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ which relies on severe criminal sanctions designed to punish those identified as having used or possessed illicit drugs, emphasised by a reliance on detention of such persons in detoxification-focussed rehabilitation centres.

Click here to view or download a PDF version (48k) of this article.

Swensen G.
Drug problems in Western Australia. A review of non criminal mechanisms to regulate drug users by use of the Health Act 1911. E-Law – Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, 1994, 1(3). 

This paper examined a system established under the Health Act 1911, which has operated in WA since 1958, that requires a medical practitioner to notify the Executive Director Public Health if the doctor is aware or suspects that a person is addicted to a drug specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Poisons Act 1964. (Eighth Schedule drugs are defined as being drugs of addiction.) 

The paper includes an examination of the administrative procedures instituted under the Drugs of Addiction Notification Regulations 1980 & whether the rules of procedural fairness could be implied as to the regulations & the associated Register of notified addicts. 

Click here to view or download a PDF version (231k) of this articl

Unpublished research

Swensen G. (1983) Criminal convictions & psychosocial variables of 765 drug abusers who sought treatment at William Street Clinic, January 1979 – December 1982, Perth, Western Australia. 
Paper presented at 53rd ANZAAS (Australian New Zealand Association for Advancement of Science) Congress, Perth, WA, 16-20 May 1983. 

Click here to view or download a PDF version (40k) of this paper.

Peter Somerford and Ian Smith (1990)
Trends, consequences and patterns of illicit drug cases heard in courts in Western Australia, 1977 – 1985 

Paper presented at Second national drug indicators conference, Canberra, ACT, Australian Institute of Criminology, 1990.

 Click here to view or download a PDF version of this paper [PDF 1.0MB]

Swensen (2008) A study of convictions for drug offences in WA, 2002 – 2006 

This paper was written in June 2008 and contains an analysis of summarised data to understand and identify trends in drug related convictions recorded in the lower courts in WA over the five year 2002 – 2006.

The paper provides both annual and quarterly breakdowns of counts of convictions for charges laid under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 in relation to Section 5 offences (offences concerned with premises, implements & utensils), Section 6 offences (offences concerned with prohibited drugs) and Section 7 offences (offences concerned with prohibited plants). 

Within each of these three categories of offences, the paper also includes a breakdown of the number of charges by gender, age group, type of court, drug group and conviction outcome. 

Click here to view or download a PDF version of this paper [508k]