Drug Law Reform Statistics

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 reviews that have been undertaken in WA since the early 1970s are listed elsewhere in the website.

This page provides access to statistical data that had been generated and used to underpin cannabis law reform, as well as with other drug law reform that had occurred in WA over the two decade period, from the 1990s. Interest is this information should be considered as primarily for its historical value and/or research interest and more recent data should be obtained.

Drug charges and seizures – Statistical bulletins

A number of statistical bulletins were produced between 1996 and 2008 by the Task Force on Drug Abuse (1996 – 1997), the WA Drug Strategy Office (July 1997 – June 2002), and by the Drug and Alcohol Office (July 2002 – May 2008). 

  • No. 9: Drug offences, Western Australia, 1998-1999 [136k]
  • No. 10: Drug offences, Western Australia, 1998-2000 [105k]
  • No. 12: Seizure of illicit drugs, Western Australia, 1998-2000 [616k]
  • No. 16: Drug offences and seizures, Western Australia, 1998-2004 [438k]
  • No. 24: Drug related offences and seizures, Western Australia, 1998-2005 [892k]
  • No. 33: Drug-related convictions, Western Australia, 2002- 2006 [810k]
  • No. 35: Drug related offences and seizures, Western Australia, 1998-2006 [907k]

Illicit Drug Data Reports – National reporting system

A national reporting system has operated in Aus­tralia since the late 1980s to provide information about drug law enforcement (DLE) activity. The impetus to develop a national reporting system concerned with illicit drugs was an outcome of parliamentary inquiries and Royal Commissions that occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

The national drug reporting system is presently overseen by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and is underpinned by data sharing ar­rangements between the law enforcement agen­cies that exist in each Australian jurisdiction. 

The Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence (ABCI) established and coordinated the publica­tion of annual reports containing both national and jurisdictional data. 

The first such report, the Major drugs report, was produced by the ABCI for the 1988, 1989 and 1990 calendar years. 

The report was expanded in 1991 and renamed the Australian drug intelligence assessment report (ADIAR) as it incorporated material which had been published separately since 1985 by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), which had involved a number of Commonwealth and state DLE organ­isations.

The AFP report was known as the Illicit drugs in Australia situation report

In 1994 the ADIAR was renamed the Aus­tralian illicit drug report (AIDR). The 1994 AIDR contained for the first time an annual breakdown of the number of arrests by type of drug and offence for each Australian jurisdiction. The reporting year was changed from a calendar year to the finan­cial year in the following year. This meant that the 1995/1996 report contained 18 months data, ie from January 1995 to June 1996. 

The 1995/1996 AIDR report was the first in what has remained a continuing series of annual reports that present both annual and quarterly data for a number of indices of DLE activity broken down by type of offence and type of drug, of the number of arrests, seizures, purity or potency levels and es­timates of mean prices. This information is broken down by a number of drug groups for each sepa­rate jurisdiction. 

Until the 2001/2002 report, the AIDR was pub­lished annually by ABCI. 

Subsequently it has been published by the ACC. The ACC was formed by the merger in January 2003 of the ABCI, the National Crime Authority and the Office of Strategic Crime Assessment. 

The AIDR report was renamed the Illicit drug data report (IDDR) for the 2002/2003 year.

This paper presents trends for annual arrests in both tables and graphs from statistical summaries in data tables appended to the Australian Illicit Drug Data Report (AIDDR), published annually by the Australian Crime Commission

The AIDDR reports present a national perspective about illicit drugs involving detailed discussions and reviews about issues of interest to law enforcement bodies, supported by jurisdiction level breakdowns of annual counts of arrests and seizures by major drug groups.

Swensen (2021) Drug law enforcement statistics , Western Australia, 1968/1969 – 2004

This paper was produced in April 2021 and contains data extracted from published annual reports of the WA Police, parliamentary reports or sourced from commissioned research.

 Click here to view or download a PDF version of this paper [197k].

Swensen (2021) Arrests for drug offences, Western Australia and Australia: 1995/1996 – 2018/2019

This paper was produced in March 2021 and contains WA and national data, of annual counts of arrests involving charges cannabis, heroin other opioids and amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) for the period 1995/1996 to 2018/2019.  

This data is in both tables and graphs, compiled from data tables appended to the Australian Illicit Drug Data Report (AIDDR) annual reports, published by the Australian Crime Commission

The cannabis data is broken down by seriousness, into so-called ‘consumer’ and ‘provider’ offences, for cannabis infringement notices issued in Australian jurisdictions where expiation schemes have operated, as well as arrests in non-infringement jurisdictions.

Click here to view or download a PDF version of this paper [493k].