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Cannabis and crime: most popular illicit drug and a predictor of re-of

OZ Stoners

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Although it is illicit drugs such as methamphetamine (‘ice’), cocaine and heroin that are often seen as the major issue in terms of criminal behaviour, an analysis of a range of studies on Australian prisoners has found that cannabis continues to be the drug most likely to be used by this population.

The report, written in conjunction with the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC), based at the University of New South Wales, reveals that over 80 per cent of prisoners have used cannabis in their lifetime and one in three have used cannabis in the last 6-12 months, typically on a daily basis.

It is estimated that one in three prisoners use cannabis while in custody and that it is the drug they first use while incarcerated. On release, two in five prisoners intend to use the drug, and this intention is a strong predictor of re-incarceration.

AIC researchers used data from a wide range of studies in the preparation of this report, including the Drug Use Careers of Offenders Study (2001-2005), the NSW Prisoner Survey (2007-2008), The Post-Release Experience of Prisoners in Queensland study (2006), The NSW Inmate health Survey (2009), the Health of Prisoner Evaluation Pilot Project (2009) and the National Prisoner Health Survey (2010).

To read the report, “Prevalence and issues relating to cannabis use among prison inmates: Key findings from Australian research since 2001” please visit: http://ncpic.org.au/ncpic/publications/aic-bulletins/

NCPIC is an Australian Government initiative supported by the Department of Health and Ageing.

Cannabis Information and Helpline – 1800 30 40 50
NCPIC website – www.ncpic.org.au

NCPIC is supported by the Australian Government

Contact Details:

Morag Millington, tel. (02) 9385 0213

Clare Le (Chenoweth), tel. (02) 9385 0218

Date Issued: 14 February, 2012

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