An Overview of Australia’s Heroin Markets

Degenhardt, Louisa, Hall, Wayne, Topp, Libby, Collins, Linette, Dietze , Paul and Christie, Paul (2004). An Overview of Australia’s Heroin Markets. In Louisa Degenhardt, Carolyn Day and Wayne Hall (Ed.), The Causes, Course and Consequences of the Heroin Shortage in Australia (pp. 23-38) Canberra ACT, Australia: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.

Author Degenhardt, Louisa
Hall, Wayne
Topp, Libby
Collins, Linette
Dietze , Paul
Christie, Paul
Title of chapter An Overview of Australia’s Heroin Markets
Title of book The Causes, Course and Consequences of the Heroin Shortage in Australia
Place of Publication Canberra ACT, Australia
Publisher National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
Publication Year 2004
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Year available 2004
Series NDARC Monographs; no. 53
ISBN 0642 474 273
Editor Louisa Degenhardt
Carolyn Day
Wayne Hall
Chapter number 3
Start page 23
End page 38
Total pages 16
Total chapters 11
Language eng
Subjects 111706 Epidemiology
Formatted Abstract/Summary
• Australia had a history of quasi-medical use of opiates in 19th century.

• Restrictions on access to opiates began in the 1890s and continued until heroin was
prohibited in the mid 1950s.

• It has been proposed that illicit drug markets flourish when a number of variables exist:
supply of the drug; potential consumers; some level of corruption in law enforcement;
the existence of organised crime; and the influence of such groups upon persons in
positions of power. These factors (particularly the first four) have been documented in
Australia in past decades.

• Illicit heroin use largely began in Australia in the early to mid 1960s, when it was
introduced by US servicemen on leave from the Vietnam War.

• The illicit heroin market increased after the end of the Vietnam War as organised
criminals previously involved in prostitution and gambling began importing heroin from
South East Asia.

• Law enforcement corruption has long been associated with the heroin market.

• In the mid 1980s a substantial increase in heroin use and associated harms resulted in
the launch of a National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NCADA).

• A further increase in heroin use in the early to mid 1990s provided clear indication of an
expanding heroin market.

• In late 2000 heroin suddenly became very difficult for experienced heroin users to find.
Q-Index Code B1
Additional Notes ISSN: 1449-7476

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Created: Wed, 01 Apr 2009, 14:38:59 EST by Mary-Anne Marrington on behalf of School of Public Health