Heroin Heroin

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Key points                                             The difference in colour between No.4 and No.3
                                                       grades is a result of impurities introduced
• A reduction in the availability of heroin
                                                       during or remaining after the manufacturing
  across the nation, commencing in December
                                                       process. No.3 grade is commonly heated and the
  2000, resulted in lower street-level purity and
                                                       vapours inhaled. Unprocessed raw heroin or
  increased prices during the reporting period.
                                                       heroin base is referred to as No.1 and No.2
• As a result of the reduced availability of           grade heroin.
  heroin, some users began to use other illicit              ‘Homebake’ is another form of heroin.
  substances such as cocaine and                       Made from codeine extracted from pharmaceu-
  methylamphetamine.                                   tical products, it is a crude product generally not
• Customs made the third largest detection of          favoured by Australian users.
  heroin at the border to date: 184.1 kilograms              In Australia, the most common method of
  concealed in the structure of a sea cargo            administering heroin is by intravenous injec-
  container.                                           tion—‘mainlining’. The inside of the forearms
                                                       and the ankles are the most popular sites for
• An edict totally banning opium cultivation in        injecting and users usually use a tourniquet to
  Afghanistan reduced the global opium                 help them find a good vein (Phipps et al. 1991).
  harvest. In the short-term, large amounts of         Less common injecting sites, such as between
  opium stockpiled from previous harvests
                                                       the toes or into the mouth, are favoured if a user
  might maintain the global supply of heroin.
                                                       wants to avoid detection by family, friends or law
                                                       enforcement officers.
Description                                                  The second most common method of
     Heroin (diacetylmorphine) is derived from         administration involves heating rock or pow-
the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, and               dered heroin on aluminium foil and inhaling
belongs to the opiate group. The Sumerians             the fumes, referred to as ‘chasing the dragon’
called the opium poppy hul gil, ‘flower of joy’.       or ‘tooting’ (Chalk 1998).
Opiates—opium, morphine and codeine—are
the natural derivatives of the opium poppy. The        Effects
related drugs methadone and pethidine are
                                                             On entering the body, heroin is metabo-
synthetically produced and so are not opiates.
                                                       lised into morphine, producing analgesia. Most
‘Opioids’ refers to both the natural and the
                                                       heroin users report an intense feeling of
synthetic substances. Adding two acetyl groups
                                                       euphoria starting soon after injection and
to the morphine molecule produces heroin.
                                                       lasting several minutes. The period of euphoria
This chemical conversion allows the heroin
                                                       is followed by three to four hours of reduced
molecule to penetrate the blood–brain barrier
                                                       sensation accompanied by a feeling of lethargy
much more readily (O’Brien & Cohen 1984).
                                                       and sleepiness (Zackon 1986). The undesirable
                                                       effects can include nausea and vomiting, shallow
Main forms                                             breathing, itching and reduced bowel activity
     There are three main grades of heroin.            leading to severe constipation.
The most common form seized in developed                     Abrupt cessation of opiate use results in a
countries, particularly Australia, is the purest       withdrawal syndrome with symptoms including
form of heroin: No.4 grade. This is a white            irritability, anxiety, apprehension, muscular and
powder that is easily dissolved and thus readily       abdominal pains, chills, nausea, diarrhoea,
injected. No.3 grade heroin is a tan-coloured,         production of tears, sweating, sniffing, sneezing,
granular product referred to as ‘brown rock’.          general weakness and insomnia (Mattick & Hall

Australian Illicit Drug Report 2000–01             •    Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence           25

     1993). These symptoms usually appear within 12       Laos
     hours of ceasing to use heroin and peak after             Laos is the second largest producer of illicit
     two to four days; they generally subside after       opium. Although opium yields in Laos are
     seven to 10 days.                                    generally poorer due to the absence of irrigation
          Opiate-dependent people can develop             or fertilisers, the opium yield increased from 140
     serious health problems including: collapsed         tonnes in 1999 to 210 tonnes in 2000.
     veins; abscesses; tetanus; hepatitis B and C; HIV;        The geographical position of Laos has
     heart, chest and bronchial problems (including       significantly increased its role as a transit
     pneumonia); loss of appetite; irregular menstrua-    country. Laos lies between a major drug
     tion; possible infertility and impotence; chronic    producer (Burma) and countries that lie on
     constipation; risk of accidents while intoxicated;   trade routes to Europe, North America and
     and overdose (O’Brien & Cohen 1984).                 Australia—namely China, Thailand, Cambodia
                                                          and Vietnam. Laos also appears to be playing an
                                                          increasing role in heroin manufacturing as
     Sources                                              greater numbers of heroin laboratories continue
     Production outside Australia                         to relocate from northern Burma to western
                                                          parts of Laos in response to increased counter-
     Burma                                                drug activity by Thai authorities in and around
           Burma is currently the world’s largest         the Thai-Burma border.
     opium producer and heroin manufacturer.
           Production in the Golden Triangle1 , the       Afghanistan
     principal source of heroin trafficked to Aus-             Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan
     tralia, seems to have recovered slightly from the    during 2001 declined from an estimated 82 172
     slump in recent years. Opium cultivation             hectares in 2000 to an estimated 7606 hectares
                                                          in 2001—a reduction of 91 per cent. An
     increased in Burma by 17 per cent from 89 500
                                                          estimated 185 tonnes of raw opium were
     hectares in 1999 to 108 700 hectares in 2000 (US
                                                          produced in 2001, a reduction of 94 per cent
     State Department 2000). While there are reports
                                                          from the 3276 tonnes produced in 2000 and a
     suggesting a drought in some parts of Burma
                                                          96 per cent reduction from the record 4581
     may depress opium poppy production this year,
                                                          tonnes produced in 1999 (UNDCP 2001).
     this is not expected to significantly affect the
                                                               Afghanistan produced an estimated 79 per
     country’s total opium harvest. Heroin produc-
                                                          cent of the world’s illicit opium output in 1999,
     tion in Burma was approximately 100 tonnes in        but this figure dropped to approximately 70 per
     both 1999 and 2000, an output expected to be         cent during 2000 due to a severe drought and a
     repeated in 2001.                                    decree issued by the Taliban authorities in
           Much of the opium produced in Burma            September 1999 requiring all opium growers to
     continues to be converted to heroin in clandes-      reduce their production by one-third. A second
     tine laboratories in the northern Shan State.        Taliban decree, issued in July 2000, required
     From here the heroin is transported principally      farmers to completely stop opium cultivation on
     through China and ports such as Rangoon or           religious grounds.
     through other neighbouring countries to                   Opium cultivation surveys conducted by the
     international markets. Heroin seizures in Burma      UNDCP in February 2001 established that this
     declined from 273 kilograms in 1999 to 171           ban was largely complied with in Taliban-
     kilograms in 2000. However, seizures of the          controlled areas. At the time the decrees were
     precursor chemical acetic anhydride in 2000          issued, approximately 85 per cent of the area in
     were two and a half times higher compared with       Afghanistan under opium cultivation in 2000
     1999 (US State Department 2000).                     was controlled by the Taliban regime and

26   Australian Illicit Drug Report 2000–01           •    Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence

included the most productive opium farms               likely the result of a confluence of factors, part
where high yields were routinely achieved due to       of the explanation lies in significant seizures and
the use of irrigation systems.                         interventions inside and outside Australia by
     However, the impact of this level of              Commonwealth law enforcement and overseas
reduction in opium production in Afghanistan           partner agencies during the reporting period.
in 2000–01 can be expected to be slow in                    An important detection during December
affecting the global supply of heroin. There is        2000 identified an effective method of conceal-
information that a stockpile of opium and              ment that apparently had been used to import
heroin has been retained in Afghanistan and            large amounts of heroin into Australia. The use
surrounding areas.                                     of Pacific countries—from where cargo would
                                                       not normally be suspected of containing illicit
                                                       drugs—to tranship heroin to Australia was
International efforts                                  highlighted by the seizure of 357 kilograms of
      While the number of heroin seizures at or
                                                       that drug in Fiji in October 2000. Working with
near the Australian Customs border in 2000–01
                                                       Asian, Canadian and United States law enforce-
was similar to previous years, the amount seized
                                                       ment agencies in long-term investigations,
was lower. The reduction was most pronounced
                                                       Australia has been instrumental in significant
in the second half of the reporting period and it
                                                       seizures and important arrests being made
is likely that onshore and offshore seizures and
                                                       overseas. These interventions are believed to
arrests in late 2000 reduced the flow of heroin
                                                       have disrupted the small number of criminal
from the Golden Triangle to Australia.
                                                       groups capable of importing large shipments
      In October 2000 Fijian authorities seized
                                                       from the Golden Triangle to Australia. Interna-
357 kilograms of heroin in Suva after an
                                                       tional and domestic cooperation and persistence
extended joint investigation involving the
                                                       in targeting high level traffickers can lead to a
Australian Federal Police, the Royal Fiji Police
                                                       significant reduction in the illicit drug supply.
Force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the
New Zealand Police, the US Drug Enforcement
Administration, the Department of Immigration          Border situation
and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, and               During 2000–01 there were 28 detections of
the National Crime Authority. The investigation        heroin at the Customs border, weighing 215.6
demonstrated the range of offences engaged in          kilograms in total, whereas in 1999–2000 there
by heroin traffickers, including people smug-          were 39 detections. The reporting period saw
gling and the counterfeiting of currency,              Customs make the third largest detection of
travellers cheques and credit cards.                   heroin at the border to date: 184.1 kilograms
      Another example of the importance of             concealed in the structure of a sea cargo container.
multi-agency and international cooperation was
                                                       Methods of importation
the seizure of 184 kilograms of heroin and 79
                                                             Customs detected 12 attempted importa-
kilograms of methylamphetamine in Sydney in
                                                       tions involving air passengers, eight by air cargo,
December 2000. The investigation involved
                                                       five in the postal stream, two in sea cargo and
Hong Kong law enforcement authorities, the
                                                       one by commercial aircraft. By weight, the
New South Wales Police/Australian Federal
                                                       majority of heroin detected was in sea cargo
Police Joint Asian Crime Group and Australian
                                                       (196.9 kilograms), followed by air cargo (14.7
Customs Service.
                                                       kilograms), air passengers (2.9 kilograms) and
Effects of law enforcement intervention                post (one kilogram)—see Figure 3.1.
    While the causes of the relative shortage of             Of the 28 heroin detections at the border in
heroin in Australia from the end of 2000 are           2000–01, 15 were in New South Wales, six in

Australian Illicit Drug Report 2000–01             •    Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence            27

     Figure 3.1: Heroin: importation methods as a                    During 2000–01 body-packing and false
     proportion of the total weight of detections,              linings in suitcases continued to be common
     2000–01 (Australian Customs Service)
                                                                methods of concealing heroin. Other methods
                                                                of concealment included marble columns from
                                                                Hong Kong containing 10 kilograms of heroin
                                                Sea Cargo       in an air cargo consignment; a jar of fishpaste in
                                                                the post from Cambodia containing two
                                                                kilograms of heroin; and a wall-hanging in the
                                                Air Passenger
                                                                baggage of a passenger from Thailand contain-
                                                                ing 1.5 kilograms of heroin.
                                                Air Cargo
                                                                Significant detections
                                                                     The Australian Federal Police and the
                                                                Australian Customs Service work closely together
                                                                in their efforts to detect and seize illicit drugs that
                                                                are being imported or exported. On detection of
     Victoria, three in Queensland, two in South                narcotic drugs, Customs alerts the Australian
     Australia, and one each in the Northern                    Federal Police for follow-up investigation.
     Territory and Western Australia. Although New                   Of the 215.6 kilograms of heroin detected
     South Wales accounted for just over half the               at the border in 2000–01, 184.1 kilograms were
     number of detections, these detections consti-             detected in one operation. This detection was
     tuted 98.5 per cent of the weight of heroin                linked to the seizure of 79 kilograms of crystal-
     detected, primarily because of the detection of            line methylamphetamine a week before.
     184.1 kilograms in sea cargo. Even with this               Following Customs targeting of three containers
     detection removed, the average weight per                  from China, officers in Sydney discovered the
     detection was higher in New South Wales than               heroin concealed in the structure of the
     any State. Thus the trend of New South Wales               containers. This method of concealment has
     serving as the hub for heroin importation and              apparently previously been used to import large
     distribution in Australia continues.
          The heroin detected at the border during
     2000–01 was sent from a number of countries:
                                                                Plate 3.1: Marble columns used to conceal 10
     China and Hong Kong were the embarkation
                                                                kilograms of heroin in an air cargo consignment
     points for the three largest heroin detections             from Hong Kong (Australian Customs Service)
     weighing a total of 207 kilograms; Thailand
     accounted for seven detections weighing a total
     of 6.2 kilograms; Vietnam accounted for six
     detections weighing a total of 129 grams;
     Indonesia accounted for five detections weigh-
     ing a total of 802.5 grams; and Singapore for two
     detections weighing a total of 338.5 grams.
          In 2000–01 there were 11 detections of
     opium-type substances such as seeds, poppy
     plants, poppy resin and opium; with a total
     weight of 770 grams.
          Figure 3.2 provides details of Customs
     border detections of heroin for 1991–92 to

28   Australian Illicit Drug Report 2000–01                 •    Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence

amounts of heroin into Australia. The subse-             This distribution pattern, first detected a
quent operation involving officers from the              number of years ago, persisted in 2000–01 when
Australian Customs Service, Australian Federal           98.5 per cent of the heroin detected entering
Police, the Joint Asian Crime Group and Hong             Australia was detected in New South Wales.
Kong authorities, culminated in the arrest of two              Two factors in particular make Sydney an
men in Sydney and a Chinese national in Hong             attractive target for heroin importers: its very
Kong. This detection confirms that improve-              high volume of international passenger traffic
ments in border technology and intelligence,             and the large volume of international and
and greater cooperation between law enforce-             domestic freight. Sydney is also the most
ment agencies, are yielding good results against         populous Australian city, which offers heroin
highly organised and sophisticated drug-                 importers a degree of anonymity.
trafficking syndicates.                                        Intelligence analysis by a number of
      In March 2001 Customs officers in Sydney
                                                         agencies has identified ethnic Vietnamese and
targeted a shipping container from China for
                                                         ethnic Chinese organised crime groups as the
inspection and found 12.8 kilograms of heroin
                                                         continuing dominant players responsible for the
concealed inside pineapple tins. The tins also
                                                         drug’s distribution in the nation. However, other
contained 131 kilograms of MDMA. The
                                                         nationalities traditionally not involved in heroin
subsequent extensive investigation resulted in
                                                         distribution are now cooperating with these
the arrest of two people in Sydney.
                                                         groups. Typically, interstate heroin wholesalers
                                                         will commute to Sydney to purchase the drug
Distribution                                             and then arrange for its transportation inter-
     The majority of heroin enters Australia             state. This method is used by heroin distributors
through Sydney before being brokered and                 who reside in Victoria, Queensland, South
distributed to other centres (ABCI 1997).                Australia and Western Australia. The purchased

Figure 3.2: Heroin: Customs border detections by number and weight, 1991–92 to 2000–01
(Australian Customs Service)







      1991–92   1992–93   1993–94   1994–95    1995–96     1996–97   1997–98   1998–99   1999–2000   2000–01

Australian Illicit Drug Report 2000–01           •        Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence           29

     heroin is transported to their State by the buyer    Commands reported heroin was readily available
     or a courier acting on their behalf, travelling by   in most metropolitan and coastal regions.
     car, bus, train or aeroplane.                        Heroin was difficult to obtain in rural areas of
          Although analysis has identified that Asian     New South Wales.
     organised crime groups are involved in the                A number of trends emerged as a conse-
     importation and distribution of heroin at the        quence of the reduced availability of heroin.
     wholesale level, no single ethnic group domi-        While there were anecdotal reports of users
     nates the street level distribution of heroin.       robbing dealers of heroin, health agencies
     Heroin at the street level continues to be           reported an increase in demand for heroin
     distributed through drug-user networks. Places       rehabilitation services as users decided to seek
     such as hotels, bars and nightclubs are often        treatment for their addiction. Heroin users also
     used, as well as private residences.                 increased their use of other drugs as substitutes,
          Tasmania and Northern Territory Police          such as benzodiazepines, methylamphetamine,
     report the heroin markets in those jurisdictions     cocaine and cannabis (Rouen et al. 2001).
     are very small. Heroin trafficking identified in          Availability of heroin increased in the last
     those jurisdictions is often associated with other   two months of the reporting period, though not
     commodities, such as methylamphetamine.              to the levels prior to December 2000.

     Market indicators                                          The price of heroin during the reporting
     Availability                                         period fluctuated in accordance with its
           In the second half of 2000, heroin was         availability. As availability reduced, the price
     readily available in all major Australian cities     increased—in some instances threefold. The
     except Hobart and Darwin. However, in the first      maximum reported price of half heroin blocks
     quarter of 2001, there was a significant shortage    (350 grams) increased from $45 000 to approxi-
     of heroin in all jurisdictions, which was particu-   mately $150 000 at the height of the shortage.
     larly acute in relation to bulk quantities.          Victoria Police stated that heroin blocks (700
     Intelligence received at the ABCI revealed that      grams) were being purchased for between
     Victorian-based heroin distributors went             $50 000 and $55 000 prior to January 2001.
     overseas at the commencement of 2001 in an                 The impact of the heroin shortage was
     attempt to purchase large quantities, but were       reflected in the street price. A street deal of
     unsuccessful.                                        heroin (approximately 0.25 grams) could be
           Reports of the heroin shortage were first      purchased in Cabramatta, New South Wales,
     received at the ABCI during the second week of       during the first half of the reporting period for
     January from the western suburbs of Sydney.          as low as $25. However, at the height of the
     South Australia Police report it was not until       shortage during February 2001, the price had
     mid-January 2001 that the reduced availability of    increased to $100. The price moderated to a
     heroin reached the levels reported in eastern        range of $70 to $100 at the end of the report-
     States. Western Australia police reported the        ing period.
     shortage did not commence until the second                 Increased heroin prices during the shortage
     week of February and noted heroin users              were seen across Australia. Queensland Police
     switched to methylamphetamine due to its low         reported the street level price for a gram of
     cost and greater availability.                       heroin in Brisbane increased from $500 to $800
           In response to a survey conducted by New       between January and March 2001. Western
     South Wales Police Information and Intelligence      Australia Police reported a gram of heroin was
     Centre, most New South Wales Police Local Area       selling for $900 during the same period.

30   Australian Illicit Drug Report 2000–01           •    Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence

     The price of heroin in Tasmania and the               Heroin purity reduced in all jurisdictions except
Northern Territory is normally inflated in                 Western Australia. This may be explained by the
comparison to the rest of Australia, possibly due          difference in time between seizure and analysis
to the small scale of these markets. Heroin prices         for Western Australia data—see Statistics chapter
in these jurisdictions remained stable and did not         on page 88.
reflect the trends elsewhere in Australia. A street
deal of heroin (0.6–0.8 grams) was priced at $100
                                                           Heroin offences
                                                                 Between 1999–2000 and 2000–01 the
in the Northern Territory and $300 in Tasmania
                                                           number of heroin consumer and provider arrests
at the end of the reporting period.
                                                           Australia-wide fell by 34.1 per cent from 11 223 to
Purity                                                     7396. All jurisdictions except the Northern
      The purity of heroin during the reporting            Territory had a reduction in the number of
period reduced as availability reduced. Follow-            persons arrested. New South Wales recorded the
ing the sharp reduction in availability at the             greatest reduction: 40.3 per cent, down from
commencement of 2001, heroin purity fell,                  3782 to 2263. The number of arrests in Victoria
particularly for quantities of less than 2 grams.          fell by 32.7 per cent from 5952 to 4008. Queens-
Table 3.1 provides details of heroin purity, by            land recorded a fall of 30.4 per cent, Western
State and Territory, less than 2 grams.                    Australia a fall of 28.89 per cent, and South
      When viewed over the entire reporting                Australia a fall of 28.5 per cent. Table 3.2 shows
period, heroin seized in New South Wales                   heroin consumer and provider arrests, by State
recorded the highest average purity of 51 per              and Territory for 1999–2000 and 2000–01.
cent for amounts less than 2 grams. In the July
to September 2000 quarter, Western Australia
                                                               During 2000–01 Australian law enforcement
recorded the highest average purity of 71 per
                                                           agencies made 2717 heroin seizures where the
cent for amounts less than 2 grams.
                                                           drug weight was recorded, with a total weight of
      However, there was a marked difference in
                                                           480.5 kilograms.
the average purity of heroin seized for amounts
less than 2 grams in January to June 2001.

Table 3.1: Heroin: median purity by State and Territory, less than 2 grams (ABCI)

 State/Territory                 Jul-Sep          Oct-Dec            Jan-Mar        Apr-Jun         Total Jul
                                2000(%)           2000(%)            2001(%)        2001(%)         2000-Jun
 New South Wales                     52.5               54.0            38.5            31.5             51.8
 Victoria                            n.a.               n.a.             n.a.            n.a.            n.a.
 Queensland                          45.2               46.8            16.3            25.2             42.2
 Western Australia                   71.0               44.0            50.0            44.0             46.5
 South Australia                     46.8               41.2             n.a.            n.a.            43.4
 Tasmania                            n.a.               n.a.             n.a.            n.a.            n.a.
 Australian Capital
                                     53.3               38.9            32.1            31.1             38.9
 Northern Territory                  n.a.               40.0            22.0             n.a.            31.0

Australian Illicit Drug Report 2000–01              •          Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence        31

     Table 3.2: Heroin: consumer and provider arrests, by State and Territory, 1999–2000 and 2000–01 (ABCI)

      State/Territory                                       1999–2000              2000–01              change
      New South Wales                                            3 782                2 263              -40.16
      Victoria                                                   5 952                4 008              -32.66
      Queensland                                                  644                  448               -30.43
      Western Australia                                           495                  352               -28.89
      South Australia                                             326                  233               -28.53
      Tasmania                                                      9                    9                      0
      ACT                                                         n.a.                  59                    n.a.
      Northern Territory                                           15                   24                    +60
      Total                                                    11 223                 7 396              -34.09

          New South Wales and Queensland recorded           heroin—for example, injecting the gel con-
     the highest number of seizures: New South Wales        tained in Temazapam capsules, a common
     police made 1236 seizures (with a total weight of      medication prescribed for sleep disorders. This
     223 kilograms) and Queensland police made 442          practice is particularly hazardous, potentially
     seizures (with a total weight of 3.5 kilograms).       leading to collapsed veins, blockages and
          The reduction in both the amount and              gangrene. Heroin users were also observed
     number of heroin seizures by Australian law            consuming cannabis to supplement low purity
     enforcement could be a further reflection of the       heroin (Weatherburn et al. 2001).
     heroin shortage early in 2001.                              The reduced availability of heroin has also
     User patterns                                          changed the way users now purchase and
          The reduced availability of heroin in major       consume the drug—mobile dealers are preferred
     Australian cities provided an unique opportunity       to open drug markets. Research also suggests the
     for social researchers to observe the impact on        shortage has brought about a reduction in
     drug use patterns.                                     injection frequency, a net increase in the actual
          Although there remains a committed                price of the drug, a decrease in the amount of
     cohort of heroin users in Australia, there was an      money spent on heroin and reduced overdoses
     increase in the number of people entering              (Miller et al. 2001; Weatherburn et al. 2001).
     methadone treatment at the height of the                    To determine whether the heroin shortage
     shortage (Weatherburn et al. 2001).                    had an impact upon drug-related crime the
          The most interesting—and unforeseen—              reported crime statistics for Fairfield, the local
     impact of the shortage was heroin users switch-        government area which contains Cabramatta,
     ing to more readily available illicit drugs. Whilst    were examined (Weatherburn et al. 2001). This
     maintaining a stated preference for heroin,            revealed there was a rise in the number of
     heroin users were reportedly switching to              reports of burglary and robbery offences at the
     cocaine or methylamphetamine (van Beek et al.          commencement of the shortage, but by June the
     2001; Rouen et al. 2001; Miller et al 2001). Users     levels had returned to levels similar to, or lower
     also substituted prescription medications for          than, before December 2000.

32   Australian Illicit Drug Report 2000–01            •     Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence

                                                                    Rouen, D., Dolan, K., Day, C., Topp, L., Darke, S. &
National impact                                                     Hall, W. (2001). Changes in Heroin Availability in
     A marked reduction in the availability of                      Sydney, Australia in Early 2001 (Technical Report:
heroin occurred in major Australian cities                          119). National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre,
commencing in December 2000. The wholesale                          University of New South Wales, Sydney.
and retail prices of heroin sharply increased.                      UNDCP. (2001). Afghanistan Annual Opium Poppy
Analysis of heroin seizures revealed the street                     Survey 2001 (online). United Nations International
                                                                    Drug Control Program, Vienna. http://
level purity of the drug fell markedly at the              [Accessed 19 Sep. 2001]
commencement of the shortage. As a conse-
                                                                    US State Department. (2000). International Narcotics
quence, there has been a significant reduction
                                                                    Control Reports 2000 (online). Bureau for
in the number of fatal heroin overdoses                             International Narcotics and Law Enforcement
recorded nationally. The fall in the total number                   Affairs, Washington DC.
of heroin consumer and provider arrests in all                      inl/rls/nrcrpt/2000/index.cfm?docid=883
                                                                    [Accessed 19 Sep. 2001].
jurisdictions could be associated with the
reduced availability of heroin nationally.                          Van Beek, I., Dwyer, R. & Malcolm, A. (2001).
     The reduction in the availability of heroin                    Cocaine Injecting: the sharp end of drug related
                                                                    harm! Drug And Alcohol Review, 20, pp 333-342.
in Australia had positive and negative conse-
quences. Although the number of persons using                       Weatherburn, D., Jones, C., Freeman, K. & Makkai,
                                                                    T. (2001). The Australian Heroin Drought and its
heroin decreased, reduced availability was                          Implications for Drug Policy. Crime and Justice
accompanied by an increase in the use of                            Bulletin: 59. NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and
prescription medications, cannabis,                                 Research.
methylamphetamine and cocaine, resulting in                         Zackon, F. (1986). Heroin: the street narcotic. Chelsea
increased demands upon law enforcement and                          House Publishers, New York.
health resources.
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Australian Illicit Drug Report 2000–01                       •    Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence                  33