Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

A STUDY by Curtin Univer­sity es­ti­mates il­licit drug use in Aus­tralia could be dou­ble the re­ported rates. Pre­vi­ous stud­ies showed 12.2 per cent of Aus­tralians used mar­i­juana, 3.2 per cent used am­phet­a­mines and 1.3 per cent used co­caine. But re­searcher Mark Har­ris said rates were more like 23 per cent, 8 per cent and 5 per cent re­spec­tively. “Many peo­ple will have in­cen­tives to un­der-re­port their con­sump­tion, in­clud­ing a fear of be­ing caught, stigma and moral con­cerns, so it’s not sen­si­ble to look at raw num­bers and as­sume they ac­cu­rately rep­re­sent what’s go­ing on in the pop­u­la­tion,” he said. “Chances that a user would mis­re­port par­tic­i­pa­tion is 65 per cent for co­caine, 31 per cent for mar­i­juana and 17 per cent for am­phet­a­mines.” If the new fig­ures are cor­rect it is likely to cor­re­late to in­creased anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, crime and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. Lit­tle won­der peo­ple are call­ing for more po­lice.

– editor Rick Lee

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