Illicit drugs in Queensland
The sale and distribution of illicit drugs remains the most pervasive form of organised crime in Queensland. Though difficult to quantify, its high cost to the state is clear in the toll it takes on individuals, families and communities, the impost on the state health system and related services, and the increasing pressures on law enforcement.
The CCC has compiled a report profiling the main illicit drug markets currently operating in Queensland, and the extent of organised crime involvement in them. The report looks at current and emerging trends, factors influencing changes in demand and supply, and associated harms. It is intended to:
- help Queenslanders understand the nature, impact and real cost of organised crime in and to their communities
- make people aware of the risks and potential harms associated with particular drugs.
Read the report:
The individual drug market profiles from the report are also available online.
- The demand for illicit drugs and the potential profits from supplying them has made Queensland an attractive market for interstate and international crime groups.
- Since 2012, there has been greater targeting of regional areas such as Toowoomba,
Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Townsville and Cairns, especially by interstate groups.
- Organised crime has a significant presence in the methylamphetamine, MDMA, cocaine, heroin, and cannabis markets in Queensland, and a limited presence in the New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), pharmaceuticals, and Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs (PIEDs) markets, though their involvement in the PIEDs market is increasing.
- Methylamphetamine continues to be rated as the illicit drug market that poses the highest level of risk (Very High) — due to the high level of involvement by organised crime, its ready availability, and the significant harms the drug causes to individual users and the community.
- Following a contraction in the MDMA market in 2008-2011, the availability of MDMA in Queensland has increased since 2012.
- Although the heroin market in Queensland is small and has been assessed as stable, in the past three years there has been growth in this market internationally and in other Australian states. This market will be closely monitored by the CCC in coming years to identify any change in supply and demand for heroin in Queensland.
- The level of risk posed by the cocaine market in Queensland has heightened since 2012 due
to the increased risk of harm from adulterants, such as levamisole and NPS, being added to cocaine sold and consumed in Queensland.
- The risk posed by the NPS market in Queensland has stabilised in response to the increased availability of traditional illicit drugs.