CCC releases intelligence on Queensland’s illicit drug markets - 10 June 2016
The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has completed a strategic intelligence assessment of illicit drug markets in Queensland confirming organised criminal syndicates continue to be heavily involved in the production and trafficking of illicit drugs.
The CCC today published a declassified intelligence report titled Illicit drug markets in Queensland: 2015-16 intelligence assessment to alert the community to the changing dynamics within Queensland drug markets.
Since 1999 the CCC has undertaken regular intelligence collections and assessments on illicit drug markets in this State to identify risks and monitor trends. The CCC uses this intelligence to prioritise and focus its operational activities on organised crime syndicates that are of the greatest threat to Queenslanders. The CCC also shares this intelligence with other law enforcement agencies and the government.
The CCC’s Executive Director Crime, Kathleen Florian, said methylamphetamine continues to be assessed as the illicit drug that poses the highest level of risk.
“Since the CCC’s last assessment in 2012, there has been a shift away from the clandestine domestic production of methylamphetamine. Our intelligence indicates organised crime syndicates are importing high-purity crystal methylamphetamine from overseas and then using other syndicates to supply the drug into Queensland,” Ms Florian said.
“Methylamphetamine continues to be the fastest growing illicit drug market in Queensland. The number of deaths, overdoses, and drug-related episodes associated with methylamphetamine continues to trend upwards.”
The demand for illicit drugs and the potential profits from supplying them has made Queensland an attractive market for interstate and international crime 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. Involvement in the PIEDs market is increasing.
Since 2012, there has been greater targeting of regional areas such as Toowoomba, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Townsville and Cairns, especially by interstate groups.
Key changes in the illicit drug markets since the 2012 assessment include:
- Methylamphetamine continues to be rated as the illicit drug market that poses the highest level of risk due to the high level of involvement by organised crime, its 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 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 substances which are added or used in cutting the drug. These substances include synthetic drugs and veterinary drugs.
- The risk posed by the NPS market in Queensland has stabilised in response to the increased availability of traditional illicit drugs.
Ms Florian said the CCC has published the declassified intelligence assessment to help raise community awareness about the risks associated with illicit drug use and to reinforce the role of organised crime in producing and supplying many of the dangerous drugs in Queensland.
“The CCC takes this opportunity to remind Queenslanders about the very real dangers of using illicit drugs. We especially warn people who use drugs on a social or occasional basis because intelligence indicates drugs have varying purities and are often cut with substances that are very harmful.
“Importantly I want to reinforce to drug users that they are supporting organised crime. Even if you see yourself as just an occasional user, the reality is you are directly supporting and funding organised crime,” Ms Florian said.
The CCC has disseminated a confidential version of its intelligence assessment to law enforcement throughout Australia.
A copy of the intelligence report is available at:
The CCC’s Executive Director Crime, Kathleen Florian, is available for interviews.