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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Latest Illicit Drugs Data Report highlights

The Australian Crime Commission’s annual Illicit Drug Data Report (IDDR) provides a statistical overview of illicit drug arrests and seizures and details the current situation, national impact and emerging trends related to illicit drugs in Australia and internationally. Outlined below is a brief snapshot of some of the key findings of the Illicit Drug Data Report 2012–13, with a focus on amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) other than MDMA (‘ecstasy’). Read more...

New psychoactive substances: Key challenges and responses

As outlined in an earlier FlagPost, the availability and use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) have increased globally over the past decade. This has created new public health and law enforcement challenges that existing frameworks have failed to address, prompting a search for workable alternatives.False sense of safety associated with use NPS are often marketed as ‘legal highs’ and professionally packaged, which can give the impression that they are safer to use than illicit drugs with similar effects. However, very little is known about their health impacts, partly due to the dynamic nature of the market and because the content and concentration of different batches of the same branded... Read more...

Synthetic drugs: Australian and international trends

 Synthetic drugs hit the headlines earlier this month following the death of a Sydney teenager who jumped from a third-floor balcony while under the influence of a hallucinogenic substance. They are again in the headlines this week after the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced it had arrested 225 people and seized 1,500 kilograms of synthetic drugs destined for the US and Australian markets. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) admitted in the World Drug Report 2013 that ‘the international drug control system is floundering, for the first time, under the speed and creativity of the phenomenon known as new psychoactive substances (NPS)’.What drugs are we talking about?W... Read more...

Is doping in sport a crime? (doping in sports pt. 5)

The previous FlagPost in this series explored the dual use of evidence in both sports tribunals and criminal proceedings.Whilst it is commonly understood that doping is prohibited in sport, is it also a criminal offence? This FlagPost examines the circumstances in which an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) is also a crime in Australia and the sanctions imposed by the criminal justice system for those offences.  The Criminal Justice SystemUnlike a number of other countries, Australia does not have any sports-specific legislation creating criminal offences specifically relating to doping in sport. However, the Commonwealth, states and territories have all enacted legislation which criminalises... Read more...

The dual use of evidence in both sporting tribunals and criminal proceedings (doping in sports pt. 4)

The previous FlagPost in this series explored what happens once a possible Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) is detected, and the role of sporting tribunals in determining and sanctioning athletes or support personnel who are found to have committed an ADRV. As part of that process, ASADA (and also potentially Customs and the AFP) collect a variety of evidence. So when can evidence collected as part of an anti-doping investigation be used in criminal and civil proceedings and vice-versa?This FlagPost examines the long-standing tradition of the ‘dual use’ of evidence in both civil and criminal proceedings in Australia and the situation with regard to sporting tribunals and criminal proceeding... Read more...

Proving doping: the ADRV enforcement process and the role of sporting tribunals (doping in sports pt. 3)

The previous FlagPost in this series explored what constitutes doping under the World Anti-Doping Code (the WADC) and the standard of proof required to prove Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs).   This FlagPost examines what happens once a possible ADRV is detected, either through evidence collected as part of an investigation or as a result of an adverse analytical finding (the detection of the presence of a substance or the use of a method on the Prohibited List in a sample provided by an athlete). So how is an ADRV proved and prosecuted? For all Australian sports that have adopted the WADC, ADRVs are primarily prosecuted in a sporting tribunal, which is ad... Read more...

What is doping in sport? (doping in sports pt. 2)

The previous FlagPost in this series explored the reasons why particular substances and methods are included on the World Anti-Doping Code Prohibited List (the WADC Prohibited List) and hence banned in sport. This FlagPost examines the legal definition of ‘doping’ in sport provided by the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code).So what is doping? Since the turn of the 20th century the term ‘doping’ has referred to the practice of enhancing performance through artificial means, such as the use of foreign substances. However doping is not (and has not been for many years) confined to the return of a positive test result for substances or methods on the WADC Prohibited List. Doping includes a variety... Read more...

The Prohibited List (doping in sports pt.1)

The February 2012 Australian Crime Commission report into Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport has resulted in ongoing significant media attention and public interest in issues surrounding the supply, distribution and use of drugs in sport, and what might be done to combat doping in sports more generally. As recent incidents involving Essendon AFL and the Cronulla and Manly NRL football clubs demonstrate, there can be confusion about the nature of supplements or drugs, and whether they are banned in sport and/or are illegal and/or are regulated under other rules. This is especially true when it is the class of substances or methods that is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) Pro... Read more...

‘Ice’ and other amphetamine-type stimulants: international and Australian trends

On 28 February, the Joint Organised Crime Group (comprising the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police, NSW Crime Commission, Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs)) announced it had seized 585 kilograms of ice in Sydney, an Australian record for a single seizure of the drug. The second largest seizure also occurred recently, with 306 kilograms seized by the AFP and Customs in July 2012. This FlagPost puts these seizures in context by examining some recent international and Australian findings on ice and related illicit drugs.What is ice?Ice is a street name for the crystalline form of methamphetamine (other street names incl... Read more...

Latest Illicit Drug Data Report released

The Illicit Drug Data Report produced each year by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) provides a statistical overview of illicit drug arrests and seizures for the financial year and details the current situation, national impact and emerging trends related to illicit drugs in Australia and internationally. The latest report is the ninth in the series, which replaced the Australian Illicit Drug Report from 2002–03. Outlined below is a brief snapshot of some of the key findings of the 2010–11 Illicit Drug Data Report launched by the Minister for Home Affairs on 17 May 2012, with a focus on amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), cocaine and heroin. Overall findings and trends C... Read more...