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Criminology 11

Queensland Police Drug Unit


Drugs have become a disaster in the society and particularly in the life of young people. Therefore, studying it as a career within criminology will be a great step towards assisting those affected and even reducing the instances of others becoming addicted. A significant number of people within the society do not understand clearly the effects and harmful effects that arise as a result of drug abuse. Some do not even have a clear understanding of what rules and regulations that have been put in place by the police units towards curbing the vice within the society. Therefore, it is a great step to educate and create awareness in the society and especially among the use on such policies and regulations that have been put in place as a result of reducing the drug use and abuse (Arro,1992).

Why would it be an interesting career choice?

Drug study within criminology will be part of my career because I feel the need to assist those addicted and even try to reduce that number from increasing day by day among the young people. This is because depending on the kind of drugs consumed, it has diverse effects on health, job, friends and family relationships as well as determining personal status in the community (Douglas, 1998). Studying along with that line will assist me in knowing how to assist emotionally and psychologically those already affected or addicted by the drugs. It will be a key thing to attach myself in various police departments dealing with drugs in order to have a clear understanding of all the drug related aspects. It is through involving myself in various police programs related to drugs that I will be able to gain experience and an oversight on the drugs. I will also have a chance of understanding various laws that are categorized in an effort to deal with manufacture, possession, distribution, consumption, related change of behavior, advertising and labeling (Douglas, 1998). This assessment will analyze and overview the Queensland drug police unit and various measures put in place towards reducing the drug related effects within that area.

In Queensland, the main laws covering illegal and legal drugs are the Criminal Code Act 1899, the Drugs Misuse Act 1986, the Liquor Act 1992, the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995, the Health (Drugs & Poisons) Regulation Act 1996 and the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Fitzgerald, 2001).

Queensland has categorized drugs into three along side its governing laws and regulations namely: Legal drugs: these include nicotine, caffeine, paracetamol, aspirin, tobacco and alcohol. Queensland has set laws to govern those who manufacture, purchase and sell some of these legal drugs. In addition, it has set laws to check on promotion, advertising services thus for example manage when, and where tobacco and alcohol are advertised. Imposed penalties are payment of fines and suspension of liquor trading license when found guilty of selling legal drugs to the minors.

Legal medicinal drugs: an individual can legally use it based on prescriptions given by the doctor. They include Noctec and Mogadon (sleeping pills), Doriden and Dormel (sedative-hypnotic non-barbiturates), Serepax, Librium and Valium (minor and major tranquiller), Nembutal and Amytal (sedative-hypnotic barbiturates), Mogadon and Noctec (sleeping pills). Companies manufacturing these medicinal drugs as well as pharmacists being sold to should be licensed. Prescription must also be given by legal medical practitioners; altering, forging, stealing or giving false prescription is against the law. Queensland’s state imposes a prison sentence and/or heavy fine as penalties. Pharmacist, doctor or a dentist who commits an offence would have their practicing licenses suspended or revoked.

Illegal drugs: these are drugs not meant to be possessed by human beings namely: amphetamines and cocaine (stimulants), mescaline and psilocybin (hallucinogens), opium and heroin (narcotic analgesics) as well as marijuana and hashish (cannabis products). Penalties for producing and possessing illegal drugs are harsher in Queensland based on amount; cannabis (500g), cocaine (2g), heroin (2g) but if the illicit drugs are less than the stated amounts penalties include a suspension sentence, community service or probation, fine and/or an imprisonment term.

Support services for staff 

Queensland Corrective Services conducted a 16 week staff quit smoking program to those motivated and willing. The program provided nicotine replacement therapy free of charge and constant support from a quit line counselor. A survey was later carried on about 500 smokers; 70% showed great concern of their smoking habits, 55% had contemplated about quitting, those who had attempted to quit were about 34% and a mass media campaign enabled 10% of the smokers to quit (Evans & Carvolth, 1999).


Currently, Queensland has put in place drug diversion programs namely: 1.The Queensland Magistrate Early Referral into Treatment (QMERIT) Program which is under trial on offenders whose criminal behaviours are directly linked to the use of drugs. 2. Queensland have five drug courts whose role is to identify adults dependent on drugs, using rehabilitation programs and sentencing options to cub associated risks and dependency rate. 3. Queensland established a state wide police diversion program in 2001 for juveniles as well as adults charged with possession of cannabis weighing 50 grams or less. 4. It also introduced the state wide Illicit Drugs Court Division Program in 2003; offers eligible juveniles and adults a chance to have a brief intervention and drug assessment.

Queensland implemented alcohol programs at the community level to holdup the onset of drinking among the young generation as well as curtail on harmful drinking and related problems namely: 1. Liquor accords established and supported 32 Liquor Industry Action Groups in conjunction with community stakeholders, industry and local governments to execute illicit liquor reduction strategies. 2. Queensland has set prevention programs on tobacco, local alcohol and other illicit drugs across eleven sites aimed at improving on community safety and reducing harmful effects associated with consumption of excess alcohol. 3. Queensland also implemented Young Women and Alcohol campaign programs enlightening them on responsible drinking practices. 4. Queensland Good Sports program has more than three hundred and sixty clubs being participants; it comprises of Queensland State Manager, three regional managers and twelve project officers (Cameron, 2000).

Drink Rite program was also implemented by The Queensland Police Service; it offers education to patrons on licensed premises. It also provided Australian alcohol guidelines majorly based on standard drinks and effects of excessive consumption of alcohol.

The Queensland Police Service is involved in managing Party Safe initiatives; has established information websites for host party, parents and guests to manage and promote responsible alcohol consumption. Currently, the police are conducting a trial on the viability of non-reusable Party Safe wristbands to aid in identifying genuine party guests.

Queensland implemented Indigenous Alcohol Diversion Program in three major sites; particularly meant for native people charged with alcohol related problems and parents who abuse alcohol to an extent of not being able to protect their children. At the moment there are about four hundred and thirty participants of the program with a sole aim of breaking the alcohol-crime cycle (Gray, 2000). Evaluation of the program indicates a significant improvement by the participants on their social status and health. This program has caused a reduction in alcohol abuse; illicit drug- related offenders and improved parenting roles.

The Queensland Police Drug Diversion Program was implemented in 2001; it was meant to cover individuals who have committed minor drug offences necessitating their diversion from criminal justice system thus attending assessment and education programs. An evaluation indicates that 65, 225 individuals as at the end of June 2010 have undergone the program with a constant compliance rate of approximately 80% (Briscoe & Donnelly, 2001).

In addition, a Queensland Magistrate Early Referral into Treatment (pre-sentence program) was put in place in 2007 to act as a diversion program for people charged with offences related to drugs. It is four-month program on drug and alcohol counseling, employment, personal life skills, parenting and accommodation assistance; 682 people have enrolled with a completion rate of approximately 30%. The Queensland Early Intervention Pilot Project started its developments in early months of 2010 targeting teens under 17 years already committing illicit liquor related offences. Since its inception, the Queensland Police Service has managed to intervene 6404 young teens who could have been at risk of drug abuse (Gray, 2000).

Queensland introduced Needle and Syringe Programs in mid 1980s conveniently located in hospitals and within community health centers. Currently, there are ten non-governmental organizations, fifty community health centers and eighty three hospitals practicing this program. Analysis indicates that Queensland’s $35 million expenditure on this program has resulted in saving health care worth $253 million (Briscoe & Donnelly, 2001).

Currently, Queensland Health Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Treatment offer more than 18,000 individuals with health care services. Those under the treatment of alcohol constitute 41%, 24% of cannabis, opioids is at 18% while amphetamine related substances stand at 6%. Since commencement of the program in 2007, 8985 presentations have been recorded and it is also quite evident that there is reduction of drug-related violence (Chikritzhs et al, 1999).

Development of Queensland Health Dual Diagnosis Clinical Guidelines and supportive toolkits has enabled management of mental health disorders caused by alcohol and other drugs. It was established in 2008 to assist patients with mental health disorders, alcohol and other drug-related problems.

Dovetail Project was started in Queensland in 2009 with support of both government and non-government organizations with an aim of helping youth having problems associated to drug use. Dovetail has developed professional educative forums, e-magazines, networking sites, consultation with an aim of offering quality services.

The Queensland Police Service trains its police unit on how to respond to alcohol and drug related problems through an investment on recruit forums, conducting trainer courses with the assistance of Liquor and Gaming Regulation department and offering Liquor Enforcement and Proactive Strategies.

The Queensland Amphetamine Strategy Committee has been formed to uphold partnerships with law enforcement agencies. This has enabled it to have extreme control of illicit drugs and thus limit its availability to well networked criminal entities. A good working relationship has enabled the police unit to monitor the availability of illicit drugs regionally and globally (Chikritzhs et al, 1999).

Commonwealth and a State Government package of $101 million are presently in place to support the indigenous management of alcohol and reform initiatives practiced by 21 Queensland Indigenous communities. Ten Indigenous communities are now being offered detoxification services, 15 Social Workers, 19 Community Support Workers and 18 Nurses have been employed to respond to alcohol and drug related problems (Gray, 2000).

The Queensland Government certified National Partnership Agreement Act in July 2009. This law was meant to expand smoke check within communities; necessitate progress to quit line; expansion of quit smoking program for indigenous health workers; quit smoking support for offenders in custody; a new national social marketing campaign and community-based smoke-free promotions (Gray, 2000).

Data obtained from the Queensland Health Drugs of Dependence Unit ascertains an increasing misuse of pharmaceutical drug prescriptions. The unit operates a network/database that records offered prescriptions on a common database referred to as Monitoring of Drugs of Dependence System (James & Hallinan, 1995).

Drugs Dependence Unit engages in regulatory fulfillment activities and the public health interventions to manage correct and appropriate use of these drugs within the community. It also monitors recognized drug-dependent patients and individuals’ engaging in doctor’s shopping activities as part and parcel of its core functions. Queensland Health has utilized an approximate amount of over $500,000 in expansion of Monitoring of Drugs of Dependence System (MODDS) since 1999 and the system has since then been reviewed by consultants to evaluate its alteration to a real-time reporting system (James & Hallinan, 1995).

The Drugs Dependence Unit also provides a 24-hour enquiry service to healthcare professionals to lend a hand in the treatment of patients requiring opioids prescription. The department works closely with ache and addiction medicine specialists to look into the treatment of patients thus curb or avoid harms linked to these medications (Gray, 2000).

Legislative amendment reforms, restructuring of licenses and establishment of social marketing activities to help young people and their parents are under implementation by The Queensland Government. These new laws are meant to ban unwanted alcohol beverages, curb misuse of alcohol and impose tougher measures on secondary suppliers of alcohol to the minors. The Queensland Police Service proactively cultivated strong working partnerships with the manufacturing industry to reduce bulk thefts of pharmaceutical drugs and diversion of scientific equipments to an illegitimate market (Gray, 2000).

The Queensland Police Service Unit has continued to cooperate as well work with most policing jurisdictions to classify data concerning the misuse of pharmaceutical drugs from available reports and seizures involving these types of drugs. The entire activity provides information to sustain development of the National Pharmaceutical Drug Misuse Strategy (James & Hallinan, 1995). In Queensland, publishing or possessing a recipe for production of an illicit drug is an offence. The Drugs Misuse Act 1986 has greatest penalties for definite quantities of supply for an illicit drug (Evans & Carvolth, 1999).


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