Cocaine prices in Canberra are the highest in the country. Photo: Jennifer Soo
Canberrans are paying more for cocaine than the rest of the country, but have access to some of the cheapest ecstasy and ice, according to new figures from the Australian Crime Commission.
Users in the ACT and the Northern Territory are paying up to $500 for one gram of cocaine, the highest street price in the country throughout 2011-12, according to the commission’s Illicit Drug Data Report issued on Monday.
The price for one kilogram of the drug in Canberra was recorded as at least $50,000 more expensive than in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia at $300,000.
But the capital also recorded some of the least expensive street prices for a number of illicit drugs throughout the 12-month period.
According to statistics provided by ACT Policing, ecstasy (MDMA) prices were among the cheapest in the country - Canberra users pay $20 to $40 for a cap, compared with up to $60 in the Northern Territory.
Ice users also paid some the cheapest prices in the country, at $50 to $80 for the typical street deal of 0.1 gram. Users in the Northern Territory and Western Australia paid up to $200 for the same amount, while Queenslanders recorded prices of to $150.
Commission chief executive John Lawler said Australia’s robust economy and a high rate of disposable income could be responsible for the hefty street prices.
“Australian users have traditionally paid premium prices in world terms for illicit drugs, making importation highly profitable,” he said.
Mr Lawler said the report outlined the highest rate of drug seizures and arrests across the nation in the past decade, at more than 76,000 and 93,000 respectively.
Nationally, the number of arrests increased from 78,675 throughout 2007-08 to 93,148 in 2011-12.
In the ACT, there were 449 drug arrests and 94 cannabis offence notices. Of the people arrested, 381 were men and 68 were women.
Cannabis-related arrests were the most commonly recorded at 265, followed by 124 arrests for amphetamine-type stimulants.
A total of 28 arrests were made relating to heroin, while 18 men were arrested for steroids.
One man was arrested relating to hallucinogen supply, but no hallucinogens were recorded as being seized throughout Canberra.
Over the 12-month period, ACT Policing seized more than 405 kilograms of cannabis while the Australian Federal Police seized approximately 6.4 kilograms. Together, the forces seized a combined total of 46 grams of heroin and 216 grams of cocaine.
ACT Policing also seized 499 grams of amphetamine-type stimulants and 60 grams of steroids.
Nationally, steroid seizures were the highest on record while heroin seizures were also the highest in the decade.
MDMA detections were up 761 per cent, the highest reported in a decade, and a record number of clandestine labs were found throughout the country. Of the 809 labs, 70 per cent were in residential areas.
“Recent initiatives include raising the awareness of young Australians of the harms associated with illicit drug use and the promotion of drug and alcohol treatment services for vulnerable populations across Australia,” he said.
“The report informs decision making and priority setting to assist in target hardening Australia against the threat, harm and destruction caused by illicit drugs.”