Identifying current and alternate police options for intervening with MDMA

image - Three White Pills 280
Date Commenced:
08/2007
Expected Date of Completion:
12/2012
Project Supporters:

Colonial Foundation Trust

Drug Type:
Project Members: 
image - Caitlin Hughes Square
Senior Lecturer
Ph 02 9385 0132
image - 1313976712 Alison Ritter 005
Director, Drug Policy Modelling Program
Ph 02 9385 0236
Project Main Description: 

There is a lack of knowledge about the offending profiles of MDMA offenders and the optimal means of policing MDMA. Given that NSW is one of two jurisdictions in Australia that does not provide police drug diversion for MDMA use/possess offenders there are concerns that other forms of police intervention may be more justifiable or effective.

Project Collaborators: External: 

Ms Fiona Christian
NSW Police

Ms Patricia Ward
NSW Police

Aims: 

This project seeks to identify current and alternate police options for intervening with MDMA use/possess offenders in NSW.

Design and Method: 

The NSW Police database will be used to examine the nature of MDMA offending in NSW (and a comparative group of cannabis offenders). This will involve two analyses:

  1. Descriptive analyses of MDMA offenders and a comparative group of cannabis offenders detected in the reference year 2006 in terms of age, sex, offence type, offence circumstances and legal action taken.
  2. Recidivist and subsequent offending analyses of the subset of MDMA and cannabis use/possess offenders detected in 2006 who have past or future offences (1998-2007) in terms of the proportion with prior/subsequent offences and number and type of priors/subsequent offences.

Interviews with NSW Police officers will then be used to identify and explore the feasibility and desirability of adopting alternate policing options for intervening with MDMA use/possess offenders in NSW, particularly the provision of drug diversion.

Progress/Update: 

In 2011 DPMP researchers, Dr Hughes and Professor Ritter, and NSW Police collaborators, Patricia Ward and Fiona Christian, completed the first detailed investigation into patterns of MDMA offending. This examined the profiles of all MDMA use/possess offenders detected in 2006 by NSW Police (and a comparator group of cannabis use/possess offenders), the legal action taken by police, and the incidence, frequency and nature of prior and subsequent offending. This demonstrated that across all indices MDMA use/possess offenders detected by NSW Police had a lower likelihood of prior and subsequent offending. Yet they were much more likely to receive a criminal charge. This may inadvertently increase future offending. In early 2012 interviews with NSW Police officers will explore views on alternate options for intervening with MDMA use/possess.

Output: 

A draft report was submitted in 2011 to NSW Police.

Benefits: 

This provides the first comprehensive evidence that MDMA use/possess offenders are a low criminogenic population and that the use of criminal sanctions for MDMA use/possess offenders is potentially counterproductive.

Project Research Area: 
Drug Type: 
Project Status: 
Completed