Characteristics and dynamics of cocaine supply and demand in Sydney and Melbourne

Monograph no. 14

James Shearer, Jennifer Johnston, Sharlene Kaye, Paul Dillon, Linette Collins

This study set out to examine the characteristics and dynamics of cocaine supply and demand in the two largest Australian cities, Sydney and Melbourne. The main aim of the study was to describe the breadth (in terms of types of users and dealers) and the depth of the market (length of supply chains, overlap with other drug supply). The analysis was based on 165 personal interviews with cocaine users in both cities conducted between October 2004 and January 2005. The data was supplemented with a further 133 questionnaires completed by cocaine users through an Internet-based survey over the same period. Twenty 'for-profit' cocaine dealers were identified within the sample and they provided detailed histories of drug dealing and recent cocaine transactions. From the findings, the report suggests that the large-scale cocaine supply required to meet Australian demand is a trans-national enterprise and so operations at the border and beyond remain the most effective strategy to maintain the current high price and low availability that characterises Australian cocaine supply.