Author Steve Moffatt, Wai-Yin Wan and Don Weatherburn
Published August 2012
Report Type Affiliated publication
Subject Drugs and Drug Courts; Policing; Statistical methods and modelling
Keywords Amphetamine type substances, Arrest, Australia, Cocaine, Crime, Drug markets, Drugs, Emergency department admission, Emergency treatment, Hospitals, Overdose, Police, Time series

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The purpose of this paper is to determine whether trends in arrests for heroin, amphetamine-type substances (ATS) and cocaine can be used as indicators of trends in the use of these drugs.

Key findings

Strong positive correlations were found for the narcotics and cocaine series between arrests and EDs in the same month (contemporaneous correlation) and between arrests in the current month and overdoses in earlier months (lagged correlation). The contemporaneous correlation between ATS arrests and EDs was slightly less strong than the lagged correlations at two and four months. A jump in ATS EDs, was followed by a jump in arrests in the same month and then two and four months later.


The question was addressed using ARIMA models to analyse the relationship between arrests and emergency department (ED) admissions for narcotics, amphetamine type substances (ATS) and cocaine.

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