A recent survey indicates that 770,000 Australians aged 14 years and over had ever used cocaine.
The same survey indicated that over 169,000 of these had used cocaine in the previous 12 months.
Sydney is the focal point of cocaine use in Australia.
Sydney is the major point of entry for cocaine into Australia and criminals’ traffic cocaine to other states and territories via established trafficking routes.
It is estimated that almost 3 tonnes of cocaine are consumed each year in Sydney and Melbourne alone.
The market for cocaine is poly drug users that are unemployed with higher levels of criminal behavior, sex work and heroin use.
Cocaine is easy to obtain, with prices highest in Northern Territory at $600 per gram and cheapest in South Australia at $250 per gram.
(Source: Illicit Drug Data Report 2005/6, Australian Crime Commission)
Sydney with its illicit drug injecting facility is providing the key demand for cocaine.
The cocaine demand is funding criminal behavior in Australia and providing drug money for overseas criminal networks that use Sydney for their gateway into Australia.
Without a significant reduction in demand for cocaine then the criminal activity will continue.
Australian authorities must commit to reducing the demand for illicit drugs to close off the drug funds to criminal groups and ease the work of Australian border protection agencies.