The impact of a police crackdown on a street drug scene : evidence from the street

Aitken, Campbell, Moore, David, Higgs, Peter, Kelsall, Jenny and Kerger, Michael 2002, The impact of a police crackdown on a street drug scene : evidence from the street, International journal of drug policy, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 193-202.

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Title The impact of a police crackdown on a street drug scene : evidence from the street
Author(s) Aitken, Campbell
Moore, David
Higgs, Peter
Kelsall, Jenny
Kerger, Michael
Journal name International journal of drug policy
Volume number 13
Issue number 3
Start page 193
End page 202
Total pages 10 p.
Publisher Elsevier BV
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publication date 2002-09
ISSN 0955-3959
Summary This article documents the impact of a police crackdown on a street heroin market in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, as perceived by individuals involved in the market. While our data suggest that ‘Operation Clean Heart’ achieved its objective of reducing the visible aspects of this street drug scene, they also imply that the drug market rapidly adapted to its new conditions and that the impact of the operation was essentially superficial and temporary. In addition, we contend that the operation had numerous (unintended) negative consequences, some of which are potentially harmful to public health. Negative outcomes implied by our data included the partial displacement of the drug scene to nearby metropolitan areas; the discouragement of safe injecting practice and safe needle and syringe disposal; and more frequent occurrences of violence and fraud. These outcomes may outweigh the perceived positive impacts, which were achieved at significant public expense. We conclude that police crackdowns are inappropriate responses to illicit drug problems; instead, in line with longstanding Australian policy, approaches which incorporate and balance demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction principles should be followed.
Notes External
Language eng
Field of Research 110499 Complementary and Alternative Medicine not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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