A National Take-Home Naloxone Program for Australia

Dr James Petty1
1Penington Institute , Carlton, Melbourne, Australia

Rates of opioid overdose are increasing in Australia, accounting for more deaths per year than the national road toll. The provision of naloxone, a medicine used in emergency settings to treat overdose, to at-risk populations is a proven means of reducing overdose-related mortality. However, due to concerns regarding illicit consumption of opioids, the implementation of this proven harm reduction strategy has been slow. Naloxone distribution programs have been successfully implemented in several international settings. These provide free naloxone to people likely to experience or witness an overdose.  While there have been some changes to naloxone availability in Australia, challenges around access, demand, achieving sufficient coverage, stigma, and police support remain.

A desk-based review of international naloxone programs was conducted along with interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders. In this paper, a national model for a large-scale naloxone distribution program is proposed and barriers are identified and discussed. The model draws on existing trials and diverse approaches across jurisdictions to address access conditions, eligibility criteria for agencies, training, public awareness campaigns, program monitoring and legislative hurdles.

This model is intended to inform the development of a national naloxone distribution program or a network of state- and territory-based programs. A publicly funded naloxone program, as evident in other countries, can be implemented in Australia that offers naloxone free and by purchase from a range of settings to a range of clients as a means of reducing the public health


James completed his PHD in Criminology at the University of Melbourne in 2017. His doctoral research examined the substantive criminalisation of homelessness in the Australian city of Melbourne. He has also conducted research into Victorian drug laws. James now works as a policy officer at the Penington Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that supports more effective and compassionate ways to respond to problematic substance use in the community. James’s recent work has focused on increasing community access to naloxone – a medicine that reverses opioid overdose when administered correctly.

Who Are Friends? The Changing Definition of ‘Friends’ in Social Supply Networks.

Miss Katie Lowe1, Professor Karen . A. Joe-Laidler1
1The Univeristy Of Hong Kong , , Hong Kong

Through three decades of research, the definition of social supply has evolved beyond merely supplying friends where profit is not the primary motive (Potter, 2009). Yet the term ‘friend’ in a social supply situation has been largely taken for granted. The research directly addresses this gap in the literature and the question raised by Coomber and Moyle’s in (2014) in which they highlight that definitions of social supply have tended to stop short of explaining “where the grey areas confound legal boundaries areas – such as who are friends” (Pg159).

The research addresses the question as to who are defined as friends in social supply situations. We untangle the notion of ‘friendship’ in various drugs markets in Hong Kong, and illustrate how the definition of a ‘friend’ in social supply situations is shaped by the user’s social class and ethnicity/race. Furthermore, how a user’s flexible notion of ‘friends’ underpins the construction, maintenance and policing of social supply networks. Finally, we discuss how a further understanding of who friends are may help us clarify the loose definitions of social supply from a theoretical and policy implication perspective.


Originally from England, Katie is a qualified criminal barrister in the UK with 10 years’ experience in legal search. She has lived in Hong Kong for the last decade and is currently reading a P.h.D in Criminology at the University of Hong Kong. She is interested in areas of risk, crime, and gender. More specifically, she is interested in drugs use,  drug supply, and subcultures within Asia. Katie’s thesis focuses on the theory of edgework (voluntary risk taking) and cocaine use amongst expatriates within Hong Kong. Her supervisor is Professor Karen. A. Joe- Laidler.


The nature of illicit drug supply and current Australian criminal justice responses: Social supply and sentencing.

A/Prof. Melissa Bull1
1Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, Australia

In Australia authorities primarily rely on the identification of threshold quantities of various illicit drugs as an indicator of supply offences to discriminate between traffickers and users. Research indicates that this approach is problematic because in practice it can be difficult for the courts to discriminate between heavy users or ‘social suppliers’ (supplying to friends and acquaintances for little or no profit) and ‘dealers proper’. Erroneous sanction associated with threshold quantities, along with sentencing outcomes that are not proportionate in relation to the offence committed, seriously undermine the effectiveness of principles of general and individual deterrence that currently underpin drug law enforcement in Australia. Currently there is no qualitative systematic analysis of Australian sentencing outcomes that provides a nuanced account of how the judiciary currently navigate the relationship between different types of supply and the consistency and proportionality of the sentence applied. This research analyses 550 sentencing remarks for drug trafficking cases across Australian jurisdictions between 2012 and 2014. It maps out a demography and taxonomy of drug trafficking offenders and their offending behaviour, and concludes by discussing whether thresholds offer an effective technique for distinguishing between different types of supply.


Melissa Bull is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. She has expertise in teaching criminology, sociology and policy related subjects and has taught across multidisciplinary programs. Melissa’s research interests include illicit drug regulation, justice responses for drug related offenders, punishment practices and community policing culturally and linguistically diverse communities. She has a strong interest in social and political theory, and in particular, the relationship between theory, policy and practice in the governance of crime

Responding to the growing complexity of forensic clients with AOD concerns in the community

Ms Sophie Aitken1, Ms Skye Mackay1
1Caraniche, Melbourne, Australia

This presentation examines the development of the KickStart therapeutic group program targeting substance-related health concerns and criminogenic needs of moderate to high risk male community-based offenders. Reforms to sentencing, in combination with changes in drug use patterns, have given rise to significant growth in community corrections offender numbers, including those who require specialist and relatively intensive treatment interventions. While specialised criminogenic AOD programs are available in prison, prior to the development of KickStart there were no group-based AOD programs available for this group in the community.

Results from the KickStart Program indicated that at program completion, participants demonstrated greater awareness and understanding of their feelings and how these related to their offending behaviour and were more prepared to discuss emotional regulation, mental health and goal setting.  Participants also showed reductions in their order breach rate (from 25% at commencement to under 10%) and in urinanalysis breaches (from 30% to 15%). Participants also reported significant improvements in their physical health, psychological health, and social relationships over the course of their involvement in the program.


Sophie Aitken has a diverse range of experience in public, private, academic and not-for-profit sectors in roles spanning psychology, research & evaluation, policy and program development, implementation and consultancy. She has extensive experience with forensic clients in community based corrections and as a forensic psychologist, as well as working in early intervention in family services. She has provided consultancy support to agencies interested in implementing evidence-based practices and conducting program evaluations.

Skye is a psychologist with more than 10 years experience with Caraniche working as a registered psychologist and supervisor.  Skye has provided AOD group and individual treatment with offenders in both the community and prison-based settings and has experience in counselling and assessment in a range of issues.  Skye was the senior clinician at the Melbourne Assessment Prison, providing AOD treatment to remanded prisoners and ensuring all prisoners entering the prison received both prison related, and release related, harm information.  Skye is the manager of the Behaviour Change programs team, overseeing the delivery of group treatment on behalf of Corrections Victoria across the state.

New operational drug policing models: Time for a new focus?

John Fitzgerald1
1University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

On a daily basis, law enforcement balances operational models that range from intelligence-led disruption and major drug investigations to referral/drug diversion. Operational models need to be responsive to drug markets, organizational needs and rapidly changing policy conditions. This paper emerges from a policy development process in Victoria, a desktop review of diversion programs and a series of policy roundtable discussions with key policy makers and law enforcement personnel. Drug market conditions have changed. The dramatic rise in methamphetamine policing from 2011, demonstrates the capacity of police nationally to mobilise around specific policy imperatives. New challenges for drug policing arise from marked increases in harm associated with heroin and prescribed opioids; the emergence of online drug markets, medicinal cannabis, new harm reduction interventions and a susceptibility of the public to drug panics. There is recent Government interest to strengthen diversion. It has been 10 years since Hughes and Ritter published a summary of Australian drug diversion programs. In 2008 there were 51 diversion programs operating in Australia. The majority of diversion programs delivered counselling-based services to naïve drug users. The emergence of wrap-around services in South Australia, NSW and Victoria, indicate an appetite to do more than offer counselling to naïve drug users. A recent Victorian Government response to a Parliamentary inquiry included a commitment to strengthen drug diversion programs. The shifting policing, market, and policy landscapes suggest a need for the development of new and complementary operational drug policing models designed to meet significant current and future challenges.


Associate Professor John Fitzgerald is an expert in drug policy at Criminology, the University of Melbourne. He was previously a CEO at VicHealth and a board director at Victoria’s Northern Hospital. Most recently he was an embedded researcher providing academic oversight to the development of a Victoria Police Operational Drug Plan. Rick Nugent is Assistant Commissioner of Victoria’s Eastern Region and manages the drugs portfolio at Victoria Police. He recently led the Victoria Police contribution to the 2018 Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into drug law reform and forms part of the governance structure for the newly-established Medically Supervised Injecting Centre.v

Policing people who use drugs across the globe: How does Australia compare?

Dr Caitlin Hughes1, Dr Monica Barratt1, Assoc Pfof Jason Ferris2, Dr  Larissa Maier3, Professor Adam Winstock4
1National Drug And Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW, Randwick, Australia, 2University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 3University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 4University College London, London, UK

Drug law enforcement subsumes the lion’s share of drug policy expenditure across the globe. Fuelled by knowledge that much of this investment is ineffective or counter-productive there have been increasing calls for cross-national comparisons to identify where policing approaches differ and what approaches may be more effective. Using a new drugs police module added to the 2017 Global Drug Survey this study provides the first cross-national analysis of the incidence and nature of illicit drug-related police encounters in 26 countries including the UK, USA, Australia, Germany, Italy, Canada and New Zealand. A total of 49,869 people who had recently used illicit drugs completed the module. Key variables assessed included the incidence and frequency of drug-related police encounters in the last 12 months that involved: a) being stopped and searched; b) encountering a drug detection dog; c) being given a caution or warning; and d) being charged and arrested. We show that drug-related police encounters were more common in some nations, including in Italy, the UK and Australia. Types of policing encountered further differed. For example, Australia was one of three countries with the highest incidence of drug detection dog encounters. Importantly, multi-variate logistic regressions show that cross-national differences in drug policing remain after controlling for drug use prevalence and the number of police personnel in each nation. The findings suggest that the policing of people who use drugs may be more intense in some parts of the globe, Australia included. Implications for research, policy and practice will be highlighted.


Dr Caitlin Hughes is a criminologist and Senior Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW. She works as part of the multi-disciplinary Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) which seeks to improve Australian drug policy by identifying what works, translating research evidence and engaging directly with policy makers.

Drug Muling for Love

Prof. Monica Whitty1
1University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

In 2014 Maria Exposto (an Australian grandmother) was arrested in Malaysia, accused of drug trafficking. She had been caught with 1.1 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at Kuala Lumpur airport. As the expert witness on this case my testimony helped the judge to understand that Maria had been a victim of a romance scam and it was reasonable, given how the scam operates, to argue that she was oblivious to being involved in drug trafficking. This paper draws from my extensive work on romance scams and other types of cyberscams (e.g., Buchanan & Whitty, 2014; Whitty, under preparation; in press_a; in press_b; 2018,  2015a,b, 2013, Whitty & Buchanan, 2016, 2012; Whitty & Joinson, 2009) to provide a framework that explains how victims are drawn into romance scams and unknowingly become involved as drug mules. I consider 5 cases of romance scam drug mules cases and extend upon my Scammers’ Techniques model to explain how victims are manipulated by cybercriminals to comply with their requests. This involves a stage approach in addition to drawing from psychological theories on persuasion, control, and decision-making and theories and research in media and communication on hyper-personal relationships and trust and deceit in the online environment to explain how a person might be tricked into believing that were complying with the requests of a friend or an online lover that were completely unrelated to drug trafficking.


Professor Monica Whitty is a Chair in Human Factors in Cybersecurity at The University of Melbourne and holds a part-time Chair at The University of Warwick in the GCHQ Cyber Security Centre. She has been researching online behaviour and online security for over 20 years. She is the author of 5 books (including, Truth, Lies and Trust on the Internet, Routledge) with another 2 forthcoming (with Oxford University Press) and over 100 refereed publications. Prof. Whitty is currently still leading a large grant in the UK titled: ‘Detecting and Preventing Mass-Marketing Fraud’ (EPSRC) and a grant on e-safety (UoM).


Mapping the terrain of engagement with darknet drug cryptomarkets in New Zealand

Ms Lucy Moss-Mason1
1Victoria University Of Wellington, , New Zealand

There has been significant media attention dedicated to cryptomarkets such as Silk Road over the past seven years, providing academics with a unique opportunity to witness the lengths some individuals go to access drugs under regimes of prohibition. The darknet refers to an area of the internet that cannot be accessed without specialised anonymising technologies such as Tor. The relative anonymity afforded by the darknet has led to it being utilised by individuals who wish to engage in, and discuss, illegal and stigmatised activities. The darknet is home to a community of established cryptomarkets which facilitate the trade of goods and services, including illicit drugs. This alternative to conventional in-person drug supply arrangements is of particular significance in situations where individuals are reluctant or unable to purchase drugs through conventional markets, either as a result of their social positioning or geographical location. There has been emergent academic discussion about darknet cryptomarkets such as Silk Road. However, no prior New Zealand-specific research appears to have been undertaken. A series of qualitative, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with New Zealanders who had ordered drugs over the darknet, and this was followed by a thematic analysis of the interview content. The research that is presented focuses on the experiences of New Zealand consumers and dealers who have purchased illicit drugs through the darknet. It is argued that New Zealand occupies a noteworthy position in the cryptomarket ecosystem, as New Zealand’s conventional drug market is constrained by its small population and geographical isolation. This has increased the appeal of cryptomarket drug purchases for some New Zealanders, and interview participants refer to the geographical isolation of New Zealand and the constraints of its conventional drug market as influential in their engagement with cryptomarkets.



Lucy is a criminology student from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Her broad research interests are centred on drug policy and the implications of prohibitionist rhetoric, with a specific interest in the connection between cultures of drug use and their intersections with identities and digital technologies. She is currently completing a Masters thesis focusing on New Zealanders’ interactions with drug cryptomarkets.

Substance Use as a Strategy for Managing Stress for Homeless Women

Dr Helena Menih1, Dr  Natalie Thomas1
1University Of New England, Armidale, Australia

Previous research demonstrates that homelessness tends to be very stressful for women, yet limited studies explore how homeless women manage such stress. Based on ethnographic data collected with homeless women in Brisbane, this paper explores the qualitative dimensions of participants’ methods for coping with stress in their lives. Homeless women in this research experienced primary homelessness and were limited in their ability to engage in diversionary activities. Consequently, these women’s stories demonstrate the complexity and uniqueness of coping strategies that homeless women use to manage their lives. The women’s stories portray a struggle with stress, and for some there was a feeling that there was ‘no way out’ of their situation. While the majority of these women endured this feeling, for others, they used various additional types of coping to manage this feeling. This paper qualitatively explores these coping strategies, focusing particularly on the role of substance use in these women’s lives as a strategy for managing stress, and the affect that this coping strategy had on their lives.


Dr Menih is an early career researcher, who is interested in the areas of gender, social justice, family violence, and homelessness. She holds a Masters with Honours and a PhD from Griffith University and is currently a lecturer in Criminology at the University of New England.

Sober and Orderly: A Short History of Policing Public Drunkenness in New South Wales

Dr Matthew Allen1
1University Of New England, Armidale, Australia

In this paper I use a historical analysis of the offence of public drunkenness in the jurisdiction of New South Wales to demonstrate the importance of police powers against perceived problem drinkers for the maintenance of a modern ideal of public order.  In the early colony traditional amateur forms of policing proved incapable of controlling a convict population.  In response, policing was increasingly professionalised and this process is tracked by steadily increasing rates of arrest for drunkenness.  From c. 1830 to the 1970s, public drunkenness was the leading cause of arrest, typically comprising over 40% of all charges brought before a magistrate.  Though non-aggravated drunkenness was decriminalised during the 1970s, a series of legislated detention and move-on powers have allowed police to resume their control over perceived problem drinkers at reduced but still significant rates.  This historical predominance and continued importance does not simply reflect a society with serious alcohol problems; indeed for much of this period alcohol consumption was considerably lower than it is today.  Rather, the power to control drunkenness became crucial to the policing of public order, a catch-all charge that was and is used to remove deviants of all kinds from public spaces and maintain ‘respectable’ values.


Dr Matthew Allen is a Historical Criminologist whose diverse research is focused on the eighteenth and nineteenth-century British world and particularly colonial New South Wales.  He is currently writing a history of alcohol in the colony which will explore the political symbolism of both celebratory drinking rituals and the regulation of public drunkenness in the period 1788-1856.  Another major project examines the changing nature of deviance in New South Wales through a quantitative and qualitative study of magistrates and summary justice in the era of gubernatorial government, c.1810-1850.  He is also researching secularisation and the role of religious faith, and especially protestant dissent, in the emerging colonial public sphere, c.1820-1840.  All of these projects share an interest in understanding the unique and extraordinary transition of New South Wales from penal colony to responsible democracy, and the way that this process was shaped by the conflict between liberal ideals and authoritarian controls within the British world.




The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.
© 2018 Conference Design Pty Ltd