Drug markets in a post-lockdown era: A triangulation of multiple data sources in Australia

Prof. Jason Payne1, Mr Cameron Langfield1

1University Of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia

International research as shown an increase in drug-related offending during the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, however this increase has masked a considerable decline in activity in street-level drug markets, as well as the displacement of some drug users into the outer suburban areas of major cities.  In this paper we triangulate several data sources to explore what happened after the lockdown ended. We show that many, but not all, street-level drug markets were soon revived once the lockdown restrictions were lifted, however some of the new emerging urban markets did not wither as might have been predicted.  We also show a considerable increase in public interest for internet-based information about buying drugs which suggests some displacement of drug users to online markets. The policy and policing implications are discussed.


Jason Payne is the Professor of Criminology and Social Policy at the University of Wollongong


Dec 09 2021