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Home > ‘High rollers': a study of criminal profits along Australia’s heroin and methamphetamine supply chains.

Coyne, John and Westendorf, Teagan (2021) ‘High rollers': a study of criminal profits along Australia’s heroin and methamphetamine supply chains. Barton, ACT: Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

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External website: https://www.aspi.org.au/report/high-rollers


Qualitative analysis of Australia’s illicit drug supply chains has significant utility. However, with the increasing availability of quantitative datasets, such as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s Illicit drug data report and National Wastewater Monitoring Program, much more can be done to understand the dynamics of the illicit drug market and apply that understanding to disruption efforts.

The key question underpinning this research is how much profit is made at each of the following illicit drug market levels for methamphetamine and heroin:

  • domestic retail sales: the quantity of heroin and methamphetamine consumed in Australia
  • domestic wholesale to retail: sales to retailers after illicit drugs are imported
  • international wholesale to domestic wholesale: sales of illicit drugs consumed in Australia plus drugs seized by Australian law enforcement agencies
  • international manufacturing/refining to international wholesale: the difference between the global wholesale value of total Australian illicit drug imports and their value in Australia.

In this report, we refer to supply chains and value chains. A supply chain is all the steps needed to get heroin or methamphetamine onto Australia’s streets. In contrast, a value chain is the process by which organised crime groups receive raw materials (methamphetamine precursors or opium) and add value to produce methamphetamine or heroin....

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