An Armidale research program is set to smoke out locals to talk about drug habits.
Cannabis remains the most widely used illicit drug in Australia and is responsible for the vast majority of drug apprehensions made by law enforcement – and now it’s a major research subject.
In order to tackle the widespread issue, the University of New England (UNE) is collaborating with the National Drug Research Institute and Curtin University to better understand the “social supply” of cannabis to re-evaluate how we police the drug.
The research, which is part of an international study looking at why suppliers broker, facilitate or sell cannabis for little or no monetary gain to friends and acquaintances, will be led in part by UNE’s Professor John Scott and Dr Cary Bennett.
“Exploration of the social supply attempts to understand the complexity and experience of ‘drug dealing’ among young cannabis users and has the capacity to inform drug legislation and the administration of the criminal justice system in a way that can have huge impacts on the way drug offences are dealt with,” Professor Scott said.
He said research had shown many people accessing cannabis were often otherwise law-abiding citizens who were not involved with organised drug dealers or drug dealing’s associated risks.
“Scoring drugs from friends, as opposed to seedier drug dealers, allows drug users to maintain their own sense of respectability and security. Social supply is as much about connecting and gaining social status as it is about drug use or selling for financial gain,” he said.
Previous findings have revealed almost two-thirds of regular cannabis users obtained the drug from a friend or family member, not a dealer.
Participants do not have to be a supplier of cannabis to be eligible to take part in the anonymous interview.
Those interested should visit ndri.curtin.edu.au/research/sscannabis/ or phone 6773 2992.