Established in 1999, the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program is a quarterly collection of criminal justice and drug use information from police detainees at multiple sites (watch houses or police stations) across Australia. The DUMA program is the only Australian survey of police detainees conducted on a routine basis. Assessing the drug use and offending habits of police detainees is valuable in the formulation of policy and programs. The police detainee population is more likely to have had close and recent contact with the illicit drug market than non-detainees and incarcerated offenders.
Data collection comprises two core components:
Access to detainees is facilitated by police officers in charge of the watch house or police stations, or their delegate. The police custody manager determines whether a detainee is eligible to participate in a DUMA interview. Detainees are deemed eligible to participate if they:
Detainees who are eligible and are willing to participate in the DUMA study are informed about the voluntary and confidential nature of the interview. They are asked to provide verbal consent to both participate in the interview and provide a urine sample (during relevant collection periods).
During relevant collection periods, detainees are asked to provide a urine sample at the end of the interview. Eligibility to provide a urine sample is dependent on the length of time a detainee has spent time in custody. Where a detainee has been in a custodial setting for less than 48 hours they are eligible to provide a urine sample as the majority of drugs have limited detection time in urine (see Table 1).
|Drug class||Cut off AS4308 (μg/L)||Average detection timea|
|Benzodiazepines (hydrolysed)||200||2–14 days|
|Cannabis||50||Up to 30 days for heavy use 2–10 days for casual use|
a: Depends on testing method and equipment, the presence of other drugs, level of drug present and frequency of use
Source: Makkai 2000; Australian Standard AS/NZS 4308-2008
Provision of a urine sample is voluntary. Where a detainee is eligible and agrees to provide a urine sample, they are given a urine pot and escorted to an appropriate location to provide the sample. This is returned to the interviewer and the detainee is then escorted back to their cell. Urine samples are given a unique barcode, frozen and sent to the NSW Forensic & Analytical Science Service (NSW FASS) for testing. The NSW FASS are accredited to Australian Standard AS/NZS 4308:2008. Urinalysis results are provided to the Australian Institute of Criminology in electronic format. All urine samples are destroyed by the NSW FASS once the AIC receives and validates the results.