Prevalence of drug use prior to detention among residents of youth detention centres in Queensland

Christopher Lennings*, Monica Pritchard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Research into juvenile delinquency has established a strong connection between delinquent behaviour and drug usage. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a number of young people coming into detention in Queensland are suffering physical, behavioural and emotional consequences of their drug use prior to detention. Between December 1995 and January 1996, a total of 118 young people in detention were surveyed regarding their drug use behaviour prior to detention. This represented 90% of the average total population in detention. The average age of the sample was 15.6 years; 90% were males. Over 90% of the population had used (or at least tried) pain relievers, other medicines, cannabis, alcohol and tobacco. The use of the so called 'hard drugs' was high, with 47% having tried amphetamines, 35% admitting to having tried heroin, and 64% having used hallucinogens at least once. Data regarding harm-minimization practices revealed that 42% had injected drugs and of these half had shared a needle at least once, while around 90% are sexually active and of these only about 20% always use a condom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug abuse
  • Drug survey
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Suicide


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