Abstract

This article describes the impact of street-level law enforcement on Australia's principal heroin market. Based on three years of research, including interviews and extended ethnographic fieldwork, it uses data on drug-use, risk practices, crime, and policing to examine the relationship between law enforcement and harm minimization. Findings suggest that the 'successes' of police crackdowns and their impact on drug markets (including threats to public health and community safety as a result of geographical, social, and substance displacement) may be won at substantial costs, raising doubts as to their value.

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