Profile and Projection of Drug Offences

In Manitoba

Highlights for Manitoba

  • In 1998, there were 1,297 adults charged by the police with a drug offence, accounting for 3.4% of Canada, slightly lower than its population share of 3.8%.
  • From 1977 to 1998, the number of adults charged with a drug offence decreased by 37% from 2,051 adults charged in 1977 to 1,297 adults charged in 1998. However, the trend has been stable in the last few years.
  • In terms of types of drugs, the number of adults charged with a cannabis offence in the late 1970s to early 1980s were fairly high. It started decreasing from 1981 on, to attain its lowest in 1993. In contrast, there had been a large increase in the number of adults charged with cocaine offences in the late 1980s. The number of adults charged with miscellaneous drug offences has been on an upward trend until 1989, and decreased since that year. Heroin offences have remained fairly low.
  • In terms of nature of offence, drug possession now accounts for 62% of all adults charged with drug offence. The remaining 38% involve trafficking, cultivation and importation of drugs. The proportion of drug trafficking has slowly increased over the years while drug possession has slowly decreased.
  • Based on the extrapolation method of projection selected, the number of adults charged with drug offences will increase about 11% in the next five years, increasing from 1,297 in 1998 to 1,436 in 2003.

Background

In September 1996, the Agent Affairs Unit of the Criminal Law Branch within the Department of Justice requested the Research and Statistics Division to analyze the level of drug offences in the past and to make future projections. The purpose was to provide information to facilitate discussions relating to volume and case management of drug cases.

This is an update of that project. There are two products in the project: a national report and a series of jurisdictional reports. The reports provide information on historical profile of the trend of drug offences in the past 20 years plus a five-year projection of the trend into the future.

Data Sources

The profiles and projections were based on police reported data collected by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. The period of data used was from 1977 to 1998, the latest data available. As the objective is to produce indicators of workload in drug prosecutions, data on the number of adults formally charged by the police are used.

These data were collected by the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR) which represents the crime data of every police force in Canada. The data from this survey are the most current and reliable data on drug offences that are available in Canada today. [At the request of the Agent Affairs Unit, the number of drug offences here include only those under the Narcotic Control Act (NCA), excluding those under the Food and Drugs Act (FDA).]

In addition to police data, we also look at some data from provincial criminal courts as collected by the Adult Criminal Court Survey (ACCS). However, the data are at the present incomplete, with data from 9 jurisdictions representing 80% of the national total number of cases. Data from Manitoba, Manitoba and New Brunswick are not yet available.

Profile of Historical Trends (Figures 1-2, Appendices 1-2)

Police data from the UCR are broken down by the types of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, cannabis, and miscellaneous drugs. Data are also broken down by nature of offence, including possession, trafficking, importation, and cultivation.

In terms of types of drugs, number of adults charged in Manitoba with cannabis offences accounted for 78% of all drug offences in 1998, followed by cocaine (19%). The remaining 3% were for miscellaneous narcotics and heroin.

Heroin offences in 1977 were similar to 1998. It remained under 8 adults accused throughout most of the last 20 years. In 1993 however, the number of adults charged increased to 17 (from 0 in the previous year).

Cocaine offences increased dramatically from 11 adults charged in the late 1970s to 245 in 1998 (22 times). The biggest increase was reported in the late 1980s and the number of adults charged has remained over 100 adults ever since.

Cannabis offences have started their downward trend in the late 1970s to early 1980s, only to increase 19% in 1981 to 2,109 adults charged (from 1,766 the previous year). Since then, the number of adults charged with a cannabis offence has decreased consistently over the years to reach its lowest in 1993 (856 adults charged). It has levelled off over in the last few years.

Miscellaneous drug offences have remained fairly stable in the late 1970s to 1980s. From the mid-1980s, it started increasing from 27 in 1985 to 75 in 1986 (+178%). After reaching its peak level of 140 adults charged in 1989, it slowly decreased to 42 adults charged in 1998 (-70%).

Figure 1 Number of adults charged with drug offences, by drug type Manitoba, 1977-1998

In terms of nature of offence, drug possession accounted for almost two-thirds (62%) of all adults charged with drug offences in 1998; drug trafficking accounted for 24%; cultivation of cannabis accounted for 14%. There were only 5 adults charged with drug importation offences in 1998

The number of adults charged with drug possession has decreased in the late 1970s to early 1980s only to increase 30% in 1981 (from 1,372 adults charged in 1980 to 1,782 in 1981). Since 1981, it decreased consistently over the years, to a low of 584 adults charged in 1993. However, a large 38% increase has been reported in 1998 where 807 adults were charged for drug possession.

In contrast, the number of adults charged with trafficking has experienced threefold increases over the 20 years period examined, characterized by a few large increases: 29% increase in 1980, 102% increase in 1985, and 29% increase in 1990. Since then, the number of adults charged with a trafficking offence has been decreasing to 309 adults charged in 1998.

The number of adults charged with a cultivation offence has remained fairly stable from the late 1970s to mid-1980s. From 1989 to 1998 however, it rapidly increased from 17 adults charged with a cultivation offence in 1989 to 176 in 1998 (10 times higher).

Figure 2 Number of adults charged with drug offences, by offence type Manitoba, 1977-1998

As a whole, the total number of adults charged with drug offences in Manitoba decreased from 2,051 in the late 1970s to 1,297 in 1998. The trend has generally been levelling in the last few years.

It should be noted that the trend of reported drug offences may or may not reflect the level of usage of drugs as the level depends largely on the level of enforcement by the police.

Comparison between Police Data and Courts Data

Because Manitoba does not report to the Adult Criminal Court Survey (ACCS), it was therefore impossible to make the comparison between police and courts data for that jurisdiction.

Methods of Projection

The statistical method chosen in the following projection is called Holt’s two parameter exponential smoothing extrapolation projection. The method is to define the ongoing trend of drug offences for those years where we have actual data, that is, from 1977 to 1998, and to project the trend into the future for 1999 to 2003. The method involves the calculation of moving averages of historical data. While this method uses all data points in the past, it puts most weight on the most recent preceding years. Therefore, what has been occurring in drug offences for the past several years (for example, 1994 to 1998) will weigh heavily on the outcome of the projected trend for the future.

Results of the Projection (Figure 3, Appendix 3)

While the analysis of historical data includes separate profiles based on types of drugs and nature of offence, the projection is only done for overall total number only because of small numbers after the breakdown in many of the jurisdictions.

The result of the extrapolation projection shows that the number of adults charged by the police in Manitoba will increase in the next five years. The total increase after 5 years is estimated to be about 11%, from 1,297 adults charged in 1998 to 1,436 in 2003.

Figure 3 Number of adults charged with drug offences Manitoba, Actual (1977-1998) and Projected (1999-2003)

APPENDICES

Table 1 Number of adults charged with drug offences, by drug type Manitoba, 1977-1998
Year Heroin Cocaine Misc. Cannabis Total
1977 1 11 47 1,992 2,051
1978 1 16 19 1,657 1,693
1979 2 22 20 1,559 1,603
1980 3 24 18 1,766 1,811
1981 6 13 14 2,109 2,142
1982 2 34 23 1,389 1,448
1983 0 45 15 1,485 1,545
1984 2 71 32 1,393 1,498
1985 7 61 27 1,613 1,708
1986 0 103 75 1,290 1,468
1987 2 86 96 1,249 1,433
1988 1 93 69 1,102 1,265
1989 2 139 140 1,114 1,395
1990 0 176 49 1,267 1,492
1991 0 188 21 1,044 1,253
1992 0 140 19 950 1,109
1993 17 164 13 856 1,050
1994 2 149 14 869 1,034
1995 1 200 10 880 1,091
1996 2 216 25 886 1,129
1997 1 196 63 1,046 1,306
1998 2 245 42 1,008 1,297

Source: Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR), Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

Table 2 Number of adults charged with drug offences, by offence type Manitoba, 1977-1998
Year Possession Trafficking Importation Cultivation Total
1977 1,710 333 1 7 2,051
1978 1,333 333 15 12 1,693
1979 1,249 333 18 3 1,603
1980 1,372 430 4 5 1,811
1981 1,782 358 0 2 2,142
1982 1,140 307 0 1 1,448
1983 1,299 238 5 3 1,545
1984 1,228 248 17 5 1,498
1985 1,203 500 3 2 1,708
1986 1,047 413 3 5 1,468
1987 1,078 344 0 11 1,433
1988 884 370 3 8 1,265
1989 881 496 1 17 1,395
1990 828 642 0 22 1,492
1991 642 572 2 37 1,253
1992 636 434 1 38 1,109
1993 584 421 3 42 1,050
1994 639 345 5 45 1,034
1995 669 364 3 55 1,091
1996 686 372 1 70 1,129
1997 816 338 3 149 1,306
1998 807 309 5 176 1,297

Source: Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR), Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

Table 3 Projected number of adults charged with drug offences Manitoba, 1999-2003
Year Projected Number
1999 1,251
2000 1,298
2001 1,344
2002 1,390
2003 1,436

Projections prepared by Research and Statistics Division, Department of Justice Canada.

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