The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS)

Tags: EDRS, ecstasy
Date Commenced:
Expected Date of Completion:
Project Supporters:

Australian Government Department of Health

Drug Type:
Image: EDRS logo
Project Members
image - 1314680208 Natasha Sindicich 20
Senior Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 0191
image - 1314150148 Jenny Stafford 007
Senior Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 0244
image - Ndarc 032
Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 0187
Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 0256
image - 1354256378 Liz Whittaker Square
Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 0254
image - Ndarc 075
Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 0161
Project Main Description

The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) is a national monitoring system for ecstasy and related drugs that is intended to serve as a strategic early warning system, identifying emerging trends of local and national interest in the markets for these drugs. The EDRS is based on the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) methodology and consists of three components: interviews with regular ecstasy  and psychostimulant users (REU); interviews with key experts (KEs), professionals who have regular contact with regular recreational  users through their work; and analysis and examination of indicator data sources related to ecstasy and other related drugs.  The EDRS monitors the price, purity, availability and patterns of use of ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine, GHB, MDA and LSD. The EDRS is designed to be sensitive to trends, providing data in a timely manner, rather than describing issues in extensive detail.              


The aims of this project are:

  • to describe the characteristics of a sample of current regular ecstasy and psychostimulant users interviewed in each capital city of Australia
  • to examine the patterns of ecstasy and other drug use of these samples
  • to document the current price, purity and availability of ecstasy and other party drugs across Australia
  • to examine the incidence and nature of harms related to the use of ERDs
  • to identify emerging trends in the party drug market that may require further investigation
Design and Method

Previously known as the Party Drug Initiative (PDI), the EDRS is coordinated by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, and is conducted by different research institutions in each Australian state and territory. The EDRS uses a similar methodology to the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS). Regular ecstasy and psychostimulant users are interviewed as they were identified as a group of drug users that are able to provide the required information on patterns of ecstasy and related drugs (ERDs) use, the current availability, price and purity of ERDs and perceived drug-related health issues associated with ERDs use. A semi-structured survey of experts in the field of ERDs (e.g. party promoters, treatment providers and law enforcement personnel) is also conducted and indicator data (e.g. purity of drug seizures and overdose rates) are analysed. These data sources are examined together to identify convergent trends in ERDs use and markets. 


The EDRS was conducted successfully in every state and territory in 2013. 686 regular ecstasy users were interviewed, providing information on their drug use patterns, ecstasy and related drug markets and related issues. Key experts from a range of professions provided information on the ecstasy and related drug users they had contact with. Indicator data including Australian Customs Service seizures, purity analysis and treatment data were examined. 

The project is ongoing in 2014.


Drug Trends hosts an annual conference in October. The 13th National Drug Trends Conference was held on October 15, 2013. To view selected posters and presentations from the conference, please visit the event page.

Throughout the year, quarterly bulletins outlining current drug trends or issues of interest are also disseminated. These bulletins are available on the NDARC website on the Drug Trends group page and in the Resources section.

Finally, national and state reports of EDRS findings are released in April each year. Recent national and jurisdictional reports can be found at the bottom of this page. You can also search for a specific report in the Resources page search bar.

Papers published in 2013:

Danielle Horyniak, Louisa Degenhardt, De Villiers Smit, Venita Munir, Jennifer Johnston, Craig Fry, Paul Dietze. 'Pattern and characteristics of ecstasy and related drug (ERD) presentations at two hospital emergency departments, Melbourne, Australia, 2008–2010', Emergency Medicine Journal, published online 12 February 2013. doi: 10.1136/emermed-2012-202174

Andrew Smirnov, Reza Hayatbakhsh, Rosa Alati, Margot Legosz, Lucy Burns, Robert Kemp, Helene Wells & Jake M. Najman. 'Psychological Distress and Drug Use Patterns of Young Adult Ecstasy Users: A Complementary Analysis of Australian Datasets', Substance Use and Misuse, published online 1 August 2013, doi:10.3109/10826084.2013.819366.

Matthews, AJ and Bruno, RB and Nicholls, CB, Over the Bar: A Focus on Alcohol Use among Regular Ecstasy Consumers in Australia, The Australian Government, April 2013 (2013) [Contract Report]

Kari Lancaster, Rachel Sutherland & Alison Ritter. 'Examining the opinions of people who use drugs towards drug policy in Australia', Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, published online 30 September 2013, doi:10.3109/09687637.2013.838211.

Project Supporters

Australian Government Department of Health

Drug Type
Project Status
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