The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS)

Image: IDRS logo
Tags:
Date Commenced:
01/1997
Expected Date of Completion:
Ongoing
Project Supporters:

Australian Government Department of Health

Project Members: 
image - 1314149058 Courtney Breen 002
Research Fellow
Ph 02 9385 0282
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 - Toni Hordern Square
Research Officer
Ph +61 2 9385 0407
image - Ndarc 032
Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 0187
Project Main Description: 

The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) is a national illicit drug monitoring system intended to identify emerging trends of local and national concern in illicit drug markets. The IDRS consists of three components: interviews with people who inject drugs (PWID) regularly; interviews with key experts (KEs), who are professionals who have knowledge of drug trends and/or regular contact with users through their work; and analysis and examination of indicator data sources related to illicit drugs. The IDRS monitors the price, purity, availability and patterns of use of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and cannabis. The IDRS is designed to be sensitive to trends, providing data in a timely manner, rather than describing issues in detail.

For more information about the project and all resources, visit drugtrends.org.au.

Project Collaborators: External: 

Chris Moon (Department of Health and Community Services)

Rosa Alati (Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre)

Caroline Salom (Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre)

Raimondo Bruno (University of Tasmania)

Bethany Lusk (University of Tasmania)

Amy Peacock (University of Tasmania)

Simon Lenton (National Drug Research Institute)

James Fetherston (National Drug Research Institute)

Paul Dietze (Burnet Institute Victoria)

Campbell Aitken (Burnet Institute Victoria)

Amy Kirwan (Burnet Institute Victoria)

Aims: 

The aims of this project are:

  • to monitor the price, purity, availability and patterns of use of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and cannabis

  • to identify emerging trends in illicit drug markets in Australia that require further investigation

Design and Method: 

The IDRS analyses three main sources of information to document drug trends:

  • a quantitative survey of people who inject drugs (PWID)
  • a semi-structured interview with KE who are professionals working in the illicit drug field, and have regular contact with and/or specialised knowledge of users, dealers or manufacturers
  • a collation of existing indicator data on drug-related issues

Data from these three sources are triangulated against each other to determine the convergent validity of trends detected. The data sources complement each other in the nature of the information they provide. Data from each year's IDRS studies are compared to earlier findings to determine changes in drug trends over time. The strengths of the IDRS are the ability to compare data across jurisdictions as well as over time. 

Progress/Update: 

The IDRS is an ongoing project that is conducted annually in all Australian jurisdictions. In 2016, 877 PWID were interviewed in capital cities across Australia, providing information on their use patterns, drug markets and related issues. KE from a range of professions provided information on the drug use among PWID they had contact with. Indicator data including seizures, purity analysis, overdose and treatment data were examined.

Output: 

The most recent IDRS output can be found below under "Resources". For all reports and resources from the IDRS and our other Drug Trends projects, visit drugtrends.org.au.

Reports/monographs expected in March/April 2017:

  • Australian Illicit Drugs Reporting System 2016 monograph
  • ACT Illicit Drugs Reporting System 2016 report
  • NSW Illicit Drugs Reporting System 2016 report
  • NT Illicit Drugs Reporting System 2016 report
  • QLD Illicit Drugs Reporting System 2016 report
  • SA Illicit Drugs Reporting System 2016 report
  • TAS Illicit Drugs Reporting System 2016 report
  • VIC Illicit Drugs Reporting System 2016 report
  • WA Illicit Drugs Reporting System 2016 report

Bulletins:

Four IDRS bulletins and one supplement

Conference handout:

Key findings from the 2016 IDRS: Drug Trends NDARC Symposium handout

Traditionally Drug Trends hosts an annual conference in October. In 2016 the findings were released at the NDARC Annual Symposium held on September 12th, 2016. 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 disseminated. These bulletins are available on the NDARC website on the 'Drug Trends' group page or on drugtrends.org.au.

Finally, national and state reports of IDRS findings are released in April each year. Recent national and jurisdictional reports can be found at the bottom of this page. Older reports can be accessed by going to the Resources page and clicking on 'Drug Trends National Reports' or 'Drug Trends State Reports' on the right hand menu. You can also search for a specific report in the Resources page search bar.

 

Peer reviewed IDRS publications:

  • Lancaster, K., Ritter, A and Stafford, J. (2013). Public opinion and drug policy in Australia: Engaging the ‘affected community’. Drug and Alcohol Review. 32,60-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-3362.2012.00497.
  • Arora, S., Roxburgh, A., Bruno, R., Nielsen, S., & Burns, L. (2013). A cross-sectional analysis of over-the counter codeine use among an Australian sample of people who regularly inject drugs. Drug and Alcohol Review, 32(6), 574–581. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/dar.12059
  • Fetherston, J., Carruthers, S., Butler, T., Wilson, D. & Sindicich, N. (2013). Rates of injection in prison in a sample of Australian injecting drug users, Journal of Substance Use, 18 (1), 65-73. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/14659891.2012.760008
  • Horyniak, D., Dietze, P., Degenhardt, L., Higgs, P., McIlwraith, F., Alati, R., Bruno, R., Lenton, S., & Burns, L. (2013). The relationship between age and risky injecting behaviours among a sample of Australian people who inject drugs. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 132(3), 541–546. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j. drugalcdep.2013.03.021
  • McIlwraith, F., Betts, K. S., Jenkinson, R., Hickey, S., Burns, L., & Alati, R. (2013). Is low BMI associated with specific drug use among injecting drug users? Substance Use and Misuse, 49(4), 374-382. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10826084.2013.841246
  • Reddel, S. E., Bruno, R., Burns, L., Kirwan, A., Lokuge, K., & Dietze, P. (2014). Prevalence and associations of quetiapine fumarate misuse amongst an Australian national city sample of people who regularly inject drugs. Addiction, 109(2), 295-302. doi: 10.1111/add.12395
  • Stewart, B.J.R., Sindicich, N., Turnbull, D., Andrews, J.M, & Mikocka-Walus, A.A. (In press). Changes in Australian injecting drug users’ mental health problems and service uptake from 2006-2012. Advances in dual diagnosis.
  • Hughes, C., Ritter, A., Cowdery, N. & Sindicich, N. (2014). ‘Trafficking’ or ‘personal use’: Do people who regularly inject drugs understand Australian drug trafficking laws? Drug and Alcohol Review, 33(6), 658-66. doi: 10.1111/dar.12167
  • Horyniak, D., Dietze, P., Degenhardt, L., Agius, P., Higgs, P., Bruno, R., Alati, R., & Burns, L. (2014). Age-related differences in patterns of criminal activity among a large sample of polydrug injectors in Australia. Journal of Substance Use, 21(1), 48-56. doi:10.3109/14659891.2014.950700
  • Burns, L., Whittaker, E. (2014). Multiply disadvantaged: Issues faced by homeless injecting drug consumers in Australia. Parity, 27 (8), 86.
  • Whittaker, E., Swift, W., Roxburgh, R., Dietze, P., Cogger, S., Bruno, R., Sindicich, N., Burns, L. (2015). Multiply disadvantaged: Health and service utilisation factors faced by homeless injecting drug consumers in Australia. Drug and Alcohol Review, Advance online publication, 1-9.
  • Truong, A., Higgs, P., Cogger, S., Jamieson, L., Burns, L., & Dietze, P. (2015). Oral health-related quality of life among an Australian sample of people who inject drugs. Journal of Public Health Dentistry, 75(3), 218-224. doi: 10.1111/jphd.12092
  • Betts, K.S., McIlwraith, F., Dietze, P., Whittaker, E., Burns, L., Cogger, S. & Alati, R. (2015). Can differences in the type, nature or amount of polysubstance use explain the increased risk of non-fatal overdose among psychologically distressed people who inject drugs? Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 154, 76-84. 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.06.020
  • Butler, K., Day, C., Dietze, P., Bruno, R., Alati, R. and Burns, L. (2015). The potential reach of opioid substitution settings to deliver HCV care to people who inject drugs in Australia. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2015.06.008.
  • McCormack A, Aitken C, Cogger S, Burns L, Dietze P. (2016) Syringe stockpiling by people who inject drugs: an evaluation of current measures for needle and syringe program coverage. American Journal of Epidemiology. 183(9):852-60 doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv259. Epub 2016 Apr 4.
  • Sutherland, R., Sindicich, N., Barrett, E., Whittaker, E., Peacock. A., Hickey, S., Burns, L. (2015). Motivations, substance use and other correlates amongst property and violent offenders who regularly inject drugs. Addictive Behaviors, 45, 207 – 213. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.01.034
  • Whittaker, E., Swift, W., Roxburgh, R., Dietze, P., Cogger, S., Bruno, R., Sindicich, N., & Burns, L. (2015). Multiply disadvantaged: Health and service utilisation factors faced by homeless injecting drug consumers in Australia. Drug and Alcohol Review, 34(4), 379-387. doi: 10.1111/dar.12257
  • Betts, K, Chan, G., McIlwraith, F., Dietze, P., Whittaker, E., Burns, L., Alati, R. 2016. Differences in polysubstance use patterns and drug-related outcomes between people who inject drugs receiving and not receiving opioid substitution therapies. Addiction, Epub 3 April 2016. doi: 10.1111/add.13339.
  • Lancaster, K., Sutherland, R. and Ritter, A. (2014). Examining the opinions of people who use drugs towards drug policy in Australia. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 21(2):93-101. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09687637.2013.838211 
Resources: 
Project Research Area: 
Project Status: 
Current