IDRS Bulletin October 2011: Key findings from the 2011 IDRS

Key findings:

  • Heroin remained the most commonly reported drug of choice for participants who inject drugs. Methamphetamine as the drug of choice significantly increased.
  • Recent heroin use and frequency remained stable. The availability of heroin was ‘very easy’ and purity ‘low’.
  • Recent speed and base use remained stable, while ice/crystal significantly increased. The frequency of use for ‘any form’ of methamphetamine was higher in 2011. Overall all three forms were considered ‘easy’ to obtain. Ice/crystal was reported as ‘high’ in purity, speed ‘low’ and base ‘medium’.
  • NSW was the only jurisdiction where a sizeable number of participants were able to comment. Recent cocaine use and frequency in NSW was stable. Price remained stable. Availability was reported as ‘easy’ and purity as ‘medium’ or ‘low’.
  • The cannabis market remained stable. The use of cannabis remained common and frequency of use remained high, usually daily or near-daily. Hydroponic cannabis dominated the market. Price per gram varied by type. Hydroponic cannabis potency rated as ‘high’.
  • Extra-medical use and injection of pharmaceutical preparations continued to occur, with jurisdictional differences in patterns of use observed.
  • Borrowing of needles was reported by one in ten participants in the month preceding interview. Sharing of injecting equipment was common but significantly lower in 2011. Over half of the participants re-used their own needles in the last month.
  • Nearly half of the national sample self-reported a mental health problem in the last six months. The most common problem reported was depression, followed by anxiety. A significant increase in drug induced psychosis was reported in 2011.
  • Nearly half of the national sample reported driving in the last six months. Over three-quarters drove after taking an illicit drug, mainly cannabis and heroin.
  • Over one-third of the national sample reported a criminal activity in the last month, mainly drug dealing or property crime. Around one-third had been arrested in the last year.