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Answers to frequently asked questions about the IDRS

Researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre would like to invite people who regularly inject drugs to participate in a one-hour CONFIDENTIAL and ANONYMOUS interview for the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS). Participants are reimbursed $40 for their time and expenses. Contact the study coordinator in your state.

Is this research anonymous?

Yes. At no time will information that can identify you (such as your name) be recorded on the questionnaire. You are also free to use a false name.

Is this research legitimate?

Yes. This study is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and has been conducted in each state and territory in Australia since 2000. It is coordinated nationally by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC).

How does it work?

We conduct interviews each year with people who regularly inject drugs. Due to current events with COVID-19, we will be conducting interviews over the phone in 2020.

Could I get in trouble for revealing this sort of information?

As part of our requirements for ethical research, we are under obligation to ensure that participation is both confidential and anonymous. For example, that means that we do not reveal personal information about you to others and we do not attach your name or any other personally identifying information to your interview responses. It is important to us to ensure that our participants are treated in a respectful and ethical manner which includes protecting their privacy.

However, there are certain circumstances in which we need to break our confidentiality. These include:

  • If you reveal the intention to hurt yourself or another person.
  • If you disclose specific details about a crime that you witnessed or were involved in (such as date, place, persons involved).

What happens with the information collected?

The de-identified data (i.e. containing no personal details) is kept in a secured database. The only people who can see this data are those who are directly involved with the study or who apply for special permission.

What do I have to do if I participate?

IDRS participants usually contact us either via sms, by email or by calling us. The IDRS coordinator for their state will then ask them a few questions to ensure they are eligible to participate in the study. If they are eligible, the coordinator will then book a time for them to complete the interview. Interviews were sometimes completed on site at the centre where the study is held and sometimes in other locations which may have been more convenient for participants (e.g. in private rooms at the site where they were recruited from), though this year (2020), all interviews will be conducted over the phone.

It takes about 1 hour to complete an IDRS interview. Participants are reimbursed $40 for their time and travel expenses, either via bank transfer, gift voucher or PayID.

During the interview, you will be asked questions about your use of drugs and alcohol, the price, purity and availability of drugs and other questions about your health and wellbeing (e.g. mental health). You do not have to answer anything you are uncomfortable answering. There are no blood, urine or hair samples taken as part of the study.

What is the IDRS?

The IDRS is a drug market monitoring study which is undertaken each year in every capital city of Australia. The project aims to examine patterns of injecting drug use  (such as heroin, cocaine, powder methamphetamine, methamphetamine base, crystal methamphetamine, pharmaceutical opioids etc.); to document the price, purity and availability of these drugs; to look at drug related harms and to identify emerging trends that require further investigation.

How is the data used?

The data is used to:

  • Compose a yearly report on drug markets in each state and territory as well as nationally;
  • Write quarterly bulletins addressing specific topics;
  • Write research papers which inform the scientific and medical communities;
  • Provide information sessions to health care providers and law enforcement personnel; and
  • Respond to enquiries about the drug markets (e.g. from the media or from government departments).

Can I look at some findings from previous years’ studies?

Sure. Go to https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/resource-type/drug-trends-national-reports

Has this research received ethics approval?

Yes. Ethics approval has been received from Prince of Wales Hospital, SESLHD Research Office: Approval number: HREC/12/POWH/194 – 12/097.

How do I get involved?
You can find the contact details for your state below and either SMS or call them directly. You must contact the coordinator for the state you are currently living in. Scroll down to find their details or click on the link next to their name to send them an email directly.

New South Wales (NSW)  Roanna - underway
Contact Roanna now (you will be redirected to another page)
Otherwise, you can contact Roanna via the details below:
Mobile: 0420 571 895

Victoria (VIC) – Cristal - underway
Contact Cristal now (you will be redirected to another page)
You can contact Cristal via the details below:
Mobile: 
0490 456 652 

Queensland (QLD) – Catherine - underway
Contact Catherine now (you will be redirected to another page)
Otherwise, you can contact Catherine via the details below:
Mobile: 0437 390 190

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – Julia - underway
Contact Julia now (you will be redirected to another page)
Otherwise, you can contact Julia via the details below:
Mobile: 0405 567 118

South Australia (SA) – Toni - underway
Contact Toni now (you will be redirected to another page)
Otherwise, you can contact Toni via the details below:
Mobile: 0420 571 197

Western Australia (WA) – Seraina – commencing 2nd July 2020
Contact Seraina now (you will be redirected to another page)
Otherwise, you can contact Seraina via the details below:
Mobile: 0477 361 068

Tasmania (TAS) – Tanya – commencing 2nd July 2020
Contact Tanya now (you will be redirected to another page)
Otherwise, you can contact Tanya via the details below:
Mobile: 0411 835 392

Northern Territory (NT) – Chris – commencing 2nd July 2020
Contact Chris now (you will be redirected to another page)
Otherwise, you can contact Chris via the details below:
Phone: (08) 8985 7660

This information was accurate at 29/06/2020