With the release of the 2011 Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) national report just around the corner, it’s an ideal time to recognise some of the heartening changes uncovered by the 2011 survey.
Among them are the shifts observed in the injecting behaviour of injecting drug users. Those reporting sharing of injecting equipment other than needles (such as spoons, filters, tourniquets and swabs) was significantly lower in 2011 than in 2010, dropping from 39% of those surveyed to 25%.
Lower too were the numbers of survey participants who had reused their own injecting equipment. In 2011, 59% reported reusing their equipment, compared with 68% in 2010.
These figures are set against a backdrop where 90% of 868 people interviewed reported making use of needle and syringe programs to source needles and syringes. These harm minimisation services not only provide clean and free injecting equipment, but also education and information on safer drug use, referral to drug treatment services and family support services. They also collect used needles.
The 2012 IDRS survey is now underway. It will be interesting to see what happens to these figures in next year’s report.
To access this data:
The national 2011 IDRS report is currently being finalised and will be available soon.
The 2011 IDRS jurisdictional reports (ie. state and territory reports) are now available.