fbpx Ice use up among injecting drug users | NDARC - National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre

Ice use up among injecting drug users

Crystal methamphetamine is known as 'ice'

Yesterday we profiled the behaviours of regular ecstasy users in Australia in 2012. Today we take a look at a related survey, the 2012 Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS), which canvassed 924 injecting drug users about their drug use in the six months prior to interview.

Here's what they told us:

  • The majority (54 per cent) still nominated heroin as their drug of choice, with methamphetamine coming in as their second preference (21 per cent).
  • While the numbers of injecting drug users who had used any form of methamphetamine remained stable between 2011-2012, the proportion of those who had used crystal methamphetamine ('ice') increased from 45 per cent in 2011 to 54 per cent in 2012.
  • The proportion of those using ice increased most markedly in New South Wales (from 53 to 68 per cent of those surveyed), Western Australia (from 46 to 64 per cent) and Tasmania (from 26 to 43 per cent). The proportion of injecting drug users using ice went down in Queensland (from 50 to 44 per cent of those surveyed) and the Northern Territory (28 to 26 per cent).
  • The price of a 'cap' of methamphetamine (that is, a small amount typically enough for one injection) varied between states. In NSW the median price of the last cap of 'ice' users had purchased was $50. In most states it was $100, except for the Northern Territory where it was $150.
  • Of those injecting drug users who commented, 72 per cent rated cocaine's purity as medium or high, up from 53 per cent in 2011.
  • Of those injecting drug users who commented, 24 per cent reported the potency of bush cannabis as low, up from 12 per cent in 2011. The potency of hydro cannabis was reported to be much the same as last year.
  • Fewer injecting drug users reported borrowing a needle in the month prior to the survey, down from 11 per cent of those surveyed in 2011 to seven per cent in 2012.
  • Fewer injecting drug users reported attending a health professional for a mental health problem, dropping from 71 per cent in 2011 to 58 per cent in 2012.
  • Injecting drug users reported a reduction in criminal activity across all categories between 2011 and 2012, with statistically significant drops reported for property crime and violent crime.


You can read more on injecting drug use trends in the Key findings from the 2012 IDRS.