The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS)

image - Edrs Logo 280 0
Date Commenced:
Expected Date of Completion:
Project Supporters:

Australian Government Department of Health

Drug Type:
Project Members: 
image - Rachel Sutherland
Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 0256
image - Ndarc 032
Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 0187
image - 1314680208 Natasha Sindicich 20
Mrs Natasha Winsley
Research Assistant
image - Toni Hordern Square
Research Officer
Ph +61 2 9385 0407
image - Amy Peacock 2016 Square 280
Senior Research Fellow (UNSW)
Ph +61 (2) 9385 0333
Project Main Description: 

The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) is a national monitoring system for ecstasy and related drugs that is intended to identify emerging trends of local and national interest in the markets for these drugs. The EDRS is based on the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) methodology and consists of three components: interviews with regular ecstasy  and psychostimulant users (REU/RPU); interviews with key experts (KEs), professionals who have regular contact with regular recreational users through their work; and analysis and examination of indicator data sources related to ecstasy and other related drugs. The EDRS monitors the price, purity, availability and patterns of use of ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine, GHB, MDA and LSD. The EDRS is designed to be sensitive to trends, providing data in a timely manner, rather than describing issues in extensive detail.

For more information about the project and all resources, visit

Project Collaborators: External: 

Paul Dietze (Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health Burnet Institute)

Arthur Truong (Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health Burnet Institute)

Raimondo Bruno (University of Tasmania)

Allison Matthews (University of Tasmania)

Rosa Alati (QADREC)

Caroline Salom (QADREC)

Simon Lenton (National Drug Research Institute)

Marina Nelson (National Drug Research Institute)


The aims of this project are:

  • to describe the characteristics of a sample of current regular ecstasy and psychostimulant users interviewed in each capital city of Australia
  • to examine the patterns of ecstasy and other drug use of these samples
  • to document the current price, purity and availability of ecstasy and related drugs across Australia
  • to examine the incidence and nature of harms related to the use of ERDs
  • to identify emerging trends in ecstasy and related drugs markets that may require further investigation
Design and Method: 

Previously known as the Party Drug Initiative (PDI), the EDRS is coordinated by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, and is conducted by different research institutions in each Australian state and territory. The EDRS uses a similar methodology to the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS). Regular ecstasy and psychostimulant users are interviewed as they were identified as a group of drug users that are able to provide the required information on patterns of ecstasy and related drugs (ERDs) use, the current availability, price and purity of ERDs and perceived drug-related health issues associated with ERDs use. A semi-structured survey of experts in the field of ERDs (e.g. party promoters, treatment providers and law enforcement personnel) is also conducted and indicator data (e.g. purity of drug seizures and overdose rates) are analysed. These data sources are examined together to identify convergent trends in ERDs use and markets.          


The EDRS was conducted successfully in every state and territory in 2016. 795 regular psychostimulant users were interviewed, providing information on their drug use patterns, ecstasy and related drug markets and related issues. KEs from a range of professions provided information on the RPU they had contact with. Indicator data including seizures, purity analysis and treatment data were examined. 



Reports/monographs expected March 2017:

Australian Trends in Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting 2016 monograph

ACT Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System 2016 report

NSW Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System 2016 report

QLD Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System 2016 report

SA Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System 2016 report

TAS Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System 2016 report

VIC Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System 2016 report

WA Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System 2016 report


Four EDRS bulletins & a supplement are published every year

Conference handout:

Key findings from the 2016 EDRS - Drug Trends handout from the NDARC Annual Symposium


  • Matthews, A. J., Bruno, R., Dietze, P., Butler, K., & Burns, L. (2014). Driving under the influence among frequent ecstasy consumers in Australia: Trends over time and the role of risk perceptions. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 144, 218-224
  • Danielle Horyniak, Louisa Degenhardt, De Villiers Smit, Venita Munir, Jennifer Johnston, Craig Fry, Paul Dietze. Pattern and characteristics of ecstasy and related drug (ERD) presentations at two hospital emergency departments, Melbourne, Australia, 2008–2010, Emergency Medicine Journal, published online 12 February 2013, doi: 10.1136/emermed-2012-202174
  • Andrew Smirnov, Reza Hayatbakhsh, Rosa Alati, Margot Legosz, Lucy Burns, Robert Kemp, Helene Wells & Jake M. Najman. Psychological Distress and Drug Use Patterns of Young Adult Ecstasy Users: A Complementary Analysis of Australian Datasets, Substance Use and Misuse, published online 1 August 2013, doi:10.3109/10826084.2013.819366.
  • Matthews, AJ and Bruno, RB and Nicholls, CB. Over the Bar: A Focus on Alcohol Use among Regular Ecstasy Consumers in Australia, The Australian Government, April 2013 (2013) [Contract Report]
  • Kari Lancaster, Rachel Sutherland & Alison Ritter. Examining the opinions of people who use drugs towards drug policy in Australia, Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, published online 30 September 2013, doi:10.3109/09687637.2013.838211.

Peer-reviewed EDRS Publications

  • Scott, L., Roxburgh, A., Bruno, R., Matthews A. & Burns, L. (2012). The impact of comorbid cannabis and methamphetamine use on mental health among regular ecstasy users, Addictive Behaviours, 37 (9), 1058-1062.
  • Lancaster, K., Sutherland, R. and Ritter, A. (2013). Examining the opinions of people who use drugs towards drug policy in Australia. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy 21(2), 93-101. doi: 10.3109/09687637.2013.838211
  • Nguyen, P. L. T., Bruno, R., Alati, R., Lenton, S., Burns, L., & Dietze, P. M. (2013). Selfreported recent testing and diagnosis for sexually transmitted infections among regular ecstasy users in Australia, 2011–2012. Drug and Alcohol Review, 33(2), 211-214. doi:
  • Smirnov, A., Hayatbakhsh, R., Alati, R., Legosz, M., Burns, L., Kemp, R., Wells, H., & Najman, J. M. (2014). Psychological distress and drug use patterns of young adult ecstasy users: a complementary analysis of Australian datasets. Substance Use & Misuse, 49(1-2), 77-86. doi:10.3109/10826084.2013.819366
  • Burns, L., Roxburgh, A., Matthews, A., Bruno, R., Lenton, S., and van Buskirk, J. (2014). The rise of new psychoactive substance use in Australia, Drug Testing and Analysis, 6(7-8), 846-849. doi: 10.1002/dta.1626.
  • Matthews, AJ., Bruno, R., Dietze, P., Butler, K., & Burns, L. (2014). Driving Under the Influence among Frequent Ecstasy Consumers in Australia: Trends over Time and the Role of Risk Perceptions. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 144, 218-224. doi: drugalcdep.2014.09.015
  • Peacock, A., Sindicich, N., Dunn, M., Whittaker, E., Sutherland, R., Entwistle, G., Burns, L. & Bruno, R. (2015). Co-Ingestion of energy drinks with alcohol and other substances among a sample of people who regularly use ecstasy. Drug and Alcohol Review, Advance online publication, 1-7.
  • Sutherland, R., Sindicich, N., Entwistle, G., Whittaker, E., Peacock, A., Matthews, A., Bruno, R., Alati, R., Burns, L. (2016). Tobacco and e-cigarette use amongst illicit drug users in Australia. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Advance online publication, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.10.035.
  • Sutherland, R., Peacock, A., Whittaker, E., Roxburgh, A., Lenton, S., Matthews, A., Butler, K., Nelson, M., Burns, L. & Bruno, R. (2016). New Psychoactive Substance Use among Regular Psychostimulant Users in Australia, 2010-2015, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 161, 110-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.01.024
Project Research Area: 
Drug Type: 
Project Status: