NIDIP was established in the recognition that there was a greater need for the regular dissemination of trends in the epidemiology of drug-related harms in Australia. It was also established to provide comparable monitoring at an international level as there is increasing recognition among international organisations and countries of the need for evidence based decision making in order to respond effectively to drug-related problems, particularly given the transborder issues associated with global drug trafficking. The recognition of a national and internationally comparable approach to illicit drug-related surveillance and monitoring is highlighted through a number of countries with illicit drug data collections in place (e.g. the Community Epidemiology Working Group on Illicit Drugs (CEWG) in the U.S. and the European Union European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)) as well as international efforts to coordinate global drug trends. The benefits of NIDIP then, include the enhanced dissemination of information on trends in harms related to opioid and psychostimulant use and use of prescription drugs, and a greater evidence base for the development of policy responses and interventions in relation to these harms. NIDIP also provides comparable monitoring of trends at an international level.
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The aims of the National Illicit Drug Indicators Project (NIDIP) are to provide epidemiological data on trends over time in drug-related harms, to complement other Australian monitoring systems such as the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) and the Ecstasy and related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS), and to improve the understanding of, and systematically track changes in, drug-related harms for both illicit and prescription drugs.
To date NIDIP has identified a comprehensive range of data sources, and produced reviews of drug-related data indicators at a national level. These indicators include: information on population patterns of drug use from national surveys, data on deaths due to drug overdoses, drug-related morbidity and drug treatment data, indicators of drug purity and seizures, and drug-related crime data. Analyses of these indicators are published on a regular basis. The project currently publishes bulletins on drug-related deaths and drug-related hospital separations on annual basis on the NDARC website, as well as a comprehensive report on trends over time in drug use and related harms across a range of data sources. These bulletins and report, along with peer-reviewed journal articles aim to provide as comprehensive an overview as possible of trends in drug use and related harms in Australia over time.