This is the PhD project of Ms Shann Hulme.
National and international evidence indicates that the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs is increasing, along with the associated health, social and economic harms.
The process of obtaining pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use involves diversion, whereby pharmaceuticals are channelled from legal sources to the illicit marketplace. Diversion is believed to occur through a number of mechanisms such as sharing between family and friends, theft, overprescribing by health practitioners, internet sales, and doctor or pharmacy shopping.
Research to date has largely focused on the demand for pharmaceutical drugs, including prevalence of misuse, motivations for use, and the associated harms. Little research has examined the supply of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use, particularly in the Australian context.
The aim of this research is to gain a greater understanding of the diversion of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use from the supply perspective. An understanding of the source and access points of pharmaceutical drugs that are used non-medically, as well as the processes and people involved in diversion is critical for informing the development of effective prevention, treatment and law enforcement interventions to address it.
- Systematic review and meta-analysis: International (20 years) – The source and diversion of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use – A review of what we know
- Medical supply in Australia – Secondary analysis of Australian tribunal decisions involving cases against health practitioners for misappropriating drugs or inappropriately supplying drugs to the public.
- Non-medical supply in Australia – Semi-structured interviews with people involved in unlawfully supplying / dealing pharmaceutical drugs across Australia.
- Systematic review and meta-analysis completed – published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Mar 2018)
- Tribunal decisions – forthcoming publication in Drug and Alcohol Review
- Interviews (source and motives of suppliers) – published in International Journal of Drug Policy (April 2019)
- Interviews (economic indicators of supply) – manuscript under preparation
Hulme S, Bright D & Nielsen S 2018. The source and diversion of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 186: 242-256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.02.010
Hulme S, Hughes C & Nielsen S 2019. Drug sourcing and motivations among a sample of people involved in the supply of pharmaceutical drugs in Australia. International Journal of Drug Policy, 66: 38-47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.01.022
Hulme S, Hughes C & Nielsen S (forthcoming). What factors contributed to the misconduct of health practitioners? An analysis of Australian cases involving the diversion and supply of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use between 2010 and 2016. Drug and Alcohol Review.
Hulme S, Hughes C & Nielsen S (in preparation). The monetary and non-monetary value of pharmaceutical drugs supplied on the black market: An Australian case study.