ACT Drug Trends 2013: Findings from the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS)

Image: Illicit Drug Reporting System logo
Author: Kerryn Butler, Lucy Burns

Resource Type: Drug Trends Jurisdictional Reports

The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) monitors trends in the illicit drug market in Australia. The IDRS was implemented nationally in Australia, following a successful pilot study in Sydney in 1996 (Hando, O'Brien, Darke et al., 1997) and trials in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia in 1997 (Hando and Darke, 1998). In the year 2000, the IDRS study was carried out in all Australian states and territories, with each jurisdiction conducting a survey with people who inject drugs (PWID), interviewing key experts (KE) and incorporating routinely collected indicator data from secondary sources. The IDRS is conducted annually in each Australian state and territory.
 
The IDRS triangulates three forms of data: (a) a survey of approximately 100 PWID; (b) interviews with KE, with expert knowledge of drug markets; and (c) indicator data sources relating to illicit drug trends in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). In 2012, the IDRS was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (AGDH&A). The authors would like to acknowledge this organisation for continuing to fund this critical project.
 
This ACT Drug Trends 2013 report presents findings from the 2013 ACT IDRS study. The report commences with a summary of the methodology used in data collection for the IDRS, and then provides an overview of the demographics of the PWID respondents. This is followed by an outline of the current drug use and consumption patterns of the PWID sample. The report also presents findings on recent drug use trends pertaining to the price, purity, availability and purchasing patterns of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, cannabis and other drugs. The report then discusses harms associated with injecting drug use, as well as mental health issues, drug driving and criminal activity among the 2013 PWID sample.