Drug injection trends among participants in the Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey, 2008-2012

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Author: Jenny Iversen, Brenda Currie, Lisa Maher

Resource Type: Drug Trends Bulletins

Key findings
  • ƒƒHeroin was the most commonly reported drug last injected in all years 2008 to 2012 and accounted for approximately one third of respondents in each survey year. Between 2008 and 2012, prevalence of heroin as the last drug injected was higher in Victoria than in any other jurisdiction and was the most common drug last injected in this state, as well as in the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales.
  • ƒƒMethamphetamine was the second most commonly reported drug last injected and accounted for approximately one quarter of respondents in each of the survey years from 2008 to 2012. Methamphetamine was the most common drug last injected in Queensland in all of the past five years.
  • ƒƒPharmaceutical opioids were the third most commonly reported class of drugs last injected in all of the past five years, with prevalence stable at between 14% and 16%. In the Northern Territory pharmaceutical opioids were the most commonly reported drug last injected during the period 2008 to 2012, significantly higher than any other jurisdiction.
  • ƒƒThe proportion of respondents who reported last injecting performance and image-enhancing drugs (PIEDs) has increased significantly over the period 2008 to 2012, although the increase in prevalence was confined to New South Wales and Queensland. ƒƒ Approximately half of all respondents reported daily or more frequent injecting in the month prior to the survey in all years 2008 to 2012.
  • ƒƒRe-use of needles and syringes declined significantly from 28% in 2008 to 22% in 2012. Receptive sharing of needles and syringes remained stable, ranging from 13% to 15% over the same period.
  • ƒƒBetween 2008 and 2012 HIV antibody prevalence remained low at 1.5% or less nationally and at 3% or less in all states and territories.
  • ƒƒHCV antibody prevalence declined significantly over the period, from 62% in 2008 to 53% in 2012.