Drug injection trends among participants in the Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey, 2009-2013

Image: Illicit Drug Reporting System logo
Author: Sammy Chow, Jenny Iverson, Lisa Maher

Resource Type: Drug Trends Bulletins

Key findings

  • Nationally, heroin and methamphetamine were the most commonly reported drugs last injected in 2013. Over the period 2009 to 2013, prevalence of heroin injection declined (from 34% in 2009 to 29% in 2013) and methamphetamine injection increased (from 24% in 2009 to 29% in 2013).
  • Pharmaceutical opioids remained the third most commonly reported class of drugs last injected in all years 2009 to 2013 and prevalence declined from 16% in 2009 to 14% in 2013. The proportion of respondents who reported methadone as the last drug injected also declined from 9% in 2009 to 7% in 2013.
  • Nationally, prevalence of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) as the drug last injected increased from 2% in 2009 to 7% in 2013. Reports of PIEDs as the last drug injected were predominantly confined to NSW and Queensland in all years between 2009 and 2013.
  • ƒThe proportion of respondents who reported daily or more frequent injection in the month prior to the survey declined from 50% in 2009 to 44% in 2013. ƒƒ
  • The proportion of respondents who reported injection in a public place also declined nationally, from 45% in 2009 to 39% in 2013.
  • ƒBetween 2009 and 2013, reports of re-use of needles and syringes, receptive sharing of needles and syringes and receptive sharing of ancillary drug preparation equipment remained stable nationally. ƒƒ
  • HIV antibody prevalence was low nationally in all years between 2009 and 2013, however, prevalence increased from 1.2% in 2009 to 2.1% in 2013.
  • ƒƒNationally, HCV antibody prevalence was high and increased nationally, from 50% in 2009 to 54% in 2013.