EDRS Bulletin October 2009: An overview of the 2009 EDRS

Key findings

  • Patterns of ecstasy use, such as frequency of use (how often users used ecstasy e.g. weekly, fortnight etc) and amounts used, have remained relatively stable among the regular ecstasy users involved in the EDRS.
  • Price of ecstasy tablets was lower across six of the eight jurisdictions relative to 2008 (TAS and the NT remained the same). The price drop was between $3 in VIC through to $10 (NSW). This price drop did not appear associated with other ecstasy market characteristics of availability or purity, which remained relatively stable.
  • With the exception of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, regular ecstasy users were not typically regular users (e.g. weekly or more often) of other drugs, with use usually occurring on a less than monthly basis. Nonetheless, a subgroup reported using some illicit drugs weekly or more often and engaging in risky ecstasy related practices such as bingeing.
  • Regular ecstasy users reported the use of all three forms of methamphetamine (speed, base and ice/crystal). Nationally, there was a reported decrease in recent use of crystal methamphetamine from 24% in 2008 to 15% 2009. The decrease was reported across the majority of states and territories (except SA and the NT) and is the lowest level of ice/crystal use reported since the study began monitoring use in 2003. This was not reflected in marked changes in price, purity or availability of crystal methamphetamine. Speed and base use and market characteristics remained stable from figures reported in 2008.
  • Among the national sample reports of cocaine use remained stable although a higher proportion reported use in NSW (51% in 2008 to 64% in 2009) and QLD (30% in 2008 to 55% in 2009) whilst frequency of use was stable and low in all jurisdictions. Use appears to remain concentrated in jurisdictions on the east coast of Australia.
  • Regular ecstasy users reported the use of other drugs such as GHB and ketamine, however jurisdictional differences were evident. VIC had the highest proportion reporting use of GHB and ketamine in the preceding six months; however, use occurred infrequently among those who had used in the six months prior to interview (2 days use over the past six months).
  • Other drugs used recently by this sample were LSD (34%, median days use 2), amyl nitrate (26%, median days use 4) and nitrous oxide (19%, median days use 4). Jurisdictional differences are evident.
  • Regular (e.g. daily) use of tobacco and cannabis was common in this group. Patterns of alcohol use also indicated high rates of risky drinking. Alcohol after tobacco was used most frequently by this group, at twice weekly.