Indications and implications of a gradual recovery in Perth’s heroin market

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Author: James Fetherston, Simon Lenton

Resource Type: Drug Trends Bulletins

 

Key findings
  • ƒEvidence is accumulating that the heroin market in Perth, Western Australia may be in a process of slow recovery.
  • ƒNumbers of PWID reporting recent use of heroin is the highest recorded in WA since the IDRS commenced.
  • ƒNumbers of PWID using heroin on a daily basis has generally trended upwards since 2002.
  • ƒƒHeroin was reported as ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain by 92% of PWID responding.
  • Heroin has consistently been the drug most injected by respondents since 2009.
  • ƒƒHowever price remains high and purity modest, currently preventing a return to levels of heroin use seen in the late 90s. ƒƒ 
  • Nevertheless, ambulance callouts to narcotic overdoses are the highest seen in recent years, although increased use of morphine, oxycodone and benzodiazepines among the sample may have contributed to this.
  • ƒƒ If heroin purity fluctuations continue, overall heroin purity and availability further increase, or the availability and use of prescription opioids by PWIDs continue to increase, opioid overdoses are also likely to grow in number.