NSW Drug Trends 2014: Findings from the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS)

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Author: D. McKell & L. Burns

Resource Type: Drug Trends Jurisdictional Reports

The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) is Australia’s federally funded national drug monitoring system. The purpose of the IDRS is to provide a standardised, comparable approach to the monitoring of data relating to the use of opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine and cannabis. The IDRS is intended to act as a strategic early warning system, identifying emerging drug problems of national concern. It is not intended to describe phenomena in detail, but rather, is designed to indicate the need for more detailed data collection by providing sensitive and timely data on emerging trends in illicit drug markets.

One component of the IDRS involves interviews with people who inject drugs (PWID) to obtain information on use patterns and drug markets. PWID participants are recruited as a sentinel group that are active in illicit drug markets. The information from the IDRS survey is, therefore, not representative of illicit drug use in the general population, nor is it indicative of all illicit drug use or of all people who inject drugs, but identifies emerging trends that require further monitoring.

The IDRS has operated in NSW since 1996. The data described in this report represent a summary of drug trends detected by the NSW IDRS in 2014. Results are summarised by drug type to provide the reader with an abbreviated picture of illicit drug markets and recent trends. NSW drug trends from previous years can be found in the annual NSW Drug Trends reports. All IDRS reports from previous years (in NSW and for all other jurisdictions) may be downloaded in full from the NDARC website http://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au (under ‘Drug Trends’). Quarterly bulletins are also produced on IDRS and related data (also available on the NDARC website), and IDRS results are also disseminated in a range of forums including national and international conferences and at the annual Drug Trends Conference. 

A separate study monitoring trends in ecstasy and related drug use (the Ecstasy and related Drugs Reporting System, or EDRS, formerly known as the Party Drugs Initiative, or PDI) commenced in NSW in 2000 and has been conducted nationally since 2003. Findings are reported elsewhere (Dunn, Degenhardt, & Stafford, 2006; Stafford et al., 2006).