In 1998 the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (AGDHA) commissioned the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) to implement a national Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS), following a successful pilot study in Sydney in 1996 and a multi-state trial in 1997 (Hando & Darke, 1998; Hando, Darke, Degenhardt, Cormack, & Rumbold, 1998; Hando, O'Brien, Darke, Maher, & Hall, 1997). The 1998 IDRS study was conducted in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and South Australia (SA) (McKetin, Darke, Hayes, & Rumbold, 1999), with each jurisdiction undertaking a survey of people who inject drugs (PWID), a key expert (KE) survey and analyses of available secondary indicator data. In 1999 the IDRS study was replicated in NSW, Victoria and SA, with all other remaining states and territories participating through the collection of secondary indicator data and completion of KE interviews. In 2000 the IDRS became a truly national drug trend monitoring system when all states and territories conducted the study using the same methodology. This is the 17th year that the IDRS has been conducted in Melbourne.
The aim of the IDRS is to monitor emerging trends related to the use of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and cannabis. The IDRS provides nationally comparable data in relation to patterns of illicit and injecting drug use (IDU) and associated harms and inform future policy and research initiatives.
The Victorian Drug Trends 2014 report summarises data collected during the months of June through October 2014 as part of the Melbourne arm of the 2014 IDRS. The findings contained herein pertain to the 2013/14 financial year unless otherwise indicated. The report outlines the methods used to collect data for this period and then presents an overview of the socio-demographic characteristics and recent drug use of participating PWID. The report then presents main findings for recent trends in the use of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, cannabis and other drugs, including pharmaceutical opioids. Following this, drug-related harms, general health and other issues are examined.
For interactive statistics and mapping on alcohol, illicit and pharmaceutical drug use among the broader Victorian population, readers should refer to the AODstats website, which replaces the annual Victorian Drug Statistics Handbook series (Turning Point Eastern Health, 2014). Readers are also referred to the forthcoming Australian Drug Trends 2014 monograph for national IDRS data and jurisdictional comparisons (Stafford & Burns, 2015).