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WA Drug Trends 2009: Findings from the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS)

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Author: C. Rainsford, S. Lenton

Resource Type: Drug Trends Jurisdictional Reports

The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) aims to provide a national co-ordinated approach to monitoring data on the use of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and cannabis. It is intended to act as a strategic early warning system that identifies emerging drug problems of state and national concern. Rather than describe such phenomena in detail, the IDRS is designed to be timely and sensitive to emerging drug trends, thereby providing direction for more detailed data collection.

The IDRS is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (AGDH&A). The project is coordinated at the national level by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales thereby ensuring that comparable data is collected in every jurisdiction in Australia.

The IDRS commenced in New South Wales (NSW) in 1996 and has been conducted in Western Australia (WA) since 1998; thus, this report presents the findings of the 11th year of data collection in WA. Results are summarised according to the four main drug types, with the use of other drugs also reported. Additionally, this report continues the initiative commenced in 2003 when the IDRS attempted to collect more detailed information on the illicit markets for pharmaceutical opioids. A separate study monitoring trends in ecstasy and related drug use (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.

As in previous years, the specific aims of the WA component of the 2009 IDRS were to examine:

  • trends in illicit drug use in Perth;
  • trends in illicit drug markets in Perth such as price, purity and availability;
  • health-related harms associated with illicit drug use, particularly intravenous use; and,
  • emerging illicit drug trends that warrant further investigation.