About the IDRS and EDRS
The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) and the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) are two studies conducted by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC). These studies output annual reports on illicit drug use, both nationally and by state.
Participants in the research are currently using substances, i.e. the study does not look at drug use in the general population. Data are gathered from interviews with people currently using drugs, key experts in the field, and professionals who have regular contact with people who inject drugs (IDRS) or regular psychostimulant users (EDRS) through their work.
Heroin remains the most commonly used drug amongst people who inject drugs. The proportion of respondents using heroin remained stable, but the frequency of use had increased. The drug is reportedly very easy to obtain and is of low purity.
Use of cocaine remained stable and use of cannabis was high, but stable.
Sharing injection equipment was common, with 6% of respondents having borrowed a needle and 11% having lent a needle. Re-use of own needle was common (41%).
Over half of the sample reported a mental health problem during the previous 6 months. Most commonly reported was depression, followed by anxiety
Although decreasing over the last 12 years, ecstasy remains the most commonly reported drug of choice, closely followed by cannabis, which has increased over the last 12 years. There is a reported decrease in use of ecstasy pills and increase in use of ecstasy/MDMA crystals.
There was a significant increase in regular psychostimulant users reporting using other drugs with ecstasy (89%). Reported use of any methamphetamine has significantly decreased with powder and base use significantly decreasing and crystal use remaining stable.
In terms of other drug use, there has been a significant increase in reported use of tobacco and amyl nitrate.
Crystal methamphetamine use is up (6%) amongst people who inject drugs (PWID), such that 67% of PWID used Ice in the previous 6 months. Crystal methamphetamine use is stable amongst regular psychostimulant users at around 19%.
Users of crystal methamphetamine report the drug is easily obtained and the purity is high.
Harms related to methamphetamine use are high with a dramatic increase in hospital presentations and people seeking treatment. There has also been an increase in methamphetamine related deaths.