The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) is an ongoing national illicit drug monitoring system intended to identify emerging trends of local and national concern in illicit drug markets.
The IDRS consists of annual interviews across all Australian jurisdictions with people who inject drugs (PWID), as well as analysis and examination of indicator data sources related to illicit drugs.
The IDRS has been conducted annually since 2009 and forms part of the Drug Trends program coordinated by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. It is designed to be sensitive to trends, providing data in a timely manner, rather than describing issues in detail.
Access the full report – Australian Drug Trends 2020 – Key Findings from the Illicit Drugs Reporting System
2020 SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS
~ In 2020, 884 people from all Australian capital cities participated in IDRS interviews
~ The mean age in 2020 was 44, and 59% identified as male.
~ In the 2020 sample, 88% were unemployed and 12% had no fixed address.
~Participants were recruited on the basis that they had injected drugs at least monthly in the previous 6 months.
~ 83% of IDRS participants have heard about naloxone and 34% were trained in naloxone administration.
~ Of those who had heard of naloxone, 27% had used naloxone to resuscitate someone who had overdosed.
~ In the IDRS sample, 5% said they had been resuscitated with naloxone by a peer.
OTHER HARMS AND HELP-SEEKING
~ In the 2020 IDRS sample, 13% had a non-fatal opioid overdose in the last year. Heroin was the most commonly cited opioid related to non-fatal overdose.
~ In the 2020 sample, 6% had experienced a non-fatal stimulant overdose in the previous 12 months.
~ In the sample, 47% self reported a mental health problem in the six months prior to interview, and 48% were in drug treatment at the time of interviews
~ In the sample, 31% reported being diagnosed with depression and 24% with anxiety in the past six months.
~ Past 6 month use of heroin increased to 63% in the 2020 IDRS sample (55% 2019).
~ Of those who had recently consumed heroin, almost 4 in 5 used it weekly or more often.
~ Of those who could comment 77% perceived heroin to be ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain, down from 89% in 2019.
~ Past 6 month use of any methamphetamine was stable at 72% of the 2020 IDRS sample (78% in 2019).
~ Of the entire sample, 20% had recently consumed powder, and 71% crystal methamphetamine.
~ Injection was the main route of administration for powder (93%) and crystal (95%) among those who had consumed each form.
~ Of those who could comment 48% perceived crystal methamphetamine to be ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain in 2020.
~ Past 6 month use of non-prescribed morphine was stable at 18% in the 2019 IDRS sample and 15% in 2020.
~ Past 6 month use of non-prescribed fentanyl was stable at 9% in the 2019 IDRS sample to 6% in 2020.
~ Past 6 month use of non-prescribed pregabalin was stable at 18% in the 2019 IDRS sample to 14% in 2020.
~ Past 6 month use of non-prescribed oxycodone was stable at 15% in the 2019 IDRS sample to 11% in 2020.
~ Past 6 month use of any cannabis decreased from 74% in the 2019 IDRS sample to 67% in 2020.
~ Of those who had consumed cannabis recently, almost half reported daily or more frequent use.
~ Of people who had consumed cannabis in the last 6 months, 97% had smoked it.
~ Of those who could comment 81% perceived hydro to be ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain.
Peacock, A., Uporova, J., Karlsson, A., Price, O., Gibbs, D., Swanton, R., Chan, R., Bruno, R., Dietze, P., Lenton, S., Salom, C., Degenhardt, L., & Farrell, M. (2021). Australian Drug
Trends 2020: Key Findings from the National Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) Interviews. Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney.