Presentation | 14 10 2015


2015 EDRS Key findings - Drug Trends Conference handout



Regular psychostimulant users surveyed in the EDRS reported that ‘speed’ remained the main form of methamphetamine used in the last six months. ‘Ice’ was reported as becoming easier to obtain. The proportions reporting the recent use of cannabis increased, while the proportion recently using ecstasy decreased. The use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) remained stable.


The EDRS is based on the IDRS methodology and consists of three components: interviews with regular ecstasy users (REU); interviews with key experts (KEs), professionals who have regular contact with regular ecstasy users through their work; and analysis and examination of indicator data sources related to ecstasy and other related drugs.  The EDRS monitors the price, purity, availability and patterns of use of ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine, GHB, MDA and LSD. The EDRS is designed to be sensitive to trends, providing data in a timely manner, rather than describing issues in extensive detail.


Key Findings


  • 763 regular psychostimulant users (RPU) participants took part in the EDRS in 2015. Participants were primarily recruited through word-of-mouth and the internet (facebook).
  • Preference for ecstasy has significantly declined, whilst cannabis has significantly increased in 2014. Both are level at 30% of EDRS participants reporting preference for either. Related to this, cannabis recent use has increased significantly as has use of cannabis when coming down from ecstasy. This is an interesting finding given that cannabis use is not a substance that is ask about during screening for EDRS eligibility.
  • Despite a significant decrease in use, the most popular form of ecstasy consumed on a regular basis is still pill (tablet) form. There remains an increasing trend in the use of MDMA crystal/rock with 2015 being the second year of market characteristics collected. This form was to be considered a much more potent form of ecstasy with 56% of MDMA crystal/rock users reporting it being of ‘high’ purity compared to 20% of those reporting pills, powder and caps.
  • Speed powder remained the form of methamphetamine most used. However, speed powder along with base were reported at significantly lower levels of recent use. Ice/crystal recent use remained at stable levels (1 in 5 participants having used ice/crystal recently). Ice/crystal did report a significant increase in those reporting that it was ‘easy’ to ‘very easy’ to obtain.
  • NPS recent use remained steady at one-third of the sample. Frequency of use remains low 1-2 days (over a six month period). Particular NPS that were reportedly most used included: 2C-B, DMT and NBOMe.
  • Synthetic cannabis stabilized at low levels comparable to 2014 figures.
  • Cocaine, LSD, ketamine and GHB showed stable recent use from 2014 to 2015.
  • Cannabis and tobacco recent use significantly increased whilst alcohol and the majority of other drugs all showed similar rates to recent use to last year.