Report | 09 09 2016


2016 EDRS Key findings - Drug Trends Conference handout



The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) is a national monitoring system for ecstasy and related drugs that is intended to identify emerging trends of local and national interest in the markets for these drugs. The EDRS consists of three components: interviews with regular psychostimulant users (RPU); interviews with key experts (KEs), professionals who have regular contact with regular psychostimulant 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 and LSD. The EDRS is designed to be sensitive to trends, providing data in a timely manner, rather than describing issues in detail.


Key findings


  • Seven hundred and ninety-five regular psychostimulant users (RPU) took part in face to face EDRS interviews in 2016. Participants were primarily recruited through the internet (58%) and word of mouth (30%).
  • Ecstasy was the drug of choice by over a third of the sample (36%) followed by cannabis (21%).
  • The most popular form of ecstasy consumed on a regular basis was still pill (tablet) form. There remains an increasing trend in the use of MDMA crystal/rock with this form considered to be a more potent form of ecstasy. Over half (54%) of MDMA crystal/rock users reporting it being of ‘high’ purity compared to 25% of those reporting pills, powder and caps as ‘high’.
  • A quarter of the national sample reported ‘weekly or more’ use of ecstasy.
  • Ecstasy is used in a range of public and private locations. Almost half (44%) of RPU nominated nightclubs as the last location they used ecstasy while intoxicated.
  • The price of ecstasy remained stable at $25 per tablet.
  • The recent use of methamphetamine (all forms) remained stable with 38% of the sample reporting recent use and 7% of the national sample reporting ‘weekly or more’ use, specifically crystal (6%).
  • Speed powder remained the form of methamphetamine used by largest proportion of RPU (25%) followed by crystal with 19% reporting recent use.
  • All forms of methamphetamine were considered ‘very easy to easy’ to obtain. Speed powder was reported to be of ‘medium’ purity and crystal and base were reported to be of ‘high’ purity.
  • The recent use of New Psychoactive Substance (NPS) remained stable with about a third (34%) of the sample reporting NPS use in the past six months. The most commonly reported NPS were: any 2C, (13%)  DMT (15%) and DXM (6%). Frequency of use was low. Synthetic cannabis was reported at low levels (4%) and comparable to 2015 data.
  • Nationally about half (47%) reporting recent use of cocaine. Frequency of use was low. Price of cocaine remained stable at $300 for a gram.
  • The recent use of cannabis remained high (86%) and stable.  About a fifth of the sample reported daily cannabis use. Price remained stable.
  • The recent use of LSD, ketamine and GHB significantly increased between 2015 and 2016, with variation by jurisdiction.  The frequency of use remains sporadic.
  • There were significant increases in recent use of a range of substances including: nitrous oxide (25% in 2015 and 36% in 2016), amyl nitrate (21% in 2015 and 27% in 2016), benzodiazepines (32% in 2015 and 38% in 2016) and other opiates (14% in 2015 and 21% in 2016).
  • The recent use of e-cigarettes significantly decreased (34% in 2015 and 26% in 2016).
  • Alcohol is the second most commonly used drug among this group with 97% reporting recent use on a median of 48 days (twice weekly). Around three-quarters of the sample (73%) reported hazardous alcohol use and 15% reported levels where further evaluation or treatment may be warranted.
  • About a fifth of the national sample (18%) reported ever having purchased a drug online with 14% reporting purchasing online in the past year.