Report | 17 05 2016


QLD Drug Trends 2015: Findings from the Ecstasy and related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS)



The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) is conducted every year in the capital city of every state and territory in Australia. Interviews are conducted with people from the general population who regularly use ecstasy and other illicit psychostimulant drugs. The EDRS is designed to identify emerging trends among a sentinel group of drug users, and to inform the health and law enforcement sectors about patterns of drug use, drug markets, relevant health issues and other special areas of interest.


In 2015, 85 regular psychostimulant users (RPU) were recruited for the Queensland EDRS. Characteristics were largely similar to previous years (i.e. typically male, heterosexual, from an English-speaking background, and had completed secondary school). The mean age of the 2015 sample (24 years) was similar to previous years (e.g. 25 years in 2014). The proportion of single participants was significantly higher in 2015 (64% vs 49% in 2014) with increases in those combining work with study (44% vs 31% in 2014) and those living in rental accommodation (77% vs 66% in 2014; p<0.05 for all three).


Ecstasy remained the drug of choice among participants, with an increase in the proportion of participants reporting this (from 29% in 2014 to 38% in 2015; p<0.05), as well as an increase in preference for cannabis (from 20% in 2014 to 31% in 2015; p<0.05). Preferences for cocaine and LSD dropped. Aside from tobacco, the most common drugs used recently were ecstasy, cannabis, alcohol and cocaine. The greatest proportion of participants reported using ecstasy and related drugs fortnightly, though one third reported using weekly or more. Injecting remained rare among this sample. Binging behaviour (i.e. using drugs for 48 hours or more without sleep) was reported by 36% of participants during the previous six months.