Presentation | 18 09 2016


What is Drug Trends?



In the 1990's the Government identified challenges to monitoring trends in the illicit drug market and despite the existence of an Illicit Drug Indicators project (1990-1991) run by Criminologist Dr Grant Wardlaw it was seen as too slow and cumbersome. In 1995, the Commonwealth commissioned NDARC to design a new system to monitor drug trends in Australia to look at use and harms.


In 1996 the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) was piloted in NSW, accruing more states each year, until becoming a national system in 2000.


IDRS drugs include:
Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Speed powder, Base, Ice/Crystal, Cannabis and Other opioids


In 2000, the Ecstasy and related Drugs reporting System (EDRS) began monitoring a group of drugs that were not being captured by the IDRS namely drugs like ecstasy and LSD. These types of drugs were more likely to be swallowed, snorted or smoked and used in social venues with music such as nightclubs. The EDRS was run on same premise as the IDRS however instead of PWID, it monitored regular ecstasy users.


EDRS drugs include:
Ecstasy, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Speed powder, Base, Ice/Crystal, Cannabis, LSD, Ketamine, GHB


The aim of Drug Trends is to:
Detect changing patterns of use and harm over time
Document the price, purity, and availability of illicit drugs
Point to specialised/detailed research
Provide an evidence base for policy
Outputs include: reports, bulletins, briefings, conference and presentations


It consists of three components:

  1. Interviews with illicit drug users (injectors)
  2. Interviews with Key Experts (law and health profession)
  3. Indicator data (large population based data sets e.g. Arrests, hospital overdoses)