Australian Drug Data

Resource Type: General

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Drug statistics provide a valuable tool for monitoring trends in illicit drugs. The following resource provides the main data sources on prevalence and incidence of drug use and regular surveys of illicit drug users. A short statement is provided about each dataset (frequency of collection, sampling frame and data types) to aid in use and interpretation of each data source.

Australian databases are listed below. For international drug data click here.

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2010

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) is the main Australian source of data on alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug prevalence and consumption. It is conducted by the AIHW every two to three years. The most recent survey was conducted in 2010 (Previous surveys were conducted in 1985, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007). Almost 25,000 people aged 12 years and older provided information on their drug use patterns, attitudes and behaviours. The sample is based on households, so homeless and institutionalised people were not included in the survey. For this reason and due to low prevalence for illicit drugs, the survey is most useful for alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. This report presents the 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

The costs of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug abuse to Australian society in 2004/05

This report is the fourth study by David Collins and Helen Lapsley of the social costs of drug abuse in Australia. It presents estimates of the costs of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs for the financial year 2004/05, the most recent year for which all relevant data are available. The production of this report was preceded by an extensive scoping study, including an invitational workshop with other researchers in related areas.

Australian Secondary School Students’ use of over-the counter and illicit substances in 2008

The Australian Secondary School Students Alcohol and Drug Survey is a survey of students alcohol and drug use across Australia, conducted in secondary schools every three years. The most recent was conducted in 2008. In each State and Territory, a representative sample of secondary schools (including government, Catholic and independent) was selected for surveying, and from each school up to 80 students were surveyed. The 2005 report is based on data collected from 24,408 male and female students aged 12–17 years surveyed in 386 schools.

Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS)

The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) is an annual study conducted on illicit drug market conditions and patterns. It includes a survey of approximately 1000 people across all Australian jurisdictions who have injected drugs within the past six months and have resided in the same city for the past year. The IDRS monitors the price, purity, availability and patterns of use of the main illicit drugs, as well as acting as an early warning system for emerging trends in illicit markets.

Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS)

The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) is an annual study that includes a survey of illicit drug users to provide information on patterns of ERDS use, the current availability, price and purity of EDRS and perceived drug-related health issues associated with EDRS use.

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia: findings from the national minimum data set

This series presents national, state and territory data from 2000 onwards on publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment services and their clients, including information about the types of drugs for which treatment is sought and the types of treatment provided.

Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA): Annual report on drug use among police detainees

The Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) study is conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology across a number of sites (NSW, QLD, SA and WA) and incorporates collection of urine samples along with a survey of arrestees designed to address drug purchasing and consumption and their relationship to crime. The results are published annually.

Illicit Drug Data Report

The Illicit Drug Data Report is produced by the Australian Crime Commission each financial year. It includes information on drug offences, prices paid and purity of a range of illicit drugs, including heroin, cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants, ecstasy, cannabis, hallucinogens and steroids.

Australian HIV Surveillance Report

The Australian HIV Surveillance Report is produced by the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research on a quarterly basis, issued in January, April, July and October each year. It incorporates the National AIDS registry and the National HIV database.

Drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: an assessment of data sources

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the prevalence of substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as the use of services for substance abuse. The report will focus on three main categories of substance that have major health implications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: tobacco smoking, alcohol use and illicit substance use.

Drug Use Careers of Offenders (DUCO)

DUCO was a one-off survey of 2,135 adult male offenders who were incarcerated in prisons in Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory in mid 2001.

Survey of Social Attitudes

What Australians think about crime and justice: results from the 2007 Survey of Social Attitudes was produced by the Australian Institute of Criminology. The results from the survey are valuable for giving us a measure of public attitudes and perceptions of crime and the criminal justice system.

Related Publication:

For the latest in Australian drug trends, click here to read the report from Roxburgh et al., 'Trends in Drug Use and Related Harms in Australia, 2001-2011'.

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