Methamphetamine use in Adelaide climbs as SA calls for action on drug ‘scourge’

ABC news, 25.01.2017

Methamphetamine use in Adelaide rose 25 per cent in the past year and tripled over five years, an analysis of the city’s sewage has shown.

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Key findings from the 2016 IDRS: A survey of people who inject drugs

NDARC/UNSW, 10/10/2016

The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) monitors emerging trends in the use, price, purity and availability of heroin, methamphetamine (speed powder, base and crystal), cocaine and cannabis. In addition to a survey of people who inject drugs (PWID), the annual data collection also includes a survey of key experts (KE) who are professionals in the field of illicit drugs and the analysis of existing indicator data on drug-related issues. Since 1999, all three components of the IDRS have been conducted annually in every state and territory in Australia.

Key Findings

  • Eight hundred and seventy-seven people who inject drugs (PWID) were interviewed for the 2016 IDRS.
  • Heroin remained the most commonly reported drug of choice for participants (46%) followed by any methamphetamine (29%), with a significant increase in those specifically reporting crystal methamphetamine as their drug of choice (15% in 2015 to 21% 2016).
  • In 2016, similar proportions reported heroin (39%) and methamphetamine (40%) as the drug injected most in the last month. In particular there was a significant increase in crystal as the drug most often injected in the last month (28% in 2015 to 36% in 2016).
  • The proportion of the national sample who reported recent heroin use (56%) remained stable and varied by jurisdiction. In 2016, ‘daily’ heroin use was reported by 41% of the national sample and 17% reported ‘weekly or more’ use. Heroin was reported to be ‘very easy’ to obtain and of ‘low to medium’purity.
  • The trend regarding the increased use of crystal and corresponding decrease in use of speed powder continued with a significant increase in the recent use of crystal (67% in 2015 to 73% in 2016) and significant decrease in speed powder (25% in 2015 to 20% in 2016).
  • A significant increase in the frequency of use of crystal was reported (median of 30 days in 2016 vs. 20 days in 2015). Significantly more participants reported ‘weekly or more’ crystal use (33% in 2015 to 41% in 2016). The frequency of speed and base use remained stable.
  • All forms of methamphetamine were considered ‘very easy’ or ‘easy’ to obtain. All forms were reported to be of ’medium’ to ‘high’purity.
  • Nationally, the recent use of cocaine remained stable (11%) and the frequency of use low. Cocaine was reported as ‘easy’ to obtain and similar proportions of the national sample reporting the purity as ‘low’, ‘medium’or ‘high’.
  • Large  proportions  (73%)  report  recent  use  of  cannabis  on  a medium of 135 days in the last six months. A third (32%) of the sample report daily cannabis use. Hydroponic cannabis dominated the market.
  • Extra-medical use and injection of pharmaceutical preparations continued to occur, with jurisdictional differences in patterns observed. Nationally, the proportions reporting recent use of oxycodone significantly decreased from 25% in 2015 to 21%    in 2016, although use varied by jurisdiction. Nationally, 10% reported recently using fentanyl in 2016.
  • Sharing injection equipment was common with a quarter of the sample having shared injecting equipment (excluding needles). Smaller proportions reported borrowing (7%) or lending (11%) needles. Around one-third of the participants (38%) re-used their own needles in the last month.
  • Nearly half of the national sample (43%) self-reported having had a mental health problem in the last six months with depression the most commonly reported, followed by anxiety. Around one- third (29%) of the national sample reported attending a health professional for their problem.

Download report here

Flux study first report: drug use among gay men and bisexual men

Kirby Institute, May 2016

The Flux Study, a study of drug use (and non-use) among gay and bisexual men, has recently released its first annual report.

Flux is a cohort study of 2251 men, including over 1700 who are being followed at 6-monthly intervals. It identifies: risk factors, prevalence, incidence, and associated harms of drug use; the role of gay community norms in individuals’ beliefs about drug use; and implications for HIV/HCV infection.

 

Some early key findings show that:

•             Over three quarters (81.6%) have ever used illicit drugs, with half (50.5%) having done so in the previous six months.

•             The most commonly and frequently used drugs were marijuana and amyl nitrite, but over a quarter (28.8%) had used any party drugs (including amphetamine-type stimulants and cocaine) in the previous six months.

•             Men in the sample tended to express fairly negative opinions about illicit drug use within the gay community, although they tended to be less concerned about their own illicit drug use.

•             The two most common reasons for drug use were to enjoy a sexual encounter (61.8%) and socialising (54.5%).

Flux is a collaboration between the Kirby Institute, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society (ARCSHS), the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH), ACON, and Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre.

 Download report (PDF) here 

Victorian heroin overdose deaths spike, average age of victims rises

ABC The World Today, Posted

The number of heroin deaths in Victoria rose by almost 20 per cent in 2015, but it is an older generation who are dying.

Victoria Police and the State Coroner will be investigating whether increased purity was responsible for the jump in overdoses.

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Very high levels of chemsex and ‘slamsex’ seen in HIV-positive men attending UK HIV clinics

nam/aidsmap, 24 February 2016

A survey of HIV-positive patients attending 30 HIV clinics in England and Wales has found that nearly a third (29%) of gay male patients reported engaging in ‘chemsex’ (defined by the researchers as “The use of drugs to increase disinhibition and arousal”) in the past year and that one in 10 reported ‘slamsex’ (injecting – or being injected with – the drugs).

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Ice part of a complex picture of substance use in LGBTI communities

Star Observer, January 6, 2015

A bid to make services for substance users in Victoria more inclusive of trans* and gender diverse people highlights the complex picture often missed by an LGBTI community focused on the impacts of ice.

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