The IDRS is a national annual study conducted in each Australian capital city jurisdiction.


Serving as a strategic early warning system, the aim is to identify emerging trends related to the use, price, purity and availability of illicit drugs such as heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine and cannabis.


Drug trends are monitored in each jurisdiction through:

- A survey with a sentinel group of people who inject drugs.

- In-depth interviews with a range of key experts in the field of illicit drug use, including Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) workers, drug treatment workers, medical practitioners, researchers and law enforcement officers.


Participant recruitment and interviewing of key experts occurs between June and September each year.

An in-depth report of findings from the previous year’s study is released in March each year.


The IDRS study provides comparable data across capital cities with respect to patterns of illicit drug use and related harms, and provides a basis for better informing future policy and research initiatives.

Some recent examples of how IDRS data has been used to inform health, law enforcement and community sector responses to illicit drug use include:

2003: Research into the course and consequences of the Victorian heroin shortage

2003: In review of the Victorian Drug Treatment Service System

2008: In research into the use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and early intervention to reduce methamphetamine-related harms

2010: Research into the self-reported wellbeing of PWID

2012: Research examining the use of alprazolam among PWID in Melbourne

2013: Research into the relationship between age and risky injecting behaviours among PWID in Australia

2014: Research exploring the prevalence and correlates of quetiapine use among a national sample of PWID

2014: Policy development and review activities and inquiries conducted by the Victorian Government (Law Reform Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, 2014)

2015: Research examining Victorian trends in methamphetamine use (Lim, Cogger, Quinn, Hellard, & Dietze, 2015).

2016: An evaluation of measures of needle and syringe program coverage (McCormack et al.,)




For more information relating to this project, please contact Paul Dietze:


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