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NT trends in ecstasy and related drug markets 2011 : findings from the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS)



NT trends in ecstasy and related drug markets 2011 : findings from the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS)


NT trends in ecstasy and related drug markets; Reports; PublicationNT




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).


Date:2011; Australian drug trends series No. 80




Drug abuse surveys -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Ecstasy (Drug) -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Drug abuse -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals

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National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales

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Sydney (N.S.W)



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91 depressant overdose (Coffin et al., 2007, Schiff and Ozden, 2004, Darke et al., 1996, Darke et al., 2007), it is important to monitor risky drinking among PWID. The information on alcohol consumption currently available in the IDRS includes the prevalence of lifetime and recent use and number of days of use over the preceding six months. As in 2010, the 2011 IDRS survey questionnaire included the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C), considered to be a valid measure of identifying heavy drinking (Bush et al., 1998). The AUDIT-C is a three item measure, derived from the first three consumption questions in the AUDIT. Dawson et al. (2005) reported on the validity of the AUDIT-C, finding that it was a good indicator of alcohol dependence, alcohol use disorder and risky drinking. Among NT IDRS participants who drank alcohol in the past year, the overall mean score on the AUDIT-C was 5.7 (SD=3.5, range 1-12). This was slightly higher than the 2010 overall mean score of 5.5. According to Dawson et al. (2005) and Haber et al. (2009) Guidelines for the Treatment of Alcohol Problems, a cut-off score of five or more indicated that further assessment was required. As is evident from Table 72, 56% of males (50% in 2010) and 43% of females (47% in 2010) reported a level of alcohol consumption requiring further assessment. Fifty-two percent of the total sample of males and females obtained a score of 5 or more (59% in 2010). Table 72: AUDIT-C among people who inject drugs and drank alcohol in the past year, 2010-2011 2010 (n=71) 2011 (n=75) Mean AUDIT-C score, SD (range) 5.5, 3.5 (1-12) 5.7, 3.5 (1-12) Score of 5 or more (%) All participants 59 (n=71) 52 (n=75) Males 50 (n=52) 56 (n=54) Females 47 (n=19) 43 (n=21) Source: IDRS participant interviews 8.3 Pharmaceutical opioids Australian and international studies have shown that PWID experience excess morbidity and mortality compared to those in the general population (Hulse et al., 1999, English et al., 1995, Vlahov et al., 2004, Randall et al., 2001) and that prescribers are often reluctant to prescribe opioid analgesics to people with a history of injecting drug use (Baldacchino et al., 2010, Merrill and Rhodes, 2002). The 2011 IDRS survey included questions regarding the use of pharmaceutical opioids and pain. Pharmaceutical opioids included morphine, oxycodone and other pharmaceutical opioids such as fentanyl, pethidine and tramadol. Methadone, buprenorphine and buprenorphine-naloxone were excluded. Eighty-one percent of the NT sample reported use of pharmaceutical opioids in the last six months (Table 73). Pain relief (63%) and treating self-dependence (44%) were the main reasons identified for using pharmaceutical opioids. Participants were also asked if they were refused pharmaceutical opioids for pain due to injecting history. Of those who commented, 28% responded in the affirmative and 42% reported that they had not sought pain relief. Of those who sought pain relief (n=44), 77% reported being prescribed pharmaceutical opioids for pain relief while 55% reported experiencing difficulty in obtaining pain relief from