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
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales
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xvi Four percent of participants reported current engagement in drug treatment (12% in 2010). NT Department of Health data demonstrated an increase from 2010 in closed episodes of treatment for heroin, methamphetamine, cannabis and morphine and a decrease from 2010 in closed treatment episodes for cocaine, ecstasy and benzodiazepines. Cannabis, followed by morphine and methamphetamine, again accounted for the majority of treatment episodes. NT drug-related hospital admissions continued to remain lower than the national rates. The latest data (2008/09) show an increase in NT hospital admissions for opiates, methamphetamine and cannabis. There were no cocaine-related hospital admissions and opiate-related admissions were the highest of the other three drug categories. Three percent of participants had used a needle after someone else and 18% reported use of other injecting equipment after someone else. With the exception of sharing spoons/mixing containers, there was a low rate of using injecting equipment after someone else. Twenty-eight percent of participants had re-used their own needle at least once. Ninety-five percent of participants had sourced needles from an NSP and 92% had last injected in a private home. Notifications of new cases of hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System have increased from 2010 rates. There were six HIV notifications in 2010 (the latest data available) compared to 16 in 2009. The finger-prick survey carried out in Darwin and Alice Springs again did not identify any individuals with HIV antibodies in the most recent (2010) sample while HCV antibody prevalence increased to 47% (29% in 2009). As in previous years, scarring/bruising (reported by 45% of participants) and difficulty injecting (reported by 37% of participants) were the main injection-related problems in the month prior to interview. Morphine was again the main drug (82%) attributed to a dirty hit. Twenty-seven percent of the IDRS sample reported having experienced a mental health problem in the six months prior to interview and, as in previous years, depression was the main mental health problem, followed by anxiety. Of those who reported a mental health problem, 73% had attended a mental health professional for the reported mental health problem and 90% of these had been prescribed medication. Sixty-three percent of this group (n=12) had been prescribed an anti-depressant, 35% (n=6) were prescribed a benzodiazepine and 23% (n=4) had been prescribed an anti-psychotic. Almost one-quarter of those who completed the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) reported a very high level of psychological distress over the four weeks prior to interview. Fifty-five percent of the IDRS sample had driven a car within the six months prior to interview and of those, 15% had driven under the influence of alcohol during this period. Of the group who had driven under the influence of alcohol, 38% reported driving over the legal blood alcohol limit, on a median of 12 occasions. Seventy-six percent of drivers reported that within the six months prior to interview they had driven under the influence of illicit drugs, on a median of 50 (range 1 to 200) times, within a median of 30 minutes after taking the drugs. Morphine (66%) and cannabis (39%) were the drugs most commonly consumed by drivers, followed by speed powder (15%), benzodiazepines (10%), ice (7%), base methamphetamine (2%), methadone (2%) and heroin (2%). Law enforcement and criminal behaviour Thirty-one percent of the IDRS sample reported having committed at least one crime in the month prior to interview and, as in 2010, dealing (20%) was the most frequently reported crime, followed by property crime (14%). The pattern of types of crimes committed has