NT drug trends 2005 : findings from the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS)
Northern Territory drug trends; E-Journals; PublicationNT; NDARC technical report ; no. 243
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Drug abuse -- Northern Territory -- Statistics -- Periodicals; Drug abuse -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Drug abuse surveys -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales
NDARC technical report ; no. 243
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2 2.0 METHOD The methodology for the IDRS was trialled during 1996 and 1997, initially in Sydney and then in other states (Hando et al, 1998). The methodology (described in the following section) was partially used in every state and territory in 1999, and since 2000 has been fully applied in each state and territory on an annual basis. The IDRS uses three types of data, which are described below. 2.1 Survey of injecting drug users (IDU) Face-to-face structured interviews are conducted in the capital city of each state and territory, with a minimum of 100 people, who regularly inject drugs. To participate in the study people must have injected drugs at least once a month during the past six months, and have lived in the relevant capital city for at least the past twelve months. Regular injecting drug users are selected for their first-hand knowledge and ability to comment on the price, purity, availability and use of illicit drugs in the city in which they live. This group is treated as a sentinel group likely to reflect emerging trends. As in previous years, each state and territory used a standardised interview schedule. The schedule closely followed the one used in previous years, requesting information about the interviewees demographics and drug use, and about the price, purity and availability of the four main categories of drugs under investigation. Questions were also asked about treatment, crime, risk behaviours and health. Overall ethical approval for the study was granted by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of New South Wales, and jurisdictionally for the NT by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the NT DHCS and Menzies School of Health Research. In the NT, interviews were conducted in Darwin and Palmerston during June 2005 with 107 people meeting the criteria mentioned above. Participants were recruited through fliers posted at the Needle and Syringe Programs (NSP), at the sexual health clinic, and through word of mouth. The interviews were conducted by four trained interviewers, one of whom had conducted IDU interviews for the past three years. Interviews were conducted at the Darwin and Palmerston NSPs. The IDU who met the inclusion criteria were given an information sheet that described the content of the interview. It was explained that the information they provided was entirely confidential and that they were free to withdraw from the survey without prejudice or to decline to answer any questions they chose. Interviews generally lasted about 60 minutes and participants were reimbursed $30 for their time. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS for Windows Version 14.1 (SPSS Inc.). 2.2 Survey of key experts (KE) The second component of the IDRS involves semi-structured interviews with thirty or more key experts, selected because their work brings them into regular contact with illicit drug users. Criteria for inclusion in this part of the study are at least weekly contact with illicit drug users in the past six months or contact with a minimum of 10 illicit drug users during the same period.
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