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NT drug trends 2005 : findings from the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS)



NT drug trends 2005 : findings from the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS)


Northern Territory drug trends; E-Journals; PublicationNT; NDARC technical report ; no. 243




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.






Drug abuse -- Northern Territory -- Statistics -- Periodicals; Drug abuse -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Drug abuse surveys -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals

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

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NDARC technical report ; no. 243



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77 11.0 DISCUSSION The illicit drug market in Darwin has, by and large, remained stable. Cannabis, morphine and amphetamines are the most widely used illicit drugs, and continue to be easily available. The sharing of needles amongst IDU remains low but increasing, and drug dealing is the main offence associated with illicit drug use. 11.1 Heroin The number of IDU able to report on price, purity and availability of heroin in the NT was similar to last year. The median price of a gram of heroin in the NT was $500 and the median price of a cap was $80, and both of these prices have increased compared to last year ($400 and $53 respectively). The price of heroin in the NT was reported to be stable or increasing and the bulk of recent users reported the purity as low. Heroin may be less available, with more respondents rating it as difficult and 21% rating it as very difficult to obtain (compared to 0% in 2004). The proportion of the IDU sample who had used heroin in the six months prior to interview has decreased (34% to 24%) compared to 2004, but is still higher than in previous years; the median number of days used has also decreased. However, the current sample produced the highest proportion of daily users and almost a third (31%) of recent heroin users used it at least fortnightly. As in previous years, more IDU nominated heroin as their drug of choice than any other drug. However, most IDU who prefer heroin had injected morphine most often in the previous month and attributed this to poor availability of heroin in the NT. 11.2 Methamphetamine This year IDU reported some differences compared to previous years. Prices of various quantities of all forms have fluctuated over the last three years, the exceptions being the point prices of speed and base, which have remained stable, and the price of crystal, which has increased. Speed and base are still rated as easy to obtain by the majority of recent users, although compared to 2004 the proportions of recent users rating each form as difficult or very difficult to obtain have increased. Speed and base continue to be rated as easier to obtain than crystal. One justicebased KE reported that there was less methamphetamine manufactured locally and more trafficked from south compared to previous years. Recent crystal use has declined over the last three years; however, it is still more commonly used than base, recent use of which has also declined. In contrast, speed use has increased over the same period. This suggests that the increased availability and recent use of crystal methamphetamine, seen in the IDRS over the years leading up to 2003, has reversed somewhat this year. Speed remains the third most common recently used illicit drug by the IDU after cannabis and morphine. Any form of methamphetamine had the second highest proportions for: drug of choice, drug injected most often in the last month, and most recent drug injected. It was the most common first drug injected. While the number and weight of amphetamine-type substance (ATS) seizures have increased since 2001/02, the number of ATS-related arrests have remained stable in the same time period.

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