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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80 time, key experts and IDU continue to rate morphine as easy or very easy to obtain illicitly. Some KE have suggested that there has been an increase in the supply of morphine from interstate and that this compensates for the reduced availability from local suppliers, but this cannot be confirmed. Key experts and other commentators have expressed a concern that the S8 controls may lead IDU to substitute other drugs, particularly other opioids or benzodiazepines, for their morphine use. While the IDRS does not allow conclusions about individual behaviour, it does appear that the recent use and injection of heroin and buprenorphine among the IDU has increased over the past three years, and that of methadone and benzodiazepines has increased over the last five years. It is also the case that the proportions of the IDU reporting recent morphine use and recent injection are both at their lowest since the year 2000. These patterns do not conclusively demonstrate substitution, but they do suggest changes in market presence and are consistent with substitution. 11.9 Associated harms Change can be seen in some aspects of the harms associated with injecting drug use. HCV antibody presence in the NSP annual survey (a population likely to have similar characteristics to the IDU sample) declined in the most recent year where data are available, from 62% in 2002 to 29% in 2003. High proportions of the IDU sample continue to inject in what may be seen as the relatively less harmful environment of private homes, with only small proportions injecting in public places. The proportion of the IDU sharing used needles has increased three years in a row, and the proportion borrowing a used needle has increased this year compared to the last three years. Proportions experiencing injection-related problems in the prior month have decreased from 78% to 63%, with the most common problem being scarring/bruising, closely followed by difficulty injecting. This year, recent benzodiazepine injectors, rather than recent morphine injectors, were more likely to report injection-related problems. For the first time, this year IDU were asked about driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Just under half the sample reported drug driving and this was most commonly under the influence of morphine, cannabis and speed. Self-reported criminal activity in the IDU shows decreases in all categories except an increase in violent crime compared to 2004. The number of IDU arrested also decreased from 27% to 18%. Most IDU thought that police activity had remained stable or increased, but again this had not made scoring drugs more difficult for the bulk of users.
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