Methamphetamine

Understanding and describing Australian illicit drug markets

This study has provided a detailed description of the drug purchase and drug use patterns of a cohort of people who inject drugs, and an understanding of changes that occurred between 2009 and 2014. During this period, heroin, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines and other opioids were typically purchased between 10am and 2pm with very little search time, were used almost immediately following their acquisition, and sharing a purchase or pooling money with a partner or friend was common, as were larger (>$100) purchases. Reported drug purchases and drug use both occurred more frequently in private homes than public settings, and this became increasingly so over time. Although the primary drug of the cohort remained heroin, two trends in drug use were observed: a transition from heroin to cannabis use, consistent with some of the cohort ‘maturing out’; and among existing methamphetamine users, a transition from powder to crystal methamphetamine use and increased methamphetamine consumption, corresponding with increased availability of the crystal form and a dramatic decrease in purity-adjusted price.

Comparative rates of violent crime amongst methamphetamine and opioid users: Victimisation and offending

Plain English summary and implications for police prepared by Roger Nicholas.

The Sydney methamphetamine market: Patterns of supply, use, personal harms and social consequences

Plain English summary and implications for police prepared by Roger Nicholas.

The methamphetamine situation in Australia: A review of routine data sources

Plain English summary and implications for police prepared by Roger Nicholas.

Evaluating drug law enforcement interventions directed towards methamphetamine in Australia

This study, conducted in 2008 and 2009, sought to provide a rich description of the Australian methamphetamine supply chains and to conduct an economic evaluation of four law enforcement interventions directed at different levels of the methamphetamine market.

Reducing the methamphetamine problem in Australia: Evaluating innovative partnerships between police, pharmacies and other third parties

Illicit methamphetamine use is a continuing, significant problem, with prevalence rates In Australia among the highest in the world. Australian policy responses have been focused on supply reduction strategies, and especially law enforcement. While traditional policing of drug problems relies mostly on reactive measures, innovative approaches involving third parties are increasingly popular. Third party policing partnerships engage non-police to help develop and coordinate crime prevention strategies. In Australia, Project STOP has been developed by police, pharmacists and other partners to reduce the diversion of legal pseudoephedrine products into illicit methamphetamine production. The aim of this study was to evaluate this partnership in two different States, which have adopted different approaches to its implementation. The importance of both a supportive regulatory framework and organisational support for innovative approaches to drug control are discussed, and a best practice framework is suggested.

Comparative rates of violent crime amongst methamphetamine and opioid users: Victimisation and offending

There have been marked changes in methamphetamine use over the past decade as more potent forms of the drug have become increasingly available, particularly crystalline methamphetamine. A major concern of stronger potency methamphetamine is the increased potential for harm, such as psychotic symptoms and violent behaviour. Little is currently known about what effects methamphetamine use has on violent behaviour.

The Sydney methamphetamine market: Patterns of supply, use, personal harms and social consequences

The methamphetamine market in Australia has undergone radical changes since the late 1990s with the emergence of new more pure forms of base and ice. The current research was undertaken to fulfil a need to understand the impact of base and ice on the methamphetamine market, and the health and social consequences associated with these more pure forms of methamphetamine. The specific objectives of the research were to: i) clarify the relationship between the physical forms of methamphetamine and the terminology used to describe these different forms of the drug; ii) estimate the demand for the potent forms of base and ice methamphetamine; iii) document the nature of methamphetamine supply; iv) describe the characteristics of methamphetamine users, methamphetamine use patterns and the social and health problems associated with methamphetamine use; v) examine the relationship between methamphetamine use and criminal activity; vi) describe and estimate the prevalence of psychiatric sequelae associated with methamphetamine (i.e. psychosis and aggressive or violent behaviour); vii) examine the occupational health and safety implications of the above psychiatric sequelae for frontline workers (i.e. police, ambulance officers and emergency department staff); and to viii) determine the utility of the various methodologies employed in the project for investigating the methamphetamine market. The research used a range of different methods to understand the nature of the methamphetamine market in Sydney, including interviews with users, dealers, frontline workers, hospital records and forensic data.

The methamphetamine situation in Australia: A review of routine data sources

This report documents what is known about the methamphetamine situation in Australia through an analysis of routinely collected data sources. Information relating to methamphetamine is summarised for the following issues: prevalence of use among the general and student population; use patterns among party drug users, injecting drug users and offenders; treatment demand; hospital service utilisation for mental and behavioural problems due to stimulants (including psychosis); mortality due to poisoning or overdose; arrest and seizure data for domestic arrests and seizures, domestic clandestine laboratory seizures and import seizures; purity for domestic seizures; and street level prices and availability among party drug users and injecting drug users. The analysis shows that currently 'amphetamines' (predominantly methamphetamine) are the second most commonly used illicit drug type after cannabis, with 9% of Australians having ever tried these drugs. Methamphetamine use and supply has increased in Australia from around 1998-1999, and this increase has co occurred with an increase in related problems such as stimulant induced psychosis.