IDRS: Illicit Drug Reporting System

The IDRS study provides nationally comparable data with respect to patterns of illicit drug use and related harms, and provides a basis for better informing future policy and research initiatives.

The 2020 survey was adapted to collect important data on people’s experiences during COVID-19. Participants were asked about changes in their use of illicit drugs, changes in behaviours while obtaining drugs, and health precautions undertaken to prevent COVID-19 infection while using or obtaining drugs. A bulletin with preliminary finding will be published will be published late 2020.

The 2019 IDRS Infographics are available here, and the 2019 Report is available here.

Some recent examples of how IDRS data has been used to inform health, law enforcement and community sector responses to illicit drug use include:

2003: Research into the course and consequences of the Victorian heroin shortage

2003: In review of the Victorian Drug Treatment Service System

2008: In research into the use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and early intervention to reduce methamphetamine-related harms

2010: Research into the self-reported wellbeing of PWID

2012: Research examining the use of alprazolam among PWID in Melbourne

2013: Research into the relationship between age and risky injecting behaviours among PWID in Australia

2014: Research exploring the prevalence and correlates of quetiapine use among a national sample of PWID

2014: Policy development and review activities and inquiries conducted by the Victorian Government (Law Reform Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, 2014)

2015: Research examining Victorian trends in methamphetamine use (Lim, Cogger, Quinn, Hellard, & Dietze, 2015).

2016: An evaluation of measures of needle and syringe program coverage (McCormack et al.,)

2017: Research looking at trends in illicit drug use and driving - is roadside drug testing a deterrent?

2020: Blood donation amongst people who inject drugs in Australia: research supporting policy change.

Recent publications


  • Motivations for new psychoactive substance use among regular psychostimulant users in Australia (Sutherland R, Bruno R, Peacock A, Lenton S, Matthews A, Salom C, et al.)

  • New psychoactive substances: Purchasing and supply patterns in Australia. (Sutherland R, Bruno R, Peacock A, Dietze P, Breen C, Burns L, et al).

  • Trends in reports of driving following illicit drug consumption among regular drug users in Australia, 2007-2013: Has random roadside drug testing had a deterrent effect? (Horyniak D, Dietze P, Lenton S, Alati R, Bruno R, Matthews A, et al).


  • Are there differences in individual-level needle and syringe coverage across Australian jurisdictions related to program policy? A preliminary analysis (Hill P, O'Keefe D, Dietze PM).

  • Knowledge of naloxone and take-home naloxone programs among a sample of people who inject drugs in Australia: Variations across capital cities (Dietze PM, Stare M, Cogger S, Nambiar D, Olsen A, Burns L, et al).

  • Does training people to administer take-home naloxone increase their knowledge? Evidence from Australian programs (Dietze PM, Draper B, Olsen A, Chronister KJ, van Beek I, Lintzeris N, et al).

  • Frequent experience of discrimination among people who inject drugs: Links with health and wellbeing (Couto ECC, Salom CL, Dietze P, Lenton S, Burns L, Alati R).

  • Repeat participation in annual cross-sectional surveys of drug users and its implications for analysis (Agius PA, Aitken CK, Breen C, Dietze PM).

2020: - Blood donation amongst people who inject drugs in Australia: research supporting policy change (Quinn B, Pearson R, Cutts J, Seed C, Scott N, Hoad V, et al.)

  • Social domains of discrimination against people who inject drugs: Links with health and wellbeing (Couto ECC, Salom C, Parsell C, Dietze P, Burns L, Alati R)

  • Profile and correlates of injecting-related injuries and diseases among people who inject drugs in Australia Drug Alcohol Depend. (Colledge S, Larney S, Bruno R, Gibbs D, Degenhardt L, Yuen WS, et al.)

You can find links to these articles and more on the Burnet publications page.




The national IDRS is coordinated by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney

Thanks to the below health services who assist with participant recruitment each year:

  • Peninsular Health (SHARPS), Frankston

  • Monash Health Drug and Alcohol Service (SEADS), Dandenong

  • ACCESS Health, St Kilda

  • Innerspace, Collingwood

  • Health Works, Footscray

  • North Richmond Community Health, Richmond

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Professor Paul Dietze

Co-Program Director, Disease Elimination