Publications & Reports

Trends in methamphetamine use, markets and harms in Australia, 2003-2019.

Man N, Sisson SA, McKetin R, Chrzanowska A, Bruno R, Dietze PM, Price O, Degenhardt L, Gibbs D, Salom C, Peacock A
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia.


INTRODUCTION: To describe trends in methamphetamine use, markets and harms in Australia from 2003 to 2019. METHODS: Data comprised patterns of use and price from sentinel samples of people who inject drugs and who use MDMA/other illicit stimulants and population-level amphetamine-related police seizures, arrests, hospitalisations, treatment episodes and deaths from approximately 2003 to 2019. Bayesian autoregressive time-series models were analysed for: no change; constant rate of change; and change over time differing in rate after one to three changepoints. Related indicators were analysed post hoc with identical changepoints. RESULTS: The percentage of people who inject drugs reporting weekly use increased from 2010 to 2013 onwards, while use among samples of people who regularly use ecstasy and other illicit stimulants decreased. Seizures and arrests rose steeply from around 2009/10 to 2014/15 and subsequently plateaued. Price increased ($15.9 [95% credible interval, CrI $9.9, $28.9] per point of crystal per year) from around 2009 to 2011, plateauing and then declining from around 2017. Hospitalisation rates increased steeply from around 2009/10 until 2015/16, with a small subsequent decline. Treatment also increased (19.8 episodes [95% CrI 13.2, 27.6] with amphetamines as the principal drug of concern per 100 000 persons per year) from 2010/11 onwards. Deaths involving amphetamines increased (0.285 per 100 000 persons per year) from 2012 until 2016. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that problematic methamphetamine use and harms escalated from 2010 to 2012 in Australia, with continued demand and a sustained market for methamphetamine.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Drug and Alcohol Review
  • Published: 23/05/2022
  • Volume: Epub ahead of print