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October 2019 – Australia: Stable overall NPS use in 2019 while use of NPS with opioid effects increase

SIDNEY, Australia – October 2019: IDRS released a new report on Australian drug trends in 2019, highlighting that the use of NPS remained low and stable over the period of monitoring, with one in ten respondents (11 per cent – the sample consisted of 902 respondents in total) reporting recent use in the past 6 months in 2019. However, 2 per cent of all respondents reported the use of NPS that mimic the effects of opioids, a significant increase over 2018. Moreover, one in three (32 per cent) respondents used non-prescribed benzodiazepines, a group of substances, which can pose a significant health risk if used non-medically, particularly in combination with opioids. Benzodiazepine-types accounted for example for almost all NPS-related deaths in Scotland in 2018 (NHS, 2019).

Table: Past six month use of new psychoactive substances in Australia, 2013-2019

Note: Values suppressed due to small cell size (n≤5 but not 0). / denotes that this item was not asked in these years. # In 2017 respondents were asked about use of ‘new drugs that mimic the effects of ecstasy or psychedelic drugs’. *<0.050; **p<0.010; ***p<0.001 for 2018 versus 2019.

Source: Peacock et al., 2019.


For more information please see:
Peacock, A. et al., 2019. Australian Drug Trends 2019: Key Findings from the National Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) Interviews. Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.
National Records of Scotland, 2019. Drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2018.
UNODC, 2017. Non-medical use of benzodiazepines: a growing threat to public health? Global SMART Update, Vol. 18.
UNODC Opioid Strategy and United Nations Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs
UNODC, 2019. Understanding the global opioid crisis. Global Smart Update, Vol. 21.

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