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Curtin University
National Drug Research Institute

Preventing Harmful Drug Use In Australia

Research priority:

Social costs of drugs and alcohol

Methamphetamine is a key drug of concern in Australia, especially in its crystalline form ‘ice’. Although some evidence indicates that prevalence of methamphetamine use appears to have remained relatively stable, there is evidence of changes in the type and frequency of use.

Despite increasing evidence of harm, there has so far been limited analysis of the data to assess the social and economic costs of methamphetamine use. These costs might include health service use (both drug specialist and generalist – e.g. Emergency Department admissions), costs of methamphetamine related crime, and costs arising from harms associated with drug production and law enforcement. To inform and evaluate effective drug policy, we need to establish a method to identify the social and economic costs of drugs including methamphetamine. Given current priorities, the priority area would initially focus on methamphetamine use and then be applied to other drugs that arise as a concern in the future.