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Significant changes include:

  • The per cent reporting any use of cocaine in the past six months increased significantly from 68 per cent in 2020 to 80 per cent in 2021, the highest per cent observed since monitoring began, although frequency of use remains low.
  • The per cent reporting any use of ecstasy capsules in the past six months declined significantly in 2021 (from 83 per cent in 2020 to 70 per cent in 2021), as did the per cent reporting use of ecstasy pills (53 per cent in 2020 to 42 per cent in 2021) and ecstasy powder (35 per cent in 202 to 26 per cent in 2021). The price of all forms of ecstasy significantly increased in 2021, and there were significant declines in the perceived purity and availability of ecstasy capsules and crystal, suggesting a disruption to the MDMA market compared to 2020.
  • The per cent reporting use of ketamine in the past six months significantly increased from 43 per cent in 2020 to 52 per cent in 2021, representing the largest per cent reporting recent use since monitoring began. Frequency of use, however, remained low and stable at a median of three days in the past six months.
  • Reported recent use of non-prescribed pharmaceutical stimulants significantly increased from 39 per cent in 2020 to 46 per cent in 2021, as did the per cent reporting any recent hallucinogenic mushroom use (30 per cent in 2020 to 45 per cent in 2021), although frequency of use remained low for both.
  • Almost three-fifths (58 per cent) of the national sample reported any e-cigarette use in the six months preceding interview, a significant increase from 39 per cent in 2020. Frequency of use also increased, from a median of 7 days in 2020 to 30 days in 2021

(Dalgarno Institute Comment: It is interesting to note that even in this snapshot of the data that, from where we sit, the substances that have received ‘positive’ press, or little attention in the marketplace have increased in use. However, the substances that have had some negative focus, and restrictions placed on use ‘opportunities’, due to the pandemic (i.e. ecstasy at non-existent music festivals) have declined. Of course, interrogating the data requires more than an anecdotal swipe, but it remains an observational reality, none-the-less. Permission models continue to drive demand and extinction focused vehicles, when given even part sway, can shift demand down)

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