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Reflections on the development and implementation of an early warning system for ecstasy and related drug markets in Australia.

Kinner SA, Degenhardt L

  • Journal Drug and alcohol review

  • Published 10 Jan 2007

  • Volume 25

  • ISSUE 5

  • Pagination 445-9

  • DOI 10.1080/09595230600876705


Regular and systematic monitoring of drug markets provides the basis for evidence-based policy. In Australia, trends in ecstasy and related drug (ERD) markets have been monitored in selected jurisdictions since 2000 and nationally since 2003, by the Party Drugs Initiative (PDI). The PDI maximises the validity of conclusions by triangulating information from (a) interviews with regular ecstasy users (REU), (b) interviews with key experts and (c) indicator data. There is currently no other system in Australia for monitoring these markets systematically; however, the value of the PDI has been constrained by the quality of available data. Difficulties in recruiting and interviewing appropriate consumers (REU) and key experts have been experienced, but largely overcome. Limitations of available indicator data from both health and law enforcement continue to present challenges and there remains considerable scope for enhancing existing routine data collection systems, to facilitate monitoring of ERD markets. With an expanding market for ecstasy and related drugs in Australia, and in the context of indicator data that continue to be limited in scope and detail, there is a strong argument for the continued collection of annual, comparable data from a sentinel group of REU, such as those recruited for the PDI.