BACKGROUND: Understanding the characteristics of drug users in the night-time economy (NTE), and whether particular drugs are associated with risky practices and experience of harm, is necessary to inform targeted policy responses in this context. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the correlates of drugs used in the Australian NTE relating to demographics, alcohol use, and experience of harm. METHODS: Patrons were interviewed in the NTE of five Australian cities in 2012-2013 (n = 7,028; 61.9% male, median age 22 years). A custom designed survey gathered demographic data, alcohol, and substance use on the current night, and experience of harm in/around licensed venues in the past 3 months. Multivariate logistic regression analyses examined the correlates of drug use. RESULTS: Ecstasy was most commonly reported (4.0%), followed by cannabis (2.9%), methamphetamine (2.6%), and cocaine (1.6%). Ecstasy users were more likely to be younger and report energy drink consumption. Cannabis users were more likely to be male, and to have been involved in intoxication-related accidents/injuries and sexual aggression in/around licensed venues in the past 3 months. Methamphetamine users were more likely to have been interviewed later, and to have engaged in pre-drinking. Cocaine users were more likely to be male, aged 21 years or more, have a blood alcohol concentration of greater than 0.10%, and to have been involved in intoxication-related accidents/injuries in the past three months. CONCLUSIONS/IMPORTANCE: We identified significant differences between types of drug users and the harms they experience, underscoring the need to develop innovative harm reduction policies in the NTE rather than blanket population-based approaches.
Link to publisher’s web site