In this paper, we introduce the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) Drug Market Indicator Framework. We use the framework to examine Australian trends in methamphetamine supply, demand and related harms between 2013 and 2019 to provide a baseline for measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were consistent increases in the prevalence, frequency and quantity of methamphetamine use, and corresponding increases in dependence, overdose and methamphetamine-related criminal offending. A brief but substantial decrease in methamphetamine availability occurred during 2017. Despite this, the methamphetamine market quickly recovered and continued to strengthen into 2019.
This paper highlights the importance of monitoring indicators relating to drug supply, demand and harm to understand the dynamics of illicit drug markets during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.