The supply of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use in Australia

May 2018

Ms Shann Hulme
Dr Suzanne Nielsen
Dr Caitlin Hughes

Project description: 

This is the PhD project of Ms Shann Hulme.

National and international evidence indicates that the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs is increasing, along with the associated health, social and economic harms.

The process of obtaining pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use involves diversion, whereby pharmaceuticals are channelled from legal sources to the illicit marketplace. Diversion is believed to occur through a number of mechanisms such as sharing between family and friends, theft, overprescribing by health practitioners, internet sales, and doctor or pharmacy shopping.

Research to date has largely focused on the demand for pharmaceutical drugs, including prevalence of misuse, motivations for use, and the associated harms. Little research has examined the supply of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use, particularly in the Australian context.

The aim of this research is to gain a greater understanding of the diversion of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical use from the supply perspective. An understanding of the source and access points of pharmaceutical drugs that are used non-medically, as well as the processes and people involved in diversion is critical for informing the development of effective prevention, treatment and law enforcement interventions to address it.

For full details of this project please visit the NDARC website.