Survey shows drug users experimenting more

An annual drug study has shown users are more likely to try different substances as the supply of methamphetamine drops.

The 2011 Illicit Drug Monitoring System study, by researchers at the Shore and Whariki Research Centre at Massey University, showed the number of drug users who had tried a new drug almost doubled to 40 per cent from 2009 to 2011.

Drugs reportedly most frequently used for the first time in 2011 included ecstasy, oxycodone (a medical opioid), anti-depressants, Ritalin and Kronic.

The way users got their fix was changing too.

Nearly a third of those spoken to had used someone else's prescription to illegally access pharmaceuticals last year, a figure which had more than trebled since 2008.

Methamphetamine remained a problem associated with serious harm to users and others but there was evidence enforcement efforts were affecting the market, with the price of a gram of P increasing steadily from $610 a gram in 2006 to $815 in 2011.

Lead researcher Chris Wilkins and his team interviewed 372 illegal drug users from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch late last year about trends in the use, availability, price and potency of key illegal drug types and about any new drugs they had encountered in the previous six months.

Fairfax Media