ARC Discovery funding for NDRI Melbourne-led research project

A new project investigating the social and criminal justice impacts of injecting drug use and methamphetamine smoking has received Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project funding.

People who inject drugs (PWID) and people who smoke methamphetamine occupy a precarious position in Australian society. Serious social, health and economic consequences are associated with their drug use, such as imprisonment, homelessness, and high morbidity and mortality.

Injection drug use (IDU) and methamphetamine smoking are associated with many of the illicit drug-related harms and associated costs in Australia.

This new study, led by NDRI Melbourne researchers with collaborators from the Kirby Institute, Monash University and the University of Bristol, will characterise the trajectories of participants through social services (e.g., social housing) and criminal justice systems to provide the first comprehensive account of social and criminal justice impacts of IDU and methamphetamine use in Australia. It will determine the:

  • incidence of key outcomes such as arrest, imprisonment, social housing utilisation and changes to the government benefits participants receive;
  • impacts of law enforcement and criminal justice intervention on drug use trajectories and drug-related harm; and
  • impacts of key interventions, policies and behaviours on criminal justice outcomes.

“We will also conduct a nested qualitative sub-study of participants identified through quantitative data to determine circumstances surrounding major events, such as imprisonment, to better understand and respond to the social, personal and structural drivers of these events and their relationships to drug use patterns and harms,” says NDRI Melbourne Head Professor Paul Dietze.

“At a time when moves to fundamentally shift drug policy in Australia are in play, our work will fill major knowledge gaps related to these questions and provide new evidence to inform these debates.”

Posted on: 12 Jan 2022

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