This paper presents an analysis of retrospective self-reports from methamphetamine users (police detainees) on the impact that periods of reduced methamphetamine supply had on reported consumption of methamphetamine, alcohol and other illicit drugs.
Changes in illicit drug availability have been shown to impact users’ alcohol and other drug consumption. In late 2000 and early 2001, Australia experienced a sudden and dramatic reduction in the supply of heroin which has continued to the present date. This shortage has been attributed to, at least in part, supply-side reduction strategies undertaken by law enforcement. However, the benefits associated with this shortage were to some degree offset by the unintended consequence of displacement in illicit drug use, reflected in an increase in the use of other drugs, such as cocaine. Research into the impact of the heroin shortage on illicit drug users has resulted in an awareness of the need to understand potential unintended outcomes of supply-side drug law enforcement strategies.