The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) is a national drug monitoring system intended to identify emerging trends of local and national concern in illicit drug markets, and form part of Drug Trends

Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed to treat psychological distress, in particular anxiety and panic disorders, and insomnia. Research has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to elevated psychological distress and in some countries an increase in the prescription of benzodiazepines. Less is known about the changes in the use of non-prescribed benzodiazepines throughout the pandemic and whether there has been any change of the characteristics of people using these studies. 

We used data from a sample of people who regularly inject illicit drugs in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, to examine: 

i) Trends in the prescribed and non-prescribed benzodiazepine use from 2007-2021
ii) Characteristics associated with non-prescribed benzodiazepine use in 2019 (‘pre COVID’), 2020 (during the first wave of COVID) and 2021 (after the majority of the restrictions were lifted).



Julia Uporova and Rachel Sutherland
Date Commenced
31 Mar 2022
Resource Type
Drug Trends Bulletins