Heroin Shortages: The Australian Experience
Australian illicit drug markets experienced a surge in availability of heroin in the late 1990’s leading to a glut in the market. This over abundance of heroin lead to a dramatic decrease in prices and an increase in prevalence of use. The glut ended towards the end of 2000. resulting in a rectification of the heroin market to pre-glut prices and availability.
Many commentators wrongfully identified this phenomena as a ‘heroin drought’ when in reality the change in availability was really a normalisation of the heroin market to pre – glut prices and availability.
Regardless of the lessons in black market economics, the fluctuations in the heroin market have undoubtedly lead to drug related harms.
A glut of heroin:
- contributed to a significantly higher occurrence of overdose (At one point a local tabloid was regularly reporting the number of fatal heroin overdoses right next to the number road accident fatalities).
- lead to the development of aggressive street markets in particular metropolitan areas resulting in harms to community.
Rectification of the market:
- Is attributed as a cause for the increase in the injection of alternatives that poses significant risk to vein health such as Temazepam.
The links below are a selection of articles that capture the Australian experience of fluctuations in the Australian heroin market.