About our project

The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions has had unparalleled impacts on our lives: closure of borders, grounding of international air traffic, physical and social isolation to name but a few. This project will provide a unique look at the impacts on illicit drug purchasing, trafficking and supply in Australia, including any changes in:

  • The availability of illicit drugs
  • Drug price and purity
  • The types of drugs purchased and sold at different market levels
  • The mechanisms of purchase, production and sale

It is funded through a Flinders University COVID-19 grant scheme.

Project design

The project involves two parts. In part 1 we will conduct an anonymous national online survey on experiences of purchasing and/or supplying illicit drugs in the lead up to and during COVID-19 related restrictions. This will explore changes in the price paid, types of products purchased or supplied etc and any differences in impacts across Australian states/territories and across time (e.g. March/April 2020 vs May/June 2020). In part 2 we will conduct interviews via telephone or VoIP with people who have supplied illicit drugs to explore to what extent and in what ways the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions has affected the Australian drug market and the operations of people who supply drugs.

To learn more or to take part go to Get Involved.


This project will provide one of the first studies internationally to look at how the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying restrictions is impacting drug supply and trafficking, taking into account both immediate and longer term impacts. This study will fill key gaps in knowledge in the specific Australian context. Given Australia has one of the highest rates of illicit drug use and supply but much of Australia’s drug trade is reliant upon overseas imports there remain pressing questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact illicit drug trafficking and supply to and within Australia. This project will also add to the global body of work that is comparing pandemic impacts on drug supply in different parts of the world and any specific differences in Australia.

This study has been approved by the Flinders University Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee (Project Number HEG1851-1).