The Know collates public health alerts and warnings issued by Australian states and territories since January 2022, to ensure they are available nationally. 

Why are alerts issued?

Each state or territory in Australia issues alerts when there is a drug of concern circulating in the community. Alerts are issued when people taking the drug are likely to have an adverse health outcome. 

A drug might be of concern for a number of reasons, including: 

  • If it is adulterated with an additional substance
  • If it is misrepresented as another drug when sold 
  • If it has a variable or high potency 
  • If it’s a new drug, or a new formulation of an existing drug.

How are alerts issued?

Generally, when an alert is published, the following things have happened: 

  • Information about a drug is gathered (for example, from a patient at a hospital or via drug checking)
  • A drug of concern is identified as a risk to the health of members of the public 
  • Experts are consulted to determine what action should be taken to reduce the risk
  • The experts agree to issue an alert to the general public. 

Different agencies issue alerts in each state or territory.