Gaining accurate information on illicit drug use and policing in real-world settings is a challenge. This study examines the utility of a smartphone app (‘Going Out In Sydney’) to prospectively follow up illicit drug use and policing encounters at music festivals and licensed entertainment precincts in Sydney, Australia. In all, 38 regular festival and licensed entertainment venue attendees used the app to log nights out over a 3-month period, including (1) where they went (eg, festival, nightclub), (2) the prevalence of illicit drug use, and (3) the incidence and nature of police encounters. A survey and interview were then conducted about the utility of the app. The app enabled rich data collection (n = 353 entries) about illicit drug use and policing at both target settings. Follow-up surveys indicated that most participants were extremely satisfied with the ease of use of the app and privacy afforded, and compared with other data collection modes, such as paper-based logs and online surveys, rated the app the most desirable method of data collection. This suggests smartphone apps may be a viable option for future studies on illicit drug use and policing of drugs.
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- drug use
- Mobile app