Estimated Prevalence of Illicit Drug Use Among Youth in Australia

"Analgesics: Analgesics were the most commonly used substance (licit or illicit) with 95% of students aged 12 to 17 years having used an analgesic at some time in their lives. Females were more likely than males to use analgesics in all recency periods with for example 48% of females using analgesics in the week prior to the survey compared to 34% of males. The main reason for analgesic use was to help ease the pain associated with a headache/migraine (52%). For the majority of students (90%) parents were the main source of analgesics.
"The proportion of students using analgesics in 2014 in their lifetime was lower than the proportion found in 2011, but not 2008. There was no change in the proportion using these substances in the month and week before the survey between 2008 and 2014 or between 2011 and 2014.
"Tranquilisers: Of all students, 18% had used tranquilisers other than for medical reasons at some time in their lives. The proportion of students ever using tranquilisers increased with age. However, only three per cent of all students reported use in the past week. While the proportion of all students using tranquilisers in their lifetime had not changed between 2008 and 2014, the proportion reporting use in the past week in 2014 (3%) was significantly greater than in 2008 (2%) and 2011 (2%).
"Cannabis: Cannabis was the most commonly used illicit substance with 16% of students aged between 12 and 17 years ever using cannabis and seven per cent using it in the month before the survey. The proportion of students using cannabis increased with age. The most common method of using cannabis was smoking it as a bong with 62% of males and 54% of females who had used cannabis in the past year reporting this method of use. There were no significant differences in the proportion of students using cannabis in the past week, past month or lifetime between 2008 and 2014 or between 2011 and 2014.
"Inhalants: Use of inhalants was negatively associated with age, with lifetime use decreasing from 19% of 12-year-olds to 10% of 17-year-olds. Six per cent of all students had used inhalants in the month before the survey. Lifetime use of inhalants among younger and older students decreased between 2008 and 2014), but not between 2011 and 2014. While past month use decreased significant between 2008 and 2014 in the younger age group, this trend was not found in the older age group."


White, Victoria and Williams, Tahlia, "Australian secondary school students’ use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014" (Oct. 2016), Prepared for the Drug Strategy Branch, Australian Government Department of Health, by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer at The Cancer Council Victoria, pp. 3-4.