"Concerns about laws and policy measures that may inadvertently affect youth drug use merit careful consideration. Our study does not show evidence of a clear relationship between legalization of marijuana for medical purposes and youth drug use for any age group, which may provide some reassurance to policymakers who wish to balance compassion for individuals who have been unable to find relief from conventional medical therapies with the safety and well-being of youth.
"Cigarette smoking has been shown in other studies to act as a 'gateway' to cannabis use and further risk taking behaviours. This study aims to establish the prevalence of cigarette smoking and cannabis use in Irish teenagers, to quantify the strength and significance of the association of cigarette smoking and cannabis use and other high risk behaviours and to examine whether the above associations are independent of social networking (O'Cathail, et al. 2011).
"Marijuana, the most widely used of the illicit drugs, did not show any significant change in annual prevalence this year in any of the three grades, nor in the three grades combined. After rising for several years, the annual prevalence of marijuana has more or less leveled out since about 2010.
"During the 1990s, the annual prevalence of marijuana use tripled among 8th graders (from 6% in 1991 to 18% in 1996), more than doubled among 10th graders (from 15% in 1992 to 35% in 1997), and nearly doubled among 12th graders (from 22% in 1992 to 39% in 1997). Among college students, however, the increase in marijuana use was much more gradual, presumably due to a generational replacement effect. Annual prevalence of use rose by about one third, from 27% in 1991 to 36% in 1998.
Prevalence of Alcohol Use Among Young People in Australia: "Alcohol use becomes more common with increasing age with 76% of 17-year-olds having consumed alcohol in the year preceding the survey, compared to 19% of 12-year-olds.
"Only 32% of all students reported never consuming alcohol.
Prevalence of Tobacco Use Among Young People in Australia: "In 2014, 81% of all secondary students in Australia had no experience with smoking. While the proportion of students who had never smoked decreased with age, 61% of 17-year-olds had still never smoked.
"Around three per cent of all students had smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, which peaked at eight per cent for 17-year-olds.
"The proportion of students smoking in the previous four weeks (past-month smokers) increased from one per cent of 12-year-olds to 17% of 17-year-olds.
"The proportion of students who were current smokers in 2014 increased from one per cent of 12-year-olds to 12% of 17-year-olds.
Prevalence of Cannabis Use Among Youth in Australia: "Cannabis was the illicit substance most commonly used by secondary school students and prevalence was highest in the older age groups. Sixteen per cent of secondary students surveyed indicated they had used cannabis at some time in their lives with seven per cent using it in the past month and four per cent using it in the past week.
"In all recency periods the proportion of students using cannabis increased significantly with age (p<0.01).
Prevalence of Non-Medical Tranquilizer Use Among Young People in Australia: "Around 17% of students had used tranquilisers other than for medical reasons at some point in their life. The proportions of students ever using tranquilisers increased from 13% of 12-year-olds to around 19% of 15- to 17-year-olds.
"Use in the past month was low in all ages and reached only five per cent among students aged 14 and over.
"Across all ages, around two per cent of secondary school students had used tranquilisers in the week before the survey.
Prevalence of Analgesic Use Among Youth in Australia: "Regularity of use: Of students who had used analgesics in the past year, 54% of females and 43% of males had used analgesics 10 or more times in the previous year. Sixteen per cent of males and 10% of females reported use of analgesics only once or twice in the past year.
"Of the male students who had used analgesics in the past week, 71% had used them only once or twice, while 20% had used them 3-5 times. Of the female students who had used analgesics in the past week, 68% had used them once or twice and 22% had used them 3-5 times."
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.