We know that drugs and alcohol are commonly used in Tasmania and indeed Australia, but just how common? What illicit drugs are used the most? How many people are drinking alcohol at unsafe levels?
The Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania (ATDC) has welcomed fresh data detailing the use of drugs and alcohol in Tasmania and the rest of the country. The data has come from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, which according to the ATDC showed that:
- The most common ‘recently used’ illegal drugs in Australia in 2016 were cannabis and cocaine.
- Recent use of meth/amphetamines decreased to a rate of 1.4%. That’s the good news; the bad news is that the majority of meth/amphetamine users are predominantly using the more pure and stronger form of the drug, ICE.
- About 17% of Australians drank alcohol in quantities that exceeded lifetime risk guidelines.
- Australians aged under 30 smoked less, drank less alcohol and took fewer illegal drugs in 2016 compared to 2001.
- Australians are first trying alcohol and cigarettes later in life, up from aged 14 in 1998 to 16 in 2016.
- More Australians in their 40s used illicit drugs in 2016, compared to 2013.
“Alcohol remains the most commonly used drug, that came as no surprise to us,” said ATDC Chief Executive Officer Debra Rabe said.
And when it comes to ICE, a drug that gets a lot of media attention, Ms Rabe says we should not be scared of users or judge them inappropriately. Instead, “we need to extend our help to them and make sure that they know that there is hope for recovery and that treatment works.”
Ms Rabe said while Tasmanian data from the household survey won’t be released until later this year, the national trends are important for concluding who is using what and the harm that eventuates. She added that historically, the trends in Tasmania when it comes to drug and alcohol use is often reflected in national trends.
The ATDC is the peak body representing the interests of Tasmania’s community service organisations that provide people with substance misuse issues services. The ATDC:
- Supports workforce planning and development.
- Represents a broad range of service providers and individuals working in prevention, promotion, early intervention, treatment, case management, research and harm reduction
- Plays a key role in helping the state government to achieve its aims of preventing and reducing harms associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in the Tasmanian community.