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National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016

Access the survey here 

Summary

Younger people (under 30 years old) are drinking and smoking less and using less illicit drugs than in 2001. However, people in their 40s, 50s and 60s have not significantly changed their drug usage over this period, although their use of some drugs has increased since 2013.

Tobacco smoking

  • Smoking rates have been on downward trend over the long-term, but have not significantly declined since 2013.
  • There are fewer teenagers smoking and the average age for first use has increased to age 16.3 from age 15.9 years in 2013.
  • The amount smoked has decreased significantly since 2001, but there was no significant decrease from 2013 rates.
  • Males are more likely to smoke than females
  • The proportion of never smokers was 60% in 2016, compared to 62% in 2013
  • Smoking has declined by over 40% in people in their 20s and 30s and 20% for people in their 40s and 50s over the last 15 years. However, it hasn’t declined significantly in those over the age of 60.
  • More smokers are rolling theit own cigarettes as opposed to ready made cigarettes
  • Support for harm reduction policies remains high

Alcohol use

  • Fewer people than in 2013 exceeded the lifetime risk guidelines for drinking alcohol.
  • Young adults were drinking less. 42% of 18-24 year olds drinking at least 5 standard drinks per month as opposed to 47% in 2013.
  •  82% of 12-17 year olds abstained from alcohol in 2016 compared to 72% in 2013.
  • More people in their 50s were drinking 11 or more standard drinks on one occasion compared to 2013.
  • The proportion of people reporting being a victim of alcohol related harm decreased from 26% in 2013 to 22% in 2016.
  • Males are more than twice as likely as females to exceed the lifetime risk guidelines. However the difference is narrowing as less fewer males drink at risky levels while female risky drinking is unchanged.
  • Most alcohol policy measures received reduced support in 2016 than in 2013

Illicit drug use

  • Less use of some illegal drugs was seen in 2016 including meth/amphetamines, hallucinogens and synthetic cannabinoids
  • 1 in 20 Australians in 2016 misused pharmaceutical medication
  • Reports of being a victim of a drug-related incident increased to 1.8million in 2016, up from 1.6million in 2013
  • Cocaine use has been increasing since 2004 from 1% to 2.5%
  • More people over the age of 40 reported misuse of drugs mainly pharmaceuticals and cannabis
  • Cannabis, heroin and cocaine were perceived to be less likely to be thought of as a drug problem as compared to meth/amphetamine

Meth/amphetamines

  • Crystal or ice continued to be the main form used up to 57% in 2016 from 50% in 2013
  • Powder use declined from 29% in 2013 to 20% in 2016
  • People’s perception of meth/amphetamines changed between 2013 and 2016 with it being nominated as the drug most likely to be drug problem and also the cause of most drug related deaths for the first time
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Facts about Drugs Videos

The Drug Policy Alliance has produced a series of four short videos about MDMA, Methamphetamine, Heroin and Cocaine which aim to present straightforward, factual information. Each video is only two minutes long and covers the history of each of these drugs, how they work, the major health risks of each substance and practice harm reduction advice.