‘Highlights’ of the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) report were released online on July 17, 2014. The key results of this survey were generally positive.
Fewer Australians are smoking daily, with the number of daily smokers halving since 1991. The number dropped significantly between 2010 and 2013, from 15.1% to 12.8% among people 14 or older. The age at which 14 to 24-year-olds first tried alcohol rose from 14.4 to 15.7 years of age between 1998 and 2013, with the proportion of 12-17 year olds abstaining from alcohol rising from 64% to 72% between 2010 and 2013.
Declines in the use of ecstasy, heroin and GHB were reported but the misuse of pharmaceuticals appears to be on the rise (from 4.2% in 2010 to 4.7% in 2013). Some media outlets reported that the survey found that ‘ice’ use had doubled since 2010 when in fact the use of meth/amphetamine remained at a similar level to 2010. That said, the use of ‘ice’ amongst amphetamine users (rather than across the general population) had indeed doubled – i.e., instead of using the powder form of the drug, they were more likely to use the crystalline form.
DARTA has produced a PowerPoint presentation on these first results which is available for download.