Research and Statistics

We are learning more about the area of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) all the time and it is important to keep up-to-date with current findings. It can also be useful to look at trends across time but it can often be difficult to locate older reports (with some no longer being able to be accessed online), so DARTA has provided those that are still available in a downloadable PDF format.

In addition, here is a selection of some recent research and statistics on alcohol and other drugs, with a particular emphasis on that which relates to young people.

Parental supply of alcohol: New research finds no benefit but it is likely to increase how often teens drink

November 2019

Australian longitudinal research looking at almost 2000 adolescents found parental supply of alcohol was associated with increased alcohol consumption by their children during the early teens. While parental supply appeared to have less impact in later adolescence, the researchers stressed that there was no evidence to suggest that it was protective. They concluded that parents be advised “that any supply of alcohol to adolescents, especially those aged 16 or younger, should be avoided as there is no benefit and is instead likely to increase how often adolescents drink.”

Ecstasy pills on the decline, capsules on the rise: results of 2019 EDRS interviews released

October 2019

The 2019 Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) interview findings were released with some very interesting results. The EDRS is an illicit drug monitoring system which has been conducted across Australia since 2003 and NDARC has provided a “suite of products” highlighting some of the findings. The study interviews almost 800 ecstasy users, mostly young, well-educated males and is not representative but provides some useful information on trends. Reports of ecstasy pill use continued to decline, with capsules being the most commonly-used form for the first time. Both recent use of cocaine and ketamine use was the highest reported since monitoring began.

Wastewater provides estimates of Australian drug usage

October 2019

The eighth report from the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program (NWDMP) was released. The study examines wastewater from sewage treatment plants in both capital cities and regional areas to estimate drug usage across the country. Methylamphetamine had the highest dose levels of all the illicits included in the report but it is important to note that comparisons on consumption of different drugs in this report is based on “doses consumed rather than drug mass”. This study does not look at prevalence. The high levels of methylamphetamine found could be due to a larger number of people using small amounts, or a relatively small number of people using larger amounts of the drug.

European Drug Report 2019 released

June 2019

The European Drug Report 2019: Trends and Developments provides a comprehensive analysis of drug trends across the EU, Turkey and Norway. Some of the issues that it highlights this year are increasing cocaine availability, new synthetic opioids and their link to fatal overdoses, as well as the latest developments in the European cannabis market. This is always a fascinating read with so much of the information provided having a direct impact on what we are, or will be seeing in this country.

New study: TV alcohol advertising encourages young people to engage in risky drinking

January 2019

Research studying the ‘push/pull’ factors that influence adolescents’ drinking behaviours found that alcohol advertising exposure directly influences and encourages adolescents to engage in risky drinking. It is the first Australian study to examine the relative influence of a range of variables including television alcohol advertising, retail alcohol outlet density and the proportion of alcohol-related articles in newspapers, on the drinking behaviour of young people. The media release quotes lead author Dr Victoria White from the Cancer Council of Victoria as saying “One of the key findings of this report is that the risky drinking of adolescents can be reduced by restricting youth access to alcohol, reducing the availability of alcohol and reducing television advertising.”