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.

New NHMRC alcohol guidelines released

December 2020

The statistics around alcohol-related harm in Australia are staggering – 4000 alcohol-related deaths a year, 70,000 hospital admissions and links to more than 40 medical conditions. One in four Australians are drinking alcohol at risky levels and 10-15% of all emergency department presentations are alcohol-related. In an attempt to reduce health risks from drinking the NHMRC has updated their alcohol guidelines based on the current evidence. The recommended maximum number of standard drinks per week has dropped down to 10 from 14 and for the first time they have made a very clear statement about young people and advise no alcohol for anyone under the age of 18.

European school student study shows decline in teen drinking and smoking

November 2020

The 2019 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) report was released with almost 100,000 students from 35 countries participating in the project. Alcohol use remains high across Europe but trend data shows steady decreases in ‘lifetime’ and ‘current use’ since peaking in 2003. The report highlights cannabis and the non-medical use of prescription drugs as issues of concern. The survey also examined social media use, gaming and gambling and the report is worth looking at just for the findings in the gambling area.

2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report released

July 2020

The 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report found that fewer Australians are smoking tobacco daily, while the use of e-cigarettes is increasing. Recent use of a number of illicit drugs had risen, particularly cocaine, with cannabis and ecstasy (MDMA) also increasing in popularity. It also found that more Australians are giving up or reducing their alcohol intake, driven by health concerns.

DARTA will produce a downloadable presentation on these results in both PPT and PDF formats as soon as possible.

Increasing numbers of young people are choosing not to drink alcohol and illicit drug use has risen among older Australians

June 2020

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released their report into the use of alcohol and other drug use. Most data contained in the document is not new and has already been reported (e.g., 2016 NDSHS and 2017 ASSAD survey), however the consolidation of the most up-to-date information available is useful. A snapshot of results presented in a series of infographics is particularly interesting for those who just want a short summary of the findings and a series of fact sheets on different substances are also worth a look. It should be noted that this release “includes discussion and data from the COVID-19 time period”.

Study finds an alcohol advertisement displayed every 35 seconds during COVID-19 pandemic

May 2020

This fascinating report by FARE provides “a snapshot of how the alcohol industry is using a global pandemic as a marketing opportunity”. The study found that in one hour on a Friday night, 107 sponsored alcohol ads were displayed on a personal Facebook and Instagram account, i.e. one alcohol ad every 35 seconds. Most concerning was that the marketing messages being used promoted known risk factors for harmful drinking, including drinking to cope, and drinking alone in the home.