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.

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.

One in five Australian households reported buying more alcohol than usual since the COVID-19 outbreak

April 2020

The results of a poll commissioned by FARE that 20% of Australians purchased more alcohol and 70% of them were drinking more alcohol than normal, with one third (33 per cent) using alcohol daily during the COVID-19 restrictions in early April. The key findings can be found in a simple-to-read one page release. It is important to note that there have been other studies conducted that had similar results but also reported that some Australians were actually drinking less.

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.”

Study examines tactics used by alcohol companies to target women

November 2019

This report written by the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA and the Cancer Council WA titled ‘The Instagrammability of Pink Drinks’ examines industry trade publications and advertisements to┬áprovide an important insight as to how alcohol is marketed to women in Australia in 2019. The ‘pink trend’ is particularly interesting, i.e., the development and promotion of pink alcohol products resulting in increasing trending on particular social media platforms such as Instagram.