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.

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.

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.