· There has been a 40%
rise over three (3) years in the number of people using tranquillizers and sleeping
· According to research
undertaken in the US for ‘Turning Point
Drug & Alcohol Centre’, pharmaceutical drugs have overtaken cannabis as the
first-time abusers’ choice.
· In a 2007 survey, 1.4%
of people reported recent use of tranquilizers & sleeping pills for non-medical
purposes. It was 1% in 2004.
· The survey also found
1.2 million Australians, or 7 %, had used painkillers, tranquilizers, barbiturates
and/or steroids for non-medical purposes at some time in their
· The numbers are higher
among ecstasy users. 39% have used illicit benzodiazepines, according to research
· At present, Ecstasy is
the number two (2) recreational drug of choice; 2nd to Marijuana.
· Both Heath Ledger &
Michael Jackson died largely as a result of
prescription medication abuse.
· In the 2004 NDSHS
survey, 38% of the Australian population aged 14 years & over had used any
illicit drug at least one in their lifetime. 15% had used at least one in the
previous 12 months.
· In 2004, the five (5)
most common illicit drugs ever used were marijuana/cannabis (34%), meth/amphetamine
(9%), hallucinogens, ecstasy (both 8%), and pain-killers/analgesics for non-medical
· The six (6) most common
illicit drugs used in the previous 12 months were marijuana/cannabis (11%),
ecstasy/amphetamine, and pain-killers/analgesics for non-medical purposes (all 3%),
tranquillizers/sleeping pills & cocaine (1%).
· The average age of
first use of illicit drugs ranges from 18.6 years for inhalants, to 25.2 years for
tranquillizers/sleeping pills and steroids for non-medical purposes.
Marijuana/cannabis – 18.7 years, 20.8 years for meth/amphetamine and 22.8 years for
· Recent illicit drug use
was most prevalent among persons aged between 18 and 29 years in 2004. Almost one
(1) in three (3) people (31%) in this age bracket had used at least one illicit
drug and one (1) in four (4) had used marijuana/cannabis in the previous 12
· Approximately one (1)
in eight (8) people aged 20 – 29 years recently used ecstasy and around one (1) in
ten (10) used meth/amphetamine in the last 12 months.
· Of Australians aged 14
years and older, 3% had used methamphetamine for non-medical purposes in the last
12 months and 9% in their lifetime.
· Almost 7% of 14 – 19
year olds had used methamphetamines compared to 1 in 5 people (21%) aged 20 – 19
· Males were most likely
to have used methamphetamines in their lifetime (11%) compared to females
· Approximately 9 in 10
people (87%) aged 14 years & over had consumed alcohol with methamphetamine
(one at least one occasion).
· A total of injecting
drug users surveyed for the IDRS in 2005 had visited a health professional for a
mental health problem other than drug dependence in the six (6) months prior to
interview. Of these, 68% reported their reason as depression, 38% regarding anxiety
and an additional 10% had attended for ‘panic attacks’.