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Facts & Statistics


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·   There has been a 40% rise over three (3) years in the number of people using tranquillizers and sleeping pills recreationally. 


Collection of prescription drugs 


·   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 lives. 




·   The numbers are higher among ecstasy users. 39% have used illicit benzodiazepines, according to research in 2007. 




·   At present, Ecstasy is the number two (2) recreational drug of choice; 2nd to Marijuana. 


                 Ecstasy            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 purposes (6%). 


·   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 ecstasy.




·   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 months. 


·   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 years.  


·   Males were most likely to have used methamphetamines in their lifetime (11%) compared to females (7%). 


Methamphetamine - 'ice'


·   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’.

Drugs injected  



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