The 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey has just been released (here). This is by far the most useful and accurate study of drug use trends in Australia.
Tobacco consumption continues to fall – less than 1 in 5 Australians smoked over the past 12 months. There is a very significant reduction in daily alcohol consumption – from 8.9% in 2004 to 8.1%. The most common illicit drug in Australia is cannabis – 9.1% of those aged 14 years and over had used cannabis during the last 12 months with strong continued decline in use among youth – use from 2004 to 2007 dropped from 11.3% to 9.1%. There is a significant* reduction in use of amphetamines/ice from 3.2% to 2.3% over this same period.
Heroin use remains very low at 0.2% in 2007 compared to 0.8% in 1998. The big supply reductions that occurred during the heroin drought of 2000 as a response to increase police interdictions seem to have permanently and significantly reduced heroin demands.
These are very positive signs which show that the campaigns against dangerous licit and illicit drugs do work. The only negative features are that ecstasy use remains high at around 3.4% of the population and cocaine use has increased significantly* since 2004 from 1% of the Australian population to around 1.6%.
An excellent report that isn’t too long. It is good reading if you wish to be informed about drug issues rather than adopting partisan views in the media and the drug treatment industry.
*Significance here means statistical significance at a 95% confidence level.