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Latest national teen drug usage statistics released

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Acting Minister for Health and Ageing


18 January 2011

Latest National Teen Drug Usage Statistics Released

The National Drug Strategy Monograph: Australian secondary school students’ use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2008, has today been released by the Acting Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler.

Mr Butler welcomed the release of the report and noted the survey pointed to several welcomed trends but still identified there’s more work to do.

“Any alcohol, tobacco and drug use is risky for under-age teenagers, but it is pleasing to see that tobacco and alcohol use trends are heading in the right direction,” he said.

“However, we can’t be complacent. Binge drinking and tobacco use still ruin the lives of too many Australians, and we must continue to educate teenagers about these dangers.”

Mr Butler did, however, express concern that 40% of current drinkers aged 16 to 17 years old were still drinking at risky levels.

“Forty per cent is just too high. This just backs up the Government’s decision to develop the National Binge Drinking Strategy and increase the tax on Alcopops.”

Mr Butler also noted the increase in the 16 to 17 year old age bracket who had reported using ecstasy in the month prior to the survey (an increase from 2.3% in 2005 to 3.4% in 2008) and hoped that all teenagers will think very carefully about the risk and repercussions of using any drug.

Festival-goers around the country are being targeted this summer by the Gillard Government’s National Drugs Campaign to combat illicit drug use. The latest phase of the National Drugs Campaign will be promoted through the popular In the Mix website - the go-to site for the summer music festival program.

The Australian Secondary Students Alcohol and Drug Survey, partly funded by the Australian Government, is coordinated by the Cancer Council of Victoria and takes place every three years. This survey took place during the academic school year of 2008, with around 24,000 secondary students aged between 12 and 17 years participating. They were asked about their lifetime and current use of tobacco, alcohol, analgesics, tranquilisers, illicit substances and related behaviour.

A copy of the 2008 report can be found at

For more information, please contact the Minister's Office on (02) 6277 7280

* Media note: Please note that ‘current drinkers’ refers to those who had consumed an alcoholic drink on any of the seven days prior to completing the survey.