National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011

5.11 Use of any illicit substance

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The proportions of students in each of the two age groups who had used cannabis, hallucinogens, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates or ecstasy in their lifetime and in the month prior to the survey in 2005, 2008 and 2011 are shown in Table 5.22.

Table 5.22: Percentage of students who had used any illicit substance or any illicit substance excluding cannabis, in their lifetime or in the past month in 2005, 2008 and 2011, Australia

Any illicit substance - 12 to 15 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
16.8**
11.9
11.9
Females
13.2**
10.6
10.3
Total
15.1**
11.2
11.1

Any illicit substance - 16 to 17 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
34.6**
28.2
29.6
Females
30.7**
23.7
24.2
Total
32.6**
25.9
26.8

Any illicit substance - Total

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
25.1**
16.3
16.9
Females
18.1**
14.3
14.4
Total
19.8**
15.3
15.6

Any illicit substance - 12 to 15 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
8.0
5.7
6.3
Females
5.4
4.7
4.7
Total
6.7
5.2
5.5

Any illicit substance - 16 to 17 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
15.8
14.7
15.7
Females
9.9
10.1
10.8
Total
12.8
12.4
13.2

Any illicit substance - Total

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
10.0
8.1
9.0
Females
6.6
6.3
6.5
Total
8.3
7.2
7.7
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Any illicit substance excluding cannabis - 12 to 15 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
7.6**
5.8
5.7
Females
6.6**
5.0
4.8
Total
7.1**
5.4
5.3

Any illicit substance excluding cannabis - 16 to 17 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
12.8
12.5
10.5
Females
10.8
10.2
8.5
Total
11.8**
11.3
9.5

Any illicit substance excluding cannabis - Total

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
9.0**
7.6
7.1
Females
7.7**
6.5
5.9
Total
8.4**
7.1
6.5

Any illicit substance excluding cannabis - 12 to 15 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
4.2
2.8
2.8
Females
2.5
2.0
1.9
Total
3.4
2.4
2.4

Any illicit substance excluding cannabis - 16 to 17 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
5.7
6.4
5.1
Females
3.0
3.8
3.1
Total
4.3
5.0
4.1

Any illicit substance excluding cannabis - Total

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
4.6
3.8
3.5
Females
2.6
2.5
2.3
Total
3.6
3.1
2.9

** Significantly different from 2011 at p <0.01.

Among 12- to 15-year-olds, there was a significant decrease in the proportion of students using any illicit substance in their lifetime between 2005 and 2011 (p<0.01) but the difference between 2008 and 2011 was not significant. There was no change in the proportion of students indicating they had used any illicit substance in the month before the survey between 2005 and 2011 and 2008 and 2011.

Among 16- to 17-year-olds, the proportion of students who had used any illicit substance in their lifetime decreased significantly between 2005 and 2011 (p<0.01). The proportion of older students using any illicit substance in the month before the survey had not changed significantly between 2005 and 2011 or between 2008 and 2011.

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