National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

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

5.13 Poly-substance use

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In response to a specific question, students who had used tranquilisers, cannabis, amphetamines, hallucinogens and ecstasy in the previous year were asked to indicate other substances they had used concurrently with these substances. Students could indicate a substance from a list of seven, along with a response indicating that no other substance was used. Students could give multiple responses and also indicate other substances that were not listed.

The proportion of students using tranquilisers, cannabis, amphetamines, hallucinogens and ecstasy in the past year indicating they had used any alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, hallucinogens amphetamines, ecstasy, analgesics or tranquilisers on the same occasion is shown in Table 5.23.

Table 5.23: Percentage of students who had used tranquilisers, cannabis, amphetamines, hallucinogens or ecstasy in the past 12 months indicating they had used other substances on the same occasion, Australia, 2011#

Substance used on same occasion
Tranquilisers
(%)
Cannabis
(%)
Amphetamines
(%)
Hallucinogens
(%)
Ecstasy
(%)
(n)^
(2451)
(2994)
(549)
(579)
(482)
Alcohol
15.7
61.4
56.5
46.4
62.4
Tobacco
12.4
47.0
40.1
40.7
47.0
Cannabis
10.5
N/A^^
33.4
37.0
33.9
Hallucinogens
2.6
7.1
10.5
N/A^^
12.6
Amphetamines
3.1
4.9
N/A^^
9.1
13.8
Ecstasy
2.5
5.3
14.3
9.0
N/A^^
Analgesics
22.6
6.3
8.5
8.0
9.2
Tranquilisers
N/A^^
2.6
4.8
5.2
7.6
No other substance used
61.3
26.7
29.4
32.3
21.9

^ number of students surveyed using a substance in previous year.
^^N/A = not applicable.
# Percentages may not equal 100% as multiple responses were allowed.

The pattern of other substance use for tranquiliser users differed substantially to these found for cannabis, amphetamines, hallucinogens and ecstasy. Among tranquiliser users in the past year, 61% indicated they did not use any other substance on the same occasion and the most commonly used other substance were analgesics. This likely reflects that most students using tranquilisers are using them at home under their parents’ supervision. However the data also show that between 10% and 16% of past year tranquiliser users also used alcohol, tobacco or cannabis on the same occasion.

Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis were the substances most commonly used in conjunction with amphetamines, hallucinogens and ecstasy. Around 60% of the students who had used ecstasy and cannabis in the previous year, 57% of those using amphetamines and 46% of those using hallucinogens consumed alcohol on the same occasion.

Among cannabis users 47% smoked tobacco on the same occasions as they used cannabis in the past year.

Around one fifth of students who had used ecstasy and between 26%-32% of those using amphetamines, cannabis and hallucinogens in the past year did not use any other substance at the same time.

Around 14% of students who had used amphetamines in the past year reported using ecstasy at the same time and likewise 14% of students using ecstasy in the past year reported using amphetamines.

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