National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

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

5.2 Tranquillisers

prev pageTOC |next page

Table of contents

Table 5.5 illustrates the use of tranquilisers other than for medical reasons over lifetime, past year, past month and past week in all time periods by age and gender.

Table 5.5: Tranquilisers: Percentage of students in each age and gender grouping using tranquilisers in each recency category, Australia, 2011#

Never used
12 yrs

(%)

13 yrs

(%)

14 yrs

(%)

15 yrs

(%)

16 yrs

(%)

17 yrs

(%)

18 yrs

(%)

Males
84.9
84.7
84.3
81.8
80.7
82.0
83.1
Females
89.0
84.7
80.9
79.7
80.3
81.4
82.7
Total
86.9
84.7
82.6
80.7
80.5
81.7
82.9
Ever used
12 yrs

(%)

13 yrs

(%)

14 yrs

(%)

15 yrs

(%)

16 yrs

(%)

17 yrs

(%)

18 yrs

(%)

Males
15.1
15.3
15.7
18.2
19.3
18.0
16.9
Females
11.0
15.3
19.1
20.3
19.7
18.6
17.3
Total
13.1
15.3
17.4
19.3
19.5
18.3
17.1
Past month
12 yrs

(%)

13 yrs

(%)

14 yrs

(%)

15 yrs

(%)

16 yrs

(%)

17 yrs

(%)

18 yrs

(%)

Males
2.9
3.7
4.1
4.7
4.9
4.9
4.1
Females
0.8
2.2
2.5
2.8
2.5
2.7
2.2
Total
1.5
2.2
2.4
2.3
2.6
2.7
2.2
Top of page
Past week
2 yrs

(%)

13 yrs

(%)

14 yrs

(%)

15 yrs

(%)

16 yrs

(%)

17 yrs

(%)

18 yrs

(%)

Males
2.1
2.1
2.2
1.8
2.6
2.7
2.2
Females
0.8
2.2
2.5
2.8
2.5
2.7
2.2
Total
1.5
2.2
2.4
2.3
2.6
2.7
2.2

# Prevalence estimates are within  3.3% of the true population values (see section 2.6). See Appendix 4 for 95% Confidence interval estimates for different proportions for each age and gender group.

Around 17% of students had used tranquilisers other than for medical reasons at some point in their life. The proportions of students ever using tranquilisers increased from 13% of 12-year-olds to around 19% of 15- to 17-year-olds.

Use in the past month was low in all ages and reached only five per cent among students aged 14 and over.

Across all ages, around two per cent of secondary school students had used tranquilisers in the week before the survey.

There was little difference in the use of tranquilisers between male and female students. However among 12-year-olds, lifetime use, use in the past 12 months and past week was higher among males than females, while among 14-year olds lifetime use and use in the past year was higher among female than male students. Among 15-year-olds significantly more females than males had used tranquilisers in the past year.

Regularity of use: Of the 11% of students who had used tranquilisers in the previous year, around 54% of males and 52% of females had used them only once or twice, while around 18% of males and 21% of females had used them 3–5 times. The proportion of all students using tranquilisers 10 or more times in the previous year was, at 1.7% for both males and females, negligible.

Table 5.6 shows the most common ways the 11% of students who had used tranquilisers in the past year accessed the tranquilisers. The most common source of tranquilisers for those students who used these substances in the past year was parents (63%). Around 20% of students who had used tranquilisers in the past year indicated that they were prescribed tranquilisers and accessed them this way. As the prevalence question asked about non-medical use of tranquilisers, the finding that 20% of students who have used them in the past year are prescribed them, may mean that these students do not fully understand the term “non-medical use” or it may mean that students are using their tranquilisers at times when they do not think there is a real medical need.

Around seven per cent of students who used tranquilisers in the past year indicated that someone else gave them these substances.

Table 5.6: Common sources of tranquilisers among those students who used tranquilisers in the past year, Australia, 2011#

Parents
12 yrs

(%)

13 yrs

(%)

14 yrs

(%)

15 yrs

(%)

16 yrs

(%)

17 yrs

(%)

Total

(%)

Males
79.5
73.0
73.3
63.2
52.8
45.1
63.4
Females
73.9
74.6
64.7
59.7
54.1
57.1
62.6
Total
77.3
74.5
68.3
61.4
53.8
51.6
63.2
Prescribed them
12 yrs

(%)

13 yrs

(%)

14 yrs

(%)

15 yrs

(%)

16 yrs

(%)

17 yrs

(%)

Total

(%)

Males
13.7
15.3
13.3
22.8
18.2
25.9
18.5
Females
22.5
14.8
18.0
20.2
23.5
25.1
20.6
Total
17.6
15.1
16.2
21.5
21.3
25.5
19.7
Took from home
12 yrs

(%)

13 yrs

(%)

14 yrs

(%)

15 yrs

(%)

16 yrs

(%)

17 yrs

(%)

Total

(%)

Males
0.0
2.2
3.6
3.1
9.3
6.8
4.5
Females
0.0
4.8
3.9
5.6
6.7
7.9
5.2
Total
0.0
3.4
3.8
4.6
7.9
7.4
4.9
Bought
12 yrs

(%)

13 yrs

(%)

14 yrs

(%)

15 yrs

(%)

16 yrs

(%)

17 yrs

(%)

Total

(%)

Males
0.0
1.5
3.0
5.2
5.1
8.0
4.0
Females
0.0
0.0
2.7
2.0
3.4
2.6
2.1
Total
0.0
0.6
2.9
3.2
4.0
5.1
2.9
Given to me by someone else
12 yrs

(%)

13 yrs

(%)

14 yrs

(%)

15 yrs

(%)

16 yrs

(%)

17 yrs

(%)

Total

(%)

Males
2.7
4.4
3.6
5.2
8.9
10.5
6.1
Females
3.6
3.7
8.2
11.3
10.4
5.2
7.8
Total
2.7
4.0
6.4
8.4
9.8
7.6
7.0

# Base: students using tranquilisers in past year.

5.2.1 Changes in the prevalence of tranquiliser use between 2005 and 2011

Table 5.7 presents the proportion of 12- to 15-year-olds, 16- to 17-year-olds, and 12- to 17-year-olds who had used tranquilisers in their lifetime, in the past month and in the past week in each survey year between 2005 and 2011.
Top of page

Table 5.7: Percentage of students using tranquilisers in their lifetime, in the past month or in the past week in 2005, 2008 and 2011, Australia

12 to 15 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)

Total
(%)
Males
14.4
15.4
16.1
Females
14.7
17.0
16.5
Total
14.6**
16.2
16.3

16 to 17 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2005
(%)

Total
(%)
Males
14.4
15.4
16.1
Females
14.7
17.0
16.5
Total
14.6**
16.2
16.3

Total

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2005
(%)

Total
(%)
Males
14.4
15.4
16.1
Females
14.7
17.0
16.5
Total
14.6**
16.2
16.3

12 to 15 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2005
(%)

Total
(%)
Males
4.1
4.0
3.8
Females
3.6
3.8
4.1
Total
3.8
3.9
3.9

16 to 17 years

Top of page
Past month
2005
(%)
2005
(%)

Total
(%)
Males
3.0**
4.4
4.9
Females
4.3
4.2
5.0
Total
3.7**
4.3
4.9

Total

Past month
2005
(%)
2005
(%)

Total
(%)
Males
3.8
4.1
4.1
Females
3.8
3.9
4.3
Total
3.8
4.0
4.2


12 to 15 years

Past week
2005
(%)
2005
(%)

Total
(%)
Males
2.3
2.5
2.1
Females
2.0
2.1
2.1
Total
2.2
2.3
2.1

16 to 17 years

Past week
2005
(%)
2005
(%)

Total
(%)
Males
1.7
2.5
2.7
Females
2.4
2.1
2.6
Total
2.1
2.3
2.6

Total

Past week
2005
(%)
2005
(%)

Total
(%)
Males
2.2
2.5
2.2
Females
2.1
2.1
2.2
Total
2.1
2.3
2.2

** Significantly different from 2011 at p <0.01.

For 12- to 15-year-olds, the prevalence of lifetime use of tranquilisers increased between 2005 and 2011. However there was no change in the prevalence of lifetime use of tranquilisers between 2008 and 2011.

For 12- to 15-year-olds there was no change in the proportion of students reporting having used tranquilisers in the month or week before the survey.

Among 16- and 17-year-old students, there was an increase in the proportion of male students who had used tranquilisers in their lifetime and in the past month between 2005 and 2011. This increase was not observed for females aged 16 and 17 years.

There was no change in the proportion of 16- and 17-year-old students using tranquilisers in the week before the survey between 2005 and 2011.

prev pageTOC |next page