National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

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

5.5 Hallucinogens

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Table 5.11 illustrates the use of hallucinogens such as LSD over lifetime, past year and past month by age and gender.

Table 5.11: Hallucinogens: Percentage of students in each age and gender grouping using hallucinogens in each recency category, Australia, 2011#

Never used
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
Males
98.7
98.3
97.7
95.9
95.1
91.6
96.4
Females
99.4
98.6
97.8
97.5
95.8
95.0
97.5
Total
99.0
98.4
97.7
96.7
95.5
93.4
97.0
Ever used
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
Males
1.3
1.7
2.3
4.1
4.9
8.4
3.6
Females
0.6
1.4
2.2
2.5
4.2
5.0
2.5
Total
1.0
1.6
2.3
3.3
4.5
6.6
3.0
Past year
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
Males
0.9
1.3
1.7
3.2
4.0
7.3
2.8
Females
0.3
1.1
1.9
1.6
3.4
3.7
1.9
Total
0.6
1.2
1.8
2.4
3.7
5.4
2.4
Past month
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
Males
0.6
0.5
1.1
1.5
1.6
3.2
1.3
Females
0.0
0.4
0.9
0.6
1.1
1.2
0.7
Total
0.3
0.5
1.0
1.0
1.3
2.2
1.0

# 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.

The use of hallucinogens, such as LSD, among secondary school students was uncommon. While three per cent of all secondary school students had ever used hallucinogens, the proportion increased significantly with age, from one per cent of 12-year-old students to seven per cent of 17-year-olds.
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Only two per cent of all students reported having used hallucinogens at some time in the past year and only one per cent indicated they had used hallucinogens in the previous month.

An examination of the pattern of gender differences for hallucinogen use showed that generally more males than females had used these substances. Consistent differences were found for 15- and 17-year-olds with more males than females using these substances in their lifetime, in the past year and past month. Gender differences were also seen for 12-year-olds for use in the past year and past month.

Regularity of use: The majority of the two per cent of students who reported having used hallucinogens in the previous year had used them infrequently. Fifty-six per cent of males and 63% of females indicated they had used hallucinogens only once or twice in the previous year.

5.5.1 Changes in the prevalence of hallucinogen use between 2005 and 2011

Table 5.12 shows the proportion of students using hallucinogens in their lifetime and in the previous month in each survey year between 2005 and 2011.

Table 5.12: Percentage of students using hallucinogens, in their lifetime and in the past month in 2005, 2008 and 2011, Australia

12 to 15 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
3.9**
2.6
2.4
Females
1.7
1.9
1.7
Total
2.8**
2.3
2.0

16 to 17 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
5.7
6.2
6.4
Females
3.3
3.8
4.6
Total
4.5
5.0
5.5

12 to 17 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
4.3
3.6
3.6
Females
2.1
2.5
2.5
Total
3.2
3.0
3.0
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12 to 15 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
2.0**
1.3
0.9
Females
0.6
0.7
0.5
Total
1.3**
1.0
0.7

16 to 17 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
2.0
2.9
2.3
Females
0.7
1.0
1.2
Total
1.3
1.9
1.7

12 to 17 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
2.0**
1.7
1.3
Females
0.7
0.8
0.7
Total
1.3
1.3
1.0

** Significantly different from 2011 p <0.01.

Among 12- to 15-year-old students, the proportion ever using hallucinogens in their lifetime in 2011 was significantly lower than the proportion found in 2005. The decrease in lifetime use among 12- to 15-year-olds translated into a decrease in use in the past month. However the proportion of 12- to 15-year-old students using hallucinogens in their lifetime and in the past month in 2011 was not significantly different from the proportions found in 2008.

Among 16- to 17-year-olds, there was no significant change in the proportion using hallucinogens in their lifetime between 2005 and 2011. Recent use of hallucinogens among older students also had not changed significantly between 2005 and 2011 or between 2008 and 2011.

For all students aged 12 to 17 years, there was no change in the proportions using hallucinogens in their lifetime or in the past month between 2011 and both 2008 and 2005, although among males use in the past month decreased significantly between 2005 and 2011.

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