National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

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

5.6 Amphetamines

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Table 5.13 illustrates the use of amphetamines over lifetime, past year and past month by age and gender. The behaviour reported here is supposed to exclude any medically supervised use.

Table 5.13: Amphetamines: Percentage of students in each age and gender grouping using amphetamines in each recency category, Australia, 2011#

Never used
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
98.9
98.4
98.0
95.4
95.7
93.6
96.8
Females
98.5
98.5
98.0
97.8
96.2
95.2
97.5
Total
98.7
98.4
98.0
96.6
95.9
94.4
97.1
Ever used
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
1.1
1.6
2.0
4.6
4.3
6.4
3.2
Females
1.5
1.5
2.0
2.2
3.8
4.8
2.5
Total
1.3
1.6
2.0
3.4
4.1
5.6
2.9
Past year
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
0.9
1.2
1.5
2.8
3.6
5.7
2.4
Females
1.1
1.1
1.5
1.8
3.2
3.4
2.0
Total
1.0
1.1
1.5
2.3
3.4
4.5
2.2
Past month
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
0.4
0.6
1.3
1.6
1.6
3.3
1.4
Females
0.0
0.7
0.7
0.7
1.4
1.3
0.8
Total
0.2
0.7
1.0
1.1
1.5
2.3
1.1

# 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 majority of secondary school students (97%) had never used amphetamines. The proportion of students who had ever used these substances increased significantly with age, from one per cent of 12-year-olds to six per cent of students aged 17 years.
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Around two per cent of all students surveyed had used amphetamines in the past year; this proportion was highest among the older students, increasing from one per cent of 12-year-olds to five per cent of those aged 17 years. Use in the past month was very low for all age groups.

Regularity of use: Of the two per cent of students who reported using amphetamines in the year prior to the study, 44% of males and 59% of females had used them only once or twice.

5.6.1 Changes in the prevalence of amphetamine use between 2005 and 2011

The proportion of students using amphetamines in 2005, 2008 and 2011 is shown in Table 5.14.

Table 5.14: Percentage of students using amphetamines in their lifetime and in the past month in 2005, 2008 and 2011, Australia

12 to 15 years

Lifetime
2005 yrs
(%)
2008 yrs
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
5.1**
2.8
2.3
Females
3.6**
2.6**
1.8
Total
4.4**
2.7
2.1

16 to 17 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
8.4**
6.6
5.2
Females
7.3**
5.8
4.3
Total
7.8**
6.2
4.7

Total

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
6.0**
3.8
3.2
Females
4.7**
3.6**
2.5
Total
5.3**
3.7**
2.9

12 to 15 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
2.8**
1.3
1.0
Females
1.6**
1.1**
0.5
Total
2.2**
1.2**
0.7

16 to 17 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
3.4
2.8
2.3
Females
2.1
2.0
1.3
Total
2.8**
2.4
1.8

Total

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
3.0**
1.7
1.4
Females
1.8**
1.3**
0.8
Total
2.4**
1.5**
1.1

** Significantly different from 2011 p<0.01.

For 12- to 15-year-olds, lifetime use of amphetamines in 2011 was significantly lower than proportions found in 2005 (p<0.01) but not 2008. However the proportion of 12- to 15-year-old students using amphetamines in the month before the survey in 2011 was significantly lower than the proportion found in 2008 (p<0.01) and 2005 (p<0.01).

Among 16- to 17-year-olds, the proportion of students reporting lifetime use of amphetamines in 2011 was significantly lower than the proportion found in 2005 (p<0.01) but not 2008. This pattern of results was consistent for both males and females. The proportion of all 16- to 17-year-olds using amphetamines in the past month in 2011 was significantly lower than that found in 2005 (p<0.01), but not 2008.

Among all 12- to 17-year-olds, the proportion of students using amphetamines in their lifetime in 2011 was significantly lower than the proportion found in 2008 (p<0.01) and 2005 (p<0.01). Similarly, the proportion of all students reporting monthly use of amphetamines in 2011 was lower than the proportion found in 2008 (p<0.01) and 2005 (p<0.01).

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