National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

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

5.9 Cocaine

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Table 5.18 illustrates the use of cocaine over lifetime, past year and past month by age and gender.

Table 5.18: Cocaine: Percentage of students in each age and gender grouping using cocaine in each recency category, Australia, 2011#

Never used
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
98.9
99.2
98.0
96.8
97.4
96.6
97.9
Females
99.6
99.0
98.7
98.7
98.2
98.4
98.8
Total
99.3
99.1
98.3
97.8
97.8
97.6
98.3
Ever used
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
1.1
0.8
2.0
3.2
2.6
3.4
2.1
Females
0.4
1.0
1.3
1.3
1.8
1.6
1.2
Total
0.7
0.9
1.7
2.2
2.2
2.4
1.7
Past year
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
0.5
0.6
1.4
1.7
1.8
2.7
1.4
Females
0.4
0.7
1.0
1.0
1.3
1.3
0.9
Total
0.4
0.6
1.2
1.4
1.5
2.0
1.1
Past month
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
0.3
0.2
0.9
0.7
1.3
1.8
0.8
Females
0.1
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.5
0.4
0.4
Total
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.5
0.9
1.1
0.6

# 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.

As with opiate use, in 2011, most secondary school students had never tried cocaine. Less than two per cent of all students had ever used cocaine and the proportions across age groups ranged from one to two per cent.

Around one per cent of students had used cocaine in the month before the survey.
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Regularity of use: Cocaine use was infrequent among the one per cent of students who reported using in the past year. Around 53% of males and 57% of females who reported using cocaine in the previous year had used it only once or twice.

5.9.1 Changes in the prevalence of cocaine use between 2005 and 2011

The proportion of students reporting to have used cocaine in 2005, 2008 and 2011 are shown in Table 5.19.

Table 5.19: Percentage of students who had used cocaine in their life and in the past month in 2005, 2008 and 2011, Australia

12 to 15 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
3.3**
2.1
1.8
Female
2.0**
1.7**
1.0
Total
2.6**
1.9
1.4

16 to 17 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
4.1
4.6**
2.9
Female
3.0**
2.9**
1.7
Total
3.5**
3.7**
2.3

Total

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
3.5**
2.8
2.1
Female
2.3**
2.1**
1.2
Total
2.9**
2.4**
1.7

12 to 15 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
2.1**
1.2**
0.5
Female
0.8**
0.7**
0.3
Total
1.4**
1.0**
0.4

16 to 17 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
1.8
2.1
1.5
Female
0.5
0.7
0.4
Total
1.1
1.4
1.0

Total

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
2.0**
1.5**
0.8
Female
0.7**
0.7**
0.4
Total
1.3**
1.1**
0.6

** Significantly different from 2011 at p <0.01.

Among 12- to 15-year-olds, there was a significant decrease in the proportion of students reporting to have used cocaine in their lifetime between 2005 and 2011 (p<0.01). The proportion of 12- to 15-year-old students reporting to use cocaine in the month before the survey in 2011 was significantly lower than the proportions reporting to use this substance in both 2005 and 2008 (p<0.01).

Among 16- and 17-year-olds, the proportion of students reporting to have used cocaine in their lifetime in 2011 was significantly lower than the proportions found in both 2008 and 2005 (p<0.01). However there was no difference in the proportion of students reporting to have used cocaine in the past month between 2011 and both 2008 and 2005.

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