National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

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

1. Introduction

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The Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug survey (ASSAD) is a triennial national survey of secondary school students’ use of licit and illicit substances. It was developed from a triennial national survey assessing students’ use of alcohol and tobacco that was conducted collaboratively by Cancer Councils across Australia, commencing in 1984. In 1996, the survey was expanded to include questions on the use of illicit substances, and federal, state and territory health departments became collaborators in the project. The ASSAD study was designed to provide estimates of the current prevalence of use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit substances among Australian secondary school students, and to examine trends in their substance use.

The design of the 2011 ASSAD survey was the same as in previous survey years. Just under 25,000 secondary students aged 12 to 17 years completed the survey in 2011, making it the largest survey of substance use among secondary students in Australia. The sample was based on secondary schools throughout Australia so adolescents who are not at school are not included in the survey.

The 2011 survey was the tenth conducted in this survey series. Previous surveys were conducted in 1984, 1987, 1990 and 1993 (alcohol and tobacco only), and 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008 (including over-the-counter and illicit substances).

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