Overview

Illicit use of drugs causes death and disability and is a risk factor for many diseases. It is also associated with risks to users' family and friends and to the community. Illicit use of drugs includes use of illegal drugs, misuse or non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs, or inappropriate use of other substances (such as inhalants).

More reports and statistics on illicit use of drugs can be found under Alcohol, Alcohol & other drug treatment services and Smoking.

Latest findings

Over the past 50 years, levels of apparent consumption of different alcoholic beverages changed substantially Support for legalisation of cannabis and use of it in clinical trials to treat medical conditions increased in 2016 People who inject drugs experience considerably poorer health outcomes than other drug users The non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs is an increasing public health problem in Australia Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia In 2016, recent use of cannabis was highest in NT, meth/amphetamine use was highest in WA, cocaine was highest in NSW Homosexual/bisexual people were 5.8 times as likely as heterosexual people to use ecstasy and meth/amphetamines Among current smokers, 3 in 10 tried to quit but did not succeed and about 1 in 3 do not intend to quit 1 in 5 meth/amphetamine users used the drug weekly or more often in 2016 Self-reported levels of psychological distress are increasing among recent users of tobacco and illicit drugs In 2016, about 1 in 8 Australians smoked daily while 6 in 10 had never smoked There is a strong link between problematic alcohol or other drug use and experiences of homelessness 10% of drinkers drove a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in 2016 but this declined from 12% in 2013 4 in 10 people either smoked daily, drank alcohol in risky quantities or used an illicit drug in the past 12 months Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Australia The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people smoking has declined significantly

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Highlights