Introduction

The consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is a major cause of preventable disease and illness in Australia. There are a wide range of data sources available that contribute to our understanding of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. This web report is intended to be a general reference for contemporary data on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in Australia. This report consolidates the most recently available information regarding the use of tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, meth/amphetamines and other stimulants, the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs, illicit opioids (including heroin) and new (and emerging) psychoactive substances (NPS).

Key trends in the availability, consumption, harms and treatment are identified and detailed data are presented for vulnerable populations. These population groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people experiencing homelessness, older people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ), people in contact with the criminal justice system, people with mental health conditions, younger people and people who inject drugs.

This report is accompanied by online supplementary data tables and a series of fact sheets for each drug type and population group. The report is regularly updated; please refer to the notes page for information on which pages have been updated.

The data presented in this report are from a range of different data sources and reflect the latest information available. As such, there are differences in the source year and frequency of publication—please refer to the Summary of main data sources used in this report for more information.

Content is correct as at 26 November 2020. Reports released after this date will be updated in the next scheduled release.

Tobacco

The set of 3 tobacco monopoly cards show tobacco is the leading cause of cancer in Australia and contributes 22%25 of cancer burden, daily smoking rates have declined from 24.3%25 in 1991 to 11%25 in 2019 and the third card is a link to further tobacco and alcohol information.

> more Tobacco data
(updated 11 September 2020)

Click to explore data - tobacco interactive dashboard. Alcohol interactive dashboard.

Alcohol

In the set of 3 alcohol cards, the first card shows a line graph depicting the overall consumption of alcohol has remained stable between 1968 and 2018 (down from 10.8 to 9.5 litres per capita) while the consumption of beer has declined from 7.9 to 3.7 litres per capita and wine consumption has increased from 1.6 to 3.7 litres per capita.
The second card shows a vertical bar chart depicting lifetime risky drinking declining from 17.2%25 in 2016 to 16.8%25 in 2019 and single occasion risky drinking falling from 25.7%25 in 2016 to 24.8%25 in 2019.
The third card states that 36%25 of treatment episodes were for clients who sought treatment for alcohol as their principal drug of concern.

> more Alcohol data
(updated 11 September 2020)

Selected drugs

This card shows a horizontal bar chart depicting cannabis as the most commonly used illicit drug (11.6%25) ahead of cocaine, ecstasy and hallucinogens (4.2%25, 3.0%25 and 1.6%25 respectively).

> more Cannabis data
(updated 11 September 2020)

The methamphetamine card shows that deaths from methamphetamines were 4 times higher in 2018 than in 1999.

> more Methamphetamine data
(updated 11 September 2020)

This card states that less than 1%25 of the general population reported the recent use of synthetic cannabinoids.

> more Psychoactive substance data
(updated 11 September 2020)

The heroin card shows a line graph depicting an almost continual annual decrease in the number of closed treatment episodes with heroin as the principal drug of concern, falling from 9.9%25 of treatment episodes in 2009–10 to 5.2%25 of treatment episodes in 2018–19. The exception to the decrease was a rise to 5.5%25 in 2017–18.
> more Heroin data
(updated 11 September 2020)

The final card in this group has 2 links, the first to further information on illicit drugs and the second link to further information on treatment.

Populations

This card shows a vertical bar chart depicting tobacco use declining from 49.8%25 in 2008 to 43.4%25 in 2018–19 and lifetime risky alcohol use declining from 19.2%25 in 2008 to 18.4%25 in 2018–19.

> more Indigenous data
(updated 11 September 2020)

This card states that 10%25 of clients presenting to specialist homelessness services reported problematic alcohol and other drug use in 2019–20.

> more Homelessness data
(updated 15 December 2020)

This card shows a line graph depicting a rise in recent use of illicit drugs among older people. Between 2001 and 2019, those aged between 50–59 who reported recent use of illicit drugs increased from 6.7%25 to 13.1%25 and those aged over 60 increased from 3.9%25 to 7.2%25.

> more Older people data
(updated 11 September 2020)

This card shows a line graph depicting a rise in people aged 14–17 and 18–24 abstaining from alcohol. Between 2007 and 2019, those aged 14–17 who reported alcohol abstinence increased from 39.1%25 to 72.5%25, and those aged 18–24 increased from 13.1%25 to 20.8%25.

> more Younger people data
(updated 11 September 2020)

This card shows that people from CALD backgrounds were less likely than English speakers to drink at risky levels or use drugs. In 2019, 6.4%25 of people from CALD backgrounds reported recent illicit drug use compared to 18.7%25 of English speakers. English speakers were more likely to exceed lifetime alcohol risk guidelines (18.8%25) than people from CALD backgrounds (3.8%25). English speakers were also more likely to report single occasion alcohol risk (29.3%25) than people from CALD backgrounds (7.5%25).

> more CALD background data
(updated 11 September 2020)

This card shows that in 2019, 33%25 of police detainees reported that illicit drug use contributed to their offending.

> more Criminal justice data
(updated 15 December 2020)

This card shows that in 2019, people identifying as homosexual or bisexual were more likely than heterosexual people to use illicit drugs (36%25 and 16.1%25 respectively).

> more LGBTIQ data
(updated 11 September 2020)

This card shows that 45%25 of IDRS respondents experienced an injection-related health problem in the last month.

> more PWID data
(updated 11 September 2020)

This card shows that people with mental health conditions were more likely to report daily smoking or recent drug use than people without mental health conditions (26.2%25 and 15.2%25 respectively). People with mental health conditions were also more likely to report being daily smokers than people without mental health conditions (20.2%25 and 9.9%25).

> more Mental health data
(updated 11 September 2020)