Australian school students aged 12-17 years

What proportion of Australian school students aged 12-17 years drink alcohol?

Almost half (45%) of 12-17 year old school students have consumed alcohol in the past year, a quarter (25%) have done so in the past month, and 15% have done so in the past week. Approximately one third (32%) of Australian school students aged 12-17 years have never consumed alcohol.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as drinking categories (past week, past month, & past year) overlap.

The proportion of school students who have ‘never consumed’ alcohol differs from the proportion of ‘abstainers’ among young people in the general population due to the use of different survey measures. In the secondary students’ survey (ASSAD), those who have never consumed alcohol are defined as those who had not had even a sip of an alcoholic drink in their lifetime. In the general population survey (NDSHS), abstainers are those who have never had a full serve of alcohol.

Proportions of school students drinking yearly, monthly, or weekly also differ from proportions of young people in the general population who drink yearly, monthly, or weekly due to differences in survey measures. The ASSAD measure indicates any alcohol use (even one drink) and the proportions overlap. The NDSHS measures indicate usual drinking frequency over the past 12 months and proportions do not overlap.

Are male or female Australian school students aged 12-17 years more likely to drink alcohol?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years, boys and girls are equally likely to have drunk alcohol in the past year, past month and past week.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as drinking categories (past week, past month, & past year) overlap.

The proportion of school students who have ‘never consumed’ alcohol differs from the proportion of ‘abstainers’ among young people in the general population due to the use of different survey measures. In the secondary students’ survey (ASSAD), those who have never consumed alcohol are defined as those who had not had even a sip of an alcoholic drink in their lifetime. In the general population survey (NDSHS), abstainers are those who have never had a full serve of alcohol.

Proportions of school students drinking yearly, monthly, or weekly also differ from proportions of young people in the general population who drink yearly, monthly, or weekly due to differences in survey measures. The ASSAD measure indicates any alcohol use (even one drink) and the proportions overlap. The NDSHS measures indicate usual drinking frequency over the past 12 months and proportions do not overlap.

Are younger or older Australian school students aged 12-17 years more likely to drink alcohol?

The likelihood of Australian school students aged 12-17 years consuming alcohol increases with age. Those who are younger are more likely to have never consumed alcohol. Older students are more likely to have consumed alcohol in the past year, past month and past week compared to younger students.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as drinking categories (past week, past month, & past year) overlap.

The proportion of school students who have ‘never consumed’ alcohol differs from the proportion of ‘abstainers’ among young people in the general population due to the use of different survey measures. In the secondary students’ survey (ASSAD), those who have never consumed alcohol are defined as those who had not had even a sip of an alcoholic drink in their lifetime. In the general population survey (NDSHS), abstainers are those who have never had a full serve of alcohol.

Proportions of school students drinking yearly, monthly, or weekly also differ from proportions of young people in the general population who drink yearly, monthly, or weekly due to differences in survey measures. The ASSAD measure indicates any alcohol use (even one drink) and the proportions overlap. The NDSHS measures indicate usual drinking frequency over the past 12 months and proportions do not overlap.

When Australian school students aged 12-17 years drink alcohol, what is the average amount consumed each week?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who consumed alcohol in the past week, the average number of alcohol drinks consumed was 6.0.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: These data differ from quantity of consumption data presented for young people in the general population due to differences in measures. In the secondary students’ survey (ASSAD), data measures indicate the average amount of alcohol consumed over a week. In the general population survey (NDSHS), data measures indicate the amount of alcohol usually consumed on a single drinking occasion.

When Australian school students aged 12-17 years drink alcohol, do males or females consume more each week?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who consumed alcohol in the past week, boys consumed more alcohol drinks on average than girls (7.3 vs. 4.8 drinks, respectively).

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: These data differ from quantity of consumption data presented for young people in the general population due to differences in measures. In the secondary students’ survey (ASSAD), data measures indicate the average amount of alcohol consumed over a week. In the general population survey (NDSHS), data measures indicate the amount of alcohol usually consumed on a single drinking occasion.

When Australian school students aged 12-17 years drink alcohol, does the amount consumed per week differ by age?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who consumed alcohol in the past week, the average number of drinks consumed over the week increased with age: 12-15 year olds consumed an average of 4.7 drinks, while 16-17 year olds consumed an average of 6.8 drinks.  

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: These data differ from quantity of consumption data presented for young people in the general population due to differences in measures. In the secondary students’ survey (ASSAD), data measures indicate the average amount of alcohol consumed over a week. In the general population survey (NDSHS), data measures indicate the amount of alcohol usually consumed on a single drinking occasion.

What proportion of Australian school students aged 12-17 years drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of injury?

Approximately a third (32%) of Australian school students aged 12-17 years have ever drunk alcohol at levels that increased their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury. Eleven percent of students drank at short-term risky levels in the past fortnight; 17% did so in the past month; and 29% did so in the past year.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Short-Term Risk of Alcohol-Related Injury: Current Australian alcohol guidelines state that drinking five or more standard drinks on any single occasion significantly increases short-term risk of alcohol-related injury.

Are male or female school students aged 12-17 years more likely to drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of injury?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years, boys are slightly more likely than girls to drink at levels that increase short-term risk of alcohol-related injury.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Short-Term Risk of Alcohol-Related Injury: Current Australian alcohol guidelines state that drinking five or more standard drinks on any single occasion significantly increases short-term risk of alcohol-related injury.

Are younger or older Australian school students aged 12-17 years more likely to drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of injury?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years, older students were more likely than younger students to drink at levels that increased their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Short-Term Risk of Alcohol-Related Injury: Current Australian alcohol guidelines state that drinking five or more standard drinks on any single occasion significantly increases short-term risk of alcohol-related injury.

Which alcohol beverages do Australian school students aged 12-17 years usually drink?

Australian school students aged 12-17 years who drank alcohol in the past week usually drank premixed spirits (35%), followed by spirits (21%), and beer (17%).

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as only the six most common beverage types selected are reported. 

Data presented here concerns students who drank alcohol in the past week and excludes those who selected more than one beverage type. These data differ from NDSHS data concerning beverage types usually consumed by young people in the general population, which include those who drank in the past 12 months and those who selected more than one beverage type.

Do male and female Australian school students aged 12-17 years usually drink different alcohol beverages?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who consumed alcohol in the past week, girls usually drank premixed spirits (42%) followed by spirits (23%) while boys usually drank beer (29%) followed by premixed spirits (28%).

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as only the six most common beverage types selected are reported. 

Data presented here concerns students who drank alcohol in the past week and excludes those who selected more than one beverage type. These data differ from NDSHS data concerning beverage types usually consumed by young people in the general population, which include those who drank in the past 12 months and those who selected more than one beverage type.

Do younger and older Australian school students aged 12-17 years usually drink different alcohol beverages?

Both younger and older Australian school students aged 12-17 years who drank alcohol in the past week usually drank premixed spirits. Wine was more common among younger students, while alcoholic cider was more common among older students.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as only the six most common beverage types selected are reported. 

Data presented here concerns students who drank alcohol in the past week and excludes those who selected more than one beverage type. These data differ from NDSHS data concerning beverage types usually consumed by young people in the general population, which include those who drank in the past 12 months and those who selected more than one beverage type.

Where do Australian school students aged 12-17 years drink alcohol?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who drank alcohol in the past week, 35% had their last drink at a party, 31% had their last drink at home, and 18% had their last drink at a friend’s house.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as only the three most common locations are reported. 

These data exclude students who reported multiple drinking locations and differ from NDSHS data concerning young people in the general population where reported data include multiple responses.

Do male and female Australian school students aged 12-17 years drink alcohol in different locations?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who drank alcohol in the past week, both boys and girls were most likely to drink at a party. Drinking at home was slightly more common among boys, while drinking at a friend’s house was slightly more common among girls.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as only the three most common locations are reported. 

These data exclude students who reported multiple drinking locations and differ from NDSHS data concerning young people in the general population where reported data include multiple responses.

Do younger and older Australian school students aged 12-17 years drink alcohol in different locations?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who drank alcohol in the past week, younger students tended to drink at home, while older students tended to drink at parties.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2016). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2014.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as only the three most common of 14 potential locations are reported. 

These data exclude students who reported multiple drinking locations and differ from NDSHS data concerning young people in the general population where reported data include multiple responses.