Australian school students aged 12-17 years

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

Twenty-six percent of Australian school students aged 12-17 years have never consumed alcohol.  Of those who have, 51% consumed alcohol in the past year; 29% consumed alcohol in the past month; and 17% consumed alcohol in the past week.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

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

The proportion of school students who have consumed alcohol differs from the proportion of young people in the general population who have consumed alcohol (see FAQ What proportion of Australians aged 12-17 years drink alcohol?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents data on any alcohol use (even one drink), and the weekly/monthly/yearly categories are not mutually exclusive. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents data on usual drinking frequency during the past 12 months, and the categories are mutually exclusive.

In addition, the proportion of school students who have ‘never consumed’ alcohol differs from the proportion of ‘abstainers’ among young people in the general population. In the school students’ survey (ASSAD), those who have never consumed alcohol are determined by the question: “Have you ever had even a part of an alcoholic drink (including a few sips)?”.  By contrast, in the general population survey (NDSHS), abstainers are determined by the questions: “Have you ever tried alcohol?”, “Have you ever had a full serve of alcohol?” and “Have you had an alcohol drink of any kind in the last 12 months?”.

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

Australian male and female students aged 12-17 years are equally likely to have drunk alcohol in the past year, past month and past week.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

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

The proportion of school students who have consumed alcohol differs from the proportion of young people in the general population who have consumed alcohol (see FAQ Are male or female Australians aged 12-17 years more likely to drink alcohol?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents data on any alcohol use (even one drink), and the weekly/monthly/yearly categories are not mutually exclusive. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents data on usual drinking frequency during the past 12 months, and the categories are mutually exclusive.

In addition, the proportion of school students who have ‘never consumed’ alcohol differs from the proportion of ‘abstainers’ among young people in the general population. In the school students’ survey (ASSAD), those who have never consumed alcohol are determined by the question: “Have you ever had even a part of an alcoholic drink (including a few sips)?”.  By contrast, in the general population survey (NDSHS), abstainers are determined by the questions: “Have you ever tried alcohol?”, “Have you ever had a full serve of alcohol?” and “Have you had an alcohol drink of any kind in the last 12 months?”.

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

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years, the likelihood of 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 (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

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

The proportion of school students who have consumed alcohol differs from the proportion of young people in the general population who have consumed alcohol (see FAQ Are younger or older Australians aged 12-17 years more likely to drink alcohol?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents data on any alcohol use (even one drink), and the weekly/monthly/yearly categories are not mutually exclusive. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents data on usual drinking frequency during the past 12 months, and the categories are mutually exclusive.

In addition, the proportion of school students who have ‘never consumed’ alcohol differs from the proportion of ‘abstainers’ among young people in the general population. In the school students’ survey (ASSAD), those who have never consumed alcohol are determined by the question: “Have you ever had even a part of an alcoholic drink (including a few sips)?”.  By contrast, in the general population survey (NDSHS), abstainers are determined by the questions: “Have you ever tried alcohol?”, “Have you ever had a full serve of alcohol?” and “Have you had an alcohol drink of any kind in the last 12 months?”.

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 over the week was 6.6.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

Please note: The quantity of alcohol consumed by school students differs from the quantity consumed by young people in the general population (see FAQ When Australians aged 12-17 years drink alcohol, how much do they consume?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents data on the average amount of alcohol consumed over a week. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents data on the amount of alcohol usually consumed on a 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, males drank more than females (average of 7.6 vs. 5.6 drinks per week, respectively).

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

Please note: The quantity of alcohol consumed by school students differs from the quantity consumed by young people in the general population (see FAQ When Australians aged 12-17 years drink alcohol, do males or females drink more?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents data on the average amount of alcohol consumed over a week. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents data on the amount of alcohol usually consumed on a 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.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

Please note: The quantity of alcohol consumed by school students differs from the quantity consumed by young people in the general population (see FAQ Do younger or older Australians aged 12-17 years drink more alcohol?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents data on the average amount of alcohol consumed over a week. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents data on the amount of alcohol usually consumed on a drinking occasion. 

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

Approximately 6% of Australian school students aged 12-17 years drank at levels that increased their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury in the past week.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

Please note: The proportion of school students who drink at risky levels differs from the proportion of young people in the general population who drink at risky levels (see FAQ What proportion of Australians aged 12-17 years drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of injury?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents data on short-term risky drinking during the past week. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents data on short-term risky drinking on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

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 who drank alcohol in the past week, males were more likely than females to drink at levels that increased their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

Please note: The proportion of school students who drink at risky levels differs from the proportion of young people in the general population who drink at risky levels (see FAQ Are Australian males or females aged 12-17 years more likely to drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of injury?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents data on short-term risky drinking during the past week. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents data on short-term risky drinking on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

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 who drank alcohol in the past week, 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 (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

Please note: The proportion of school students who drink at risky levels differs from the proportion of young people in the general population who drink at risky levels (see FAQ Are younger or older Australians aged 12-17 years more likely to drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of injury?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents data on short-term risky drinking during the past week. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents data on short-term risky drinking on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

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?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who drank alcohol in the past week, the largest proportion usually drank premixed spirits (37%), followed by spirits (27%), and beer (18%)

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

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

The beverage types usually consumed by school students differ from the beverage types usually consumed by young people in the general population (see FAQ Which alcohol beverages do Australians aged 12-17 years usually drink?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents the preferred beverage type of students who drank alcohol in the past week, excluding those who selected more than one beverage type. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents the preferred beverage type of students who drank alcohol in the past 12 months (including 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 drank alcohol in the past week, female students usually consumed premixed spirits (44%) followed by spirits (30%), while male students usually consumed premixed spirits (30%) and full-strength beer (30%), followed by spirits (24%).

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

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

The beverage types usually consumed by school students differ from the beverage types usually consumed by young people in the general population (see FAQ Do male and female Australians aged 12-17 years usually drink different alcohol beverages?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents the preferred beverage type of students who drank alcohol in the past week, excluding those who selected more than one beverage type. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents the preferred beverage type of students who drank alcohol in the past 12 months (including those who selected more than one beverage type). 

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

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who drank alcohol in the past week, both younger and older students usually drank premixed spirits.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

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

The beverage types usually consumed by school students differ from the beverage types usually consumed by young people in the general population (see FAQ Do younger and older Australians aged 12-17 years usually drink different alcohol beverages?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents the preferred beverage type of students who drank alcohol in the past week, excluding those who selected more than one beverage type. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents the preferred beverage type of students who drank alcohol in the past 12 months (including 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, 34% had their last drink at a party, 30% had their last drink at home, and 17% had their last drink at a friend’s house. 

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

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

The locations where school students consume alcohol differ from the locations where young people in the general population consume alcohol (see FAQ Where do Australians aged 12-17 years drink alcohol?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) asks respondents to select one of 14 locations of use, and excludes students who reported multiple drinking locations. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) asks respondents to select one (or more) of 11 locations of use. 

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

Male and female Australian school students aged 12-17 years who drank alcohol in the past week tended to drink in similar locations. 

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

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

The locations where school students consume alcohol differ from the locations where young people in the general population consume alcohol (see FAQ Do male and female Australians aged 12-17 years drink alcohol in different locations?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) asks respondents to select one of 14 locations of use, and excludes students who reported multiple drinking locations. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) asks respondents to select one (or more) of 11 locations of use. 

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 (2012). Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011.

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

The locations where school students consume alcohol differ from the locations where young people in the general population consume alcohol (see FAQ Do younger or older Australians aged 12-17 years drink alcohol in different locations?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) asks respondents to select one of 14 locations of use, and excludes students who reported multiple drinking locations. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) asks respondents to select one (or more) of 11 locations of use.