Australians' Attitudes Towards Methamphetamine

This section provides an overview of Australians’ attitudes regarding methamphetamine use and methamphetamine-related legislation.

It draws on data from individuals aged 14 years and older, from the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2014). The NDSHS is a triennial general population survey of Australians' awareness, attitudes, and behaviours relating to alcohol and other drug use. It is the best data source available to provide a national population demographic profile of Australians’ attitudes towards methamphetamine.

To be consistent with terminology used in the NDSHS, this section of the NADK uses the term meth/amphetamine. The NDSHS defines meth/amphetamine as including speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin®, and pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Do Australians think meth/amphetamine is the drug that causes most deaths in Australia?

When Australians were asked which drug they think directly or indirectly causes the most deaths in Australia, 9% chose meth/amphetamine. Most people thought that alcohol (34%) or tobacco (32%) cause most deaths. 

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

† Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.

Do Australians consider meth/amphetamine use to be a problem?

When Australians were asked which drug they first think of when people talk about “a drug problem”, 22% chose meth/amphetamine. Slightly more chose heroin (26%) or cannabis (23%).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

† Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.

Do Australians consider meth/amphetamine to be the drug of most serious concern to the community?

When Australians were asked which form of drug use they thought was of most serious concern for the general community, 16% chose meth/amphetamine.  A larger proportion (43%) thought that excessive drinking of alcohol was the most serious concern.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

† Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.

Do Australians approve or disapprove of the personal use of meth/amphetamine?

The majority of Australians (89%) disapprove of the personal use of meth/amphetamine for non-medical purposes.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

† Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Please Note: Data presented here differ from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report, due to different analysis methodologies. The AIHW analysis excluded the “don’t know enough to say” category, thus changing the proportions in the remaining response categories.

Do Australians support or oppose legalising the personal use of meth/amphetamine?

Most Australians (84%) oppose legalising the personal use of meth/amphetamine.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

† Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding. Data presented here differ slightly from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report, due to different analysis methodologies. The AIHW analysis excluded the “don’t know enough to say” category, thus changing the proportions in the remaining response categories.

Do Australians support or oppose increased penalties for the sale or supply of meth/amphetamine?

The majority of Australians (79%) support increased penalties for the sale or supply of meth/amphetamine.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

† Meth/amphetamine: This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding. Data presented here differ slightly from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report, due to different analysis methodologies. The AIHW analysis excluded the “don’t know enough to say” category, thus changing the proportions in the remaining response categories.