Use Patterns

This section provides information about the ways in which Australians use methamphetamine. It addresses how much and how often Australians use methamphetamine, the most common types used, and methods and locations of use.

This section 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’ patterns of methamphetamine use.

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.

What proportion of Australians have used meth/amphetamine?

Seven percent of Australians have used meth/amphetamine in their lifetime, 2.1% have used in the past 12 months, 0.8% have used in the past month, and 0.4% have used in the past week.

 

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

† 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.

Has the prevalence of meth/amphetamine use in Australia changed over time?

The proportion of Australians who had used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months was highest in 1998 (3.7%). Since then, the prevalence of meth/amphetamine use has decreased over time and has been stable at 2.1% since 2010.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

† 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.

Are men or women in Australia more likely to have used meth/amphetamine?

Australian men are more likely than women to have used meth/amphetamine in their lifetime, the past 12 months, the past month and the past week.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

† 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.

Are younger or older Australians more likely to have used meth/amphetamine?

Australians aged 25-29 years are more likely than other age groups to have used meth/amphetamine in their lifetime, the past 12 months, the past month, and the past week.

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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

What is the average age at which Australians start to use meth/amphetamine?

Among Australians (aged 14 years and older) who have ever used meth/amphetamine, the average age at which they first tried it was 22 years.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

† 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.

What is the main form of meth/amphetamine used by Australians?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, half (50%) reported that crystal methamphetamine (ice) was the main form that they used. Powder was the main form used by 29%.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

† 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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

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

Has the main form of meth/amphetamine used by Australians changed over time?

In 2007, the majority (51%) of Australians who had used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months reported that powder was the main form that they used. By contrast, in 2013 crystal methamphetamine (ice) was the main form used by most users (50%).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

† 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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

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

Do men and women in Australia use different forms of meth/amphetamine?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, both men (50%) and women (52%) mainly used crystal methamphetamine (ice).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

† 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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

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

Do younger and older Australians use different forms of meth/amphetamine?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, those aged less than 40 years were more likely to use crystal methamphetamine (ice) as their main form. Those aged 40 years and older were more likely than other age groups to use speed as their main form.

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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding. The category ‘speed’ includes powder, tablets, and capsules.

How do Australians use meth/amphetamine?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, the largest proportion (41%) reported that smoking was their main method of use, followed by swallowing (26%). One in ten (10%) users injected 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.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

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

Do men and women in Australia use meth/amphetamine differently?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, the largest proportion of both men and women (41%) reported that smoking was their main method of use.

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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

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

Do younger and older Australians use meth/amphetamine differently?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, younger age groups (

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2010 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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

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

Does meth/amphetamine use in Australia vary by geographic location?

Australians living in outer regional/remote/very remote locations are more likely to have used meth/amphetaminein their lifetime and in the past 12 months, compared to Australians living in major cities or inner regional locations.

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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Does meth/amphetamine use in Australia vary by geographic location and gender?

Australian men, regardless of where they live, are more likely than women to have used meth/amphetaminein their lifetime. In particular, men living in outer regional/remote/very remote locations are most likely to have used methamphetamine.

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.

Does meth/amphetamine use in Australia vary by geographic location and age?

In all geographic locations, Australians aged 25-29 years are the age group most likely to have used meth/amphetaminein their lifetime. In all age groups, meth/amphetamine use is most likely in outer regional/remote/very remote locations. Approximately one in five Australians aged 25-29 years living in outer regional/remote/very remote locations have used meth/amphetamine in their lifetime.

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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Does meth/amphetamine use in Australia vary by jurisdiction?

Australians living in Western Australia and the Northern Territory are most likely to have used meth/amphetaminein their lifetime. Australians living in Western Australia are also most likely to have used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months. Australians living in New South Wales are the least likely to have used meth/amphetamine in their lifetime and in the past 12 months.

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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Where do Australians obtain meth/amphetamine?

The majority (57%) of Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months usually obtained it from a friend. Dealers were the usual source of meth/amphetamine for 31% of users.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

† 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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

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

How often do Australians use meth/amphetamine?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, approximately half (48%) used it once or twice per year. Sixteen percent used meth/amphetamine once per week or more.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

† 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 men or women in Australia use meth/amphetamine more often?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, women were more likely than men to use very frequently (once per week or more) and very infrequently (once or twice per year). Men were more likely than women to use every few months.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

† 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.

Do younger or older Australians use meth/amphetamine more often?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, older age groups were more likely than younger age groups to use infrequently (once or twice per year).

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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

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

How much meth/amphetamine do Australians usually use?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, the largest proportion (36%) usually used 0.1 grams or less per occasion of use.

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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

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

Do men or women in Australia use more meth/amphetamine?

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, the largest proportion of both men and women used an average of 0.1 grams or less per occasion of use.

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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Do younger or older Australians use more meth/amphetamine?

Younger Australians (aged 14-17 years) who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months were more likely than older age groups to use small amounts (0.1 gram or less) 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.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

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