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

Among Australians who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months, those aged 18 years and above typically used crystal methamphetamine (ice) as their main form. Ice use was less prevalent among those aged 14-17 years.

11%** of Australians aged 14-17 years who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months used crystal/ice as their main form; 27%** used speed; 0% used base; and 61%* used other forms. 48% of Australians aged 18-24 years who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months used crystal/ice; 41% used speed; 0% used base; and 12%** used other forms. 57% of Australians aged 25-29 years who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months used crystal/ice as their main form; 28% used speed, 0% used base, and 15%* used other forms. 64% of Australians aged 30-39 years who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months used crystal/ice as their main form; 23% used speed; 4%** used base; and 10%* used other forms. 61% of Australians aged 40+ years who used meth/amphetamine in the past 12 months used crystal/ice as their main form; 29% used speed; 2%** used base; and 8%* used other forms.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2018).

† 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. For the purposes of this FAQ, ‘ice’ refers to the crystalline form of meth/amphetamine commonly known as ice. ‘Speed’ includes powder, tablet, and capsule forms of meth/amphetamine; ‘base’ includes base, paste, and pure; and ‘other’ includes liquid, prescription amphetamines (for non-medical purposes), and other forms of meth/amphetamine.