Australian school students aged 12-17 years

What proportion of Australian school students aged 12-17 years have used cannabis?

The majority (83%) of Australian school students aged 12-17 years have never used cannabis. Fifteen percent have used cannabis in the past year; 8% in the past month; and 5% in the past week.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria. (2018). ASSAD 2017 Statistics and Trends: Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and illicit substances.

Please note: The proportion of school students who have used cannabis in the past year, past month, and past week differs from the proportion of youth in the general population who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, and past week (see FAQ: What proportion of Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years has used cannabis?). These differences may be due to differences in survey measures.  In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, respondents are asked about their frequency of use (none to 40 times or more) in the past year, past month, and past week. In the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey), respondents are simply asked if they had used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, or past week.

Are male or female Australian school students aged 12-17 years more likely to have used cannabis?

Australian school boys aged 12-17 years are more likely than school girls to have ever used cannabis, and to have used in the past year, past month, and past week.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria. (2018). ASSAD 2017 Statistics and Trends: Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and illicit substances.

Please note: The proportion of school students who have used cannabis in the past year, past month, and past week differs from the proportion of youth in the general population who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, and past week (see FAQ: Are male or female Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years more likely to have used cannabis?). These differences may be due to differences in survey measures. In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, respondents are asked about their frequency of use (none to 40 times or more) in the past year, past month, and past week. In the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey), respondents are simply asked if they had used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, or past week.

Are younger or older Australian school students aged 12-17 years more likely to have used cannabis?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years, cannabis use increases with age. Older students are more likely to have used cannabis in their lifetime, in the past year, past month and past week compared to younger students.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria. (2018). ASSAD 2017 Statistics and Trends: Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and illicit substances.

Please note: The proportion of school students who have used cannabis in the past year, past month, and past week differs from the proportion of youth in the general population who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, and past week (see FAQ: Are younger or older Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years more likely to have used cannabis?). These differences may be due to differences in survey measures. In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, respondents are asked about their frequency of use (none to 40 times or more) in the past year, past month, and past week. In the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey), respondents are simply asked if they had used cannabis in the past 12 months, past month, or past week.

What proportion of Australian school students aged 12-17 years regularly use cannabis?

Approximately 5% of Australian school students aged 12-17 years are regular cannabis users.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2018). ASSAD 2017 Statistics and Trends: Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and illicit substances. (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

Please note: The proportion of school students who regularly used cannabis differs from the proportion of youth in the general population who regularly used cannabis due to differences in survey measures (see FAQ: What proportion of Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years regularly use cannabis?). In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, regular use is defined as using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year, while in the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey) regular use is defined as using 12 or more times in the past 12 months.

Regular Cannabis Use: Regular cannabis use refers to using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year (in the case of ASSAD data), or at least once per month or 12 times in the past year (in the case of NDSHS data).

Are male or female school students aged 12-17 years more likely to regularly use cannabis?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years, 6% of boys and 4% of girls are regular cannabis users.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2018). ASSAD 2017 Statistics and Trends: Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and illicit substances. (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

Please note: The proportion of school students who regularly used cannabis differs from the proportion of youth in the general population who regularly used cannabis due to differences in survey measures (see FAQ: Are male or female Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years more likely to regularly use cannabis?). In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, regular use is defined as using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year, while in the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey) regular use is defined as using 12 or more times in the past 12 months.

Regular Cannabis Use: Regular cannabis use refers to using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year (in the case of ASSAD data), or at least once per month or 12 times in the past year (in the case of NDSHS data).

Are younger or older school students aged 12-17 years more likely to regularly use cannabis?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who used cannabis in the past year, the proportion of regular cannabis users increases with age (10% of 12 year olds vs 37% of 17 year olds).

Source: Cancer Council Victoria. (2018). ASSAD 2017 Statistics and Trends: Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and illicit substances.

Please note: The proportion of school students who regularly used cannabis differs from the proportion of youth in the general population who regularly used cannabis due to differences in survey measures (see FAQ: Are younger or older Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years more likely to regularly use cannabis?). In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, regular use is defined as using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year, while in the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey) regular use is defined as using 12 or more times in the past 12 months.

Regular Cannabis Use: Regular cannabis use refers to using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year (in the case of ASSAD data), or at least once per month or 12 times in the past year (in the case of NDSHS data).

What are the most common ways Australian school students aged 12-17 years use cannabis?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who used cannabis in the past year, 50% smoked it in a bong and 33% smoked it as a joint.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria (2018). ASSAD 2017 Statistics and Trends: Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and illicit substances. (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

Please note: The proportion of school students who used bongs and joints differs from the proportion of youth in the general population who used bongs or joints due to differences in survey measures (see FAQ: What are the most common ways Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years use cannabis?). In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, respondents could only select one of four different methods of use and data presented concerns only those who regularly use and the two most common forms of use.  In the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey), respondents could select more than one of the five methods of use and data presented concerns those who have used at least once in the past 12 months.

Where do Australian school students aged 12-17 years usually use cannabis?

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years who used cannabis in the past year, 33% typically used at a friend’s home, 18% at parties, 15% in their own home, and 12% in a park.

Source: Cancer Council Victoria. (2018). ASSAD 2017 Statistics and Trends: Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and illicit substances.

Please note: The proportion of school students who used cannabis at different locations differs from the proportion of youth in the general population who used cannabis at different locations due to differences in survey measures (see FAQ: Where do Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years usually use cannabis?). In the Australian Secondary School Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey, respondents could only select one of four different methods of use and data presented concerns only those who regularly use and the two most common forms of use.  In the general population survey (National Drug Strategy Household Survey), respondents could select more than one of the five methods of use and data presented concerns those who have used at least once in the past 12 months.