Are younger or older Australians more likely to be hospitalised due to stimulant (including methamphetamine) use?

In 2018-19, the largest proportion of hospital separations due to the use of stimulants occurred among 30-39 year olds (36%) followed by 20-29 year olds (32%).

In 2018-19, Australians aged less than 15 years accounted for 0.7% of hospital separations due to the use of stimulants, those aged 15-19 years accounted for 5%, those aged 20-29 years accounted for 32%, those aged 30-39 years accounted for 36%, those aged 40-49 years accounted for 21%, those aged 50-59 years accounted for 5%, and those aged 60+ years accounted for 0.6%.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). National Hospital Morbidity Database, 2018-19 (NCETA secondary analysis, 2021).

† Stimulants are drugs that stimulate Central Nervous System (CNS) activity. Methamphetamine is a type of stimulant. There is no publicly available data which provides details of Australian hospital separations due to methamphetamine use alone. Instead, data is presented for hospitalisations due to ‘mental and behavioural disorders due to use of other stimulants, including caffeine’ (ICD-10 code F15) and ‘psychostimulants with potential for use disorder’ (ICD-10 code T43.6). These categories include methamphetamine as well as other stimulant drugs (excluding cocaine and tobacco).

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

Hospital Separation: An episode of care for an admitted patient, which can be:

  • a total hospital stay (from admission to discharge, transfer or death); or
  • a portion of a hospital stay beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation).

Separation also means the process by which an admitted patient completes an episode of care either by being discharged, transferring to another hospital, changing type of care, or dying.