Among those not in the labour force, are men or women in Australia more likely to have used pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical purposes in the past 12 months?

Similar proportions of Australian men and women who are not in the labour force have used pharmaceutical drugsfor non-medical purposes in the past 12 months.

3% of Australian men not in the labour force have used pain-killers/pain-relievers/opioids for non-medical purposes in the past 12 months, 2% have used tranquillisers/sleeping pills for non-medical purposes, 0.2%* have used methadone/buprenorphine for non-medical purposes, and 4% have used pharmaceutical drugs. 3% of Australian women not in the labour force have used pain-killers/pain-relievers/opioids for non-medical purposes in the past 12 months, 1% have used tranquillisers/sleeping pills for non-medical purposes, 0.1%** have used methadone/buprenorphine for non-medical purposes, and 4% have used pharmaceutical drugs. * 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.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

†This FAQ uses data from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, which defines the pharmaceutical drugs referred to in this question as: the medical or non-medical use of pain-killers/pain-relievers/opioids (panadeine forte, nurofen plus, mersyndol, disprin forte, morphine and oxycodone (excluding paracetamol, asprin and ibuprofen where these drugs are the only active ingredients)), tranquillisers/sleeping pills (e.g., sleepers, benzos, tranks, temazzies, temaze, rivotril, serepax, serries, xanax, xannies, stilnox, rohypnol, rowies, valium) and methadone/buprenorphine (e.g., done, junk, jungle juice, bupe, sub).

* 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.

Non-medical use: Drugs used:

  • By itself to induce a drug experience or feeling; or
  • With other drugs in order to enhance a drug experience.

Not in the Labour Force: Engaged in home duties, volunteer/charity work, student, retiree/pensioner, other.