Pharmaceutical Drugs and Young People

This section contains information about the pharmaceutical drug use patterns of Australians under 18 years of age. Data for two population groups are presented: 1) Australian school students aged 12-17 years; and 2) young Australians in the general population aged 12-17 years (including those not attending school).

Data on Australian school students aged 12-17 years are derived from the 2017 Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) Survey (Cancer Council of Victoria, 2018). Data on Australian youth in the general population aged 12-17 years (including those not attending school) are derived from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018).

To ensure consistency with the source data:

FAQs which use ASSAD data include the following pharmaceutical drugs (as defined by ASSAD):

  • Analgesics (pain-killers/analgesics such as ‘Disprin®’, ‘Panadol®’, or ‘Nurofen®’) for medical or non-medical purposes
  • Tranquillisers (sleeping tablets, tranquillisers, sedatives or benzodiazepines such as Valium®, Mogadon®, diazepam, temazepam (mazzies, vallies, moggies, jellies), Serepax® (Serries) or Rohypnol® (Rohies, Barbs)) for non-medical purposes only.

FAQs which use NDSHS data include the following pharmaceutical drugs:

  • Pain-killers/ pain-relievers/opioids
  • Tranquillisers/sleeping pills
  • Methadone/buprenorphine.

Not all of these drugs are included in each FAQ, due to small numbers of people using some drug types. Footnotes have been provided in each FAQ to identify exactly which drugs are referred to and how they have been defined according to the data source.   

It is important to note that similar FAQs concerning these two population groups (Australian school students vs Australian youth in the general population) may provide different results. This is due to the different measures used to collect the data.