Australian school students aged 12-17 years

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

The majority of Australian school students aged 12-17 years have used analgesics (for either medical or non-medical purposes) in their lifetime (95%), in the past year (92%), and in the past month (66%). Thirty-nine percent used analgesics in the past week. Smaller proportions had used tranquillisers (for non-medical purposes) in their lifetime (20%), past year (13%), past month (6%), and past week (4%).

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

Please note: This FAQ uses data from the Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug Survey, which defines the pharmaceutical drugs referred to in this question as: the medical or non-medical use of analgesics (defined as: pain-killers/analgesics such as ‘Disprin®’, ‘Panadol®’ or ‘Nurofen®’) and the non-medical use of tranquillisers (defined as sleeping tablets, tranquillisers, sedatives or benzodiazepines, such as valium, mogadon, diazepam, temazepam (mazzies, vallies, moggies, jellies), serepax (serries) or rohypnol (rohies, barbs)).

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

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years, girls were more likely than boys to have used analgesics (for either medical or non-medical purposes) in their lifetime, the past year, the past month and the past week.

Similar proportions of boys and girls had used tranquillisers for non-medical purposes in their lifetime, in the past year, in the past month and in the past week.

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

Please note: This FAQ uses data from the Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug Survey, which defines the pharmaceutical drugs referred to in this question as: the medical or non-medical use of analgesics (defined as: pain-killers/analgesics such as ‘Disprin®’, ‘Panadol®’ or ‘Nurofen®’) and the non-medical use of tranquillisers (defined as sleeping tablets, tranquillisers, sedatives or benzodiazepines, such as valium, mogadon, diazepam, temazepam (mazzies, vallies, moggies, jellies), serepax (serries) or rohypnol (rohies, barbs)).

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

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years, analgesic use (for either medical or non-medical purposes) and tranquilliser use (for non-medical purposes) typically increases with age.

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

Please note: This FAQ uses data from the Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug Survey, which defines the pharmaceutical drugs referred to in this question as: the medical or non-medical use of analgesics (defined as: pain-killers/analgesics such as ‘Disprin®’, ‘Panadol®’ or ‘Nurofen®’) and the non-medical use of tranquillisers (defined as sleeping tablets, tranquillisers, sedatives or benzodiazepines, such as valium, mogadon, diazepam, temazepam (mazzies, vallies, moggies, jellies), serepax (serries) or rohypnol (rohies, barbs)).

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

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years, 73% regularly use analgesics (for either medical or non-medical purposes).

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

Please note: This FAQ uses data from the Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug Survey, which defines the pharmaceutical drugs referred to in this question as: the medical or non-medical use of analgesics (defined as: pain-killers/analgesics such as ‘Disprin®’, ‘Panadol®’ or ‘Nurofen®’).

Regular Analgesic Use: Regular analgesic use refers to using an analgesic drug 10 or more times in the past year. ASSAD does not differentiate use of analgesics for medical or non-medical purposes.

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

Among Australian school students aged 12-17 years, girls are more likely to regularly use analgesics (for either medical or non-medical purposes) than boys (75% vs 71%, respectively).

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

Please note: This FAQ uses data from the Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug Survey, which defines the pharmaceutical drugs referred to in this question as: the medical or non-medical use of analgesics (defined as: pain-killers/analgesics such as ‘Disprin®’, ‘Panadol®’ or ‘Nurofen®’).

Regular Analgesic Use: Regular analgesic use refers to using an analgesic drug 10 or more times in the past year. ASSAD does not differentiate use of analgesic for medical or non-medical purposes.