Are male or female Australians aged 12-17 years in the general population more likely to have used pharmaceutical drugs in their lifetime?

Australian girls aged 12-17 years in the general population are more likely than boys to have used pharmaceutical drugsin their lifetime.

48% of Australian boys aged 12-17 years in the general population have used pain-killers/pain-relievers/opioids in their lifetime, compared to 58% of girls. 6% of Australian boys aged 12-17 years in the general population have used tranquillisers/sleeping pill, compared to 8% of girls. 0.1%** of Australian boys aged 12-17 years in the general population have used methadone/buprenorphine, compared to 0.3%** of girls. 48% of Australian boys aged 12-17 years in the general population have used any pharmaceutical drug, compared to 59% of girls. ** 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 greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.