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

Australians in the general population aged 16-17 years are more likely than those aged 12-15 years to have used pharmaceutical drugs in their lifetime.

50% of Australians in the general population aged 12-15 years have used pain-killers/pain-relievers/opioids in their lifetime, compared to 58% of those aged 16-17 years. 5% of Australian in the general population aged 12-15 years have used tranquillisers/sleeping pills in their lifetime, compared to 10% of those aged 16-17 years. 0.1%** of Australian in the general population aged 12-15 years have used methadone/buprenorphine in their lifetime, compared to 0.4%** of those aged 16-17 years. 51% of Australians in the general population aged 12-15 years have used any pharmaceutical drug in their lifetime, compared to 59% of those aged 16-17 years. ** 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 and 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.