Have men and women in Australia used different types of pharmaceutical drugs in their lifetime?

Women are more likely than men to have used pain-killers/pain-relievers/opioids and tranquillisers/sleeping pills during their lifetime. Approximately the same proportion of men and women have used methadone/buprenorphine. 

66% of men have used pain-killers/pain-relievers/opioids during their lifetime, compared to 73% of women. 21% of men have used tranquillisers/sleeping pills during their lifetime, compared to 29% of women. 1% of men have used methadone/buprenorphine during their lifetime, compared to 1% of women.

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

Please note: 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).

Non-medical use: A drug used:

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