The Australian Journal of Pharmacy has reported that in the latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) it shows that more people aged over 40 are taking illegal substances.
The proportion of people questioned by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare with a positive response jumped to 16 per cent.
The most commonly used drugs across all age groups are cannabis, pharmaceuticals (misused, not taken for their proper reason), cocaine and ecstasy.
Ice is the most used methamphetamine – it leapt from 22% in 2010 to 57% today. In fact, methamphetamine use has now overtaken alcohol in Australia as “the drug of most concern”.
Older people are also more likely to binge drink. The survey found an increase in the number of people aged over 50 who consume 11 or more standard drinks in a single sitting.
Other statistics to come out of the NDSHS include a spike in the number of people who reported being a victim of a drug-related incident. In 2016 there were 1,800,000 people impacted by a person or persons using drugs. That figure was 200,000 people lower just three years ago. At the same time, the number of victims of alcohol-related incidents fell…from 26% in 2013 to 22% in 2016.
Another article , which appeared in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, describes the inherent danger of the factor that cannabis is the most used illicit drug in Australia. The author, Dr Michelle Taylor, states that teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are 26 times more likely to move on to harder drugs by the age of 21.
Her study has provided definitive proof that cannabis is a gateway drug to substances like cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. Dr Taylor’s findings came after analysing 5,000 teenagers aged between 13 and 18 of which 20 percent were cannabis users.
Those classed as “occasional smokers” of cannabis still had higher odds of getting hooked on other illegal drugs, smoking cigarettes and drinking excessively.
Dr Taylor kept track of her test group through to when they turned 21 and found that at that age methamphetamine and cocaine were the most common illegal substances they had “graduated” to.
“The most important findings from this study are that one in five adolescents follow a pattern of occasional or regular cannabis use and that those individuals are more likely to be tobacco dependent, have harmful levels of alcohol consumption or use other illicit drugs in early adulthood”, said Dr Taylor.