The 2016 Household Survey by the National Drug Strategy reported that 15.6% of Australians had used an illegal drug in the previous 12 months. The most commonly used illicit drug in South Australia in 2016 was cannabis (10.7%) followed by cocaine (2%), amphetamines (1.9%) and ecstasy (1.6%) which was a significant decrease from 2.8% in 2013. Men in Australia reportedly use drugs more than women, 18.7% in comparison to 13.2%, with most users being aged between 18 and 24 years (28.9%).
The number of national illicit drug seizures has increased by 84.7% over the last decade, from 62,496 in 2006/7 to a record 115,421 in 2015/16. The number of national illicit drug seizures increased 9% in this reporting period from 105,862 seizures reported in 2014/15.
During this period cannabis accounted for the greatest proportion of the number of national illicit drug seizures, followed by other drugs such as cocaine, heroin and other opioids.
The 2012 United Nations World Drug Report published data that indicated Australia had one of the highest global prevalence cannabis use. The report also stated that cocaine use had increased over the four years leading up to 2012. The use of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA), more commonly known as “Ecstasy”, declined from 3.7 per cent to 3.0 percent between 2007 and 2010; however, the highest number of manufacturing laboratory interceptions occurred in Australia during this period.
The use of ecstasy is in decline in Australia, but cocaine use is on the rise and Australians and New Zealanders consume more marijuana per capita than any other country. Altogether, the annual use among Australians and New Zealanders for all drugs except for heroin “remain much higher than the global average”, according to the report.
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