You may not have seen too much coverage about them because not too long after they were released the Australian Government decided to announce that they were about to increase taxation on pre-mixed spirits or the RTDs (ready-to-drinks), but the results of the 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey were released just over a week ago.
This survey is one of the most important conducted in this country and provides us with a great deal of information on the use of legal and illegal drugs by the Australian population.
The survey is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it does give us some good indications of what is currently going on and whether there have been any substantial changes in drug use over time.
There were a number of interesting findings, particularly in terms of ecstasy and related drugs. Many in the alcohol and other drug field were expecting a dramatic increase in the use of ecstasy, but although there was a slight rise (up from 7.5% to 8.9%, with 3.5% using the drug in the last year), it wasn’t significant.
On the other hand, there was a large drop in the use of methamphetamine (down from 9.1% of Australians who had ever used to 6.3%, with just 2.3% reporting that they had used in the previous 12 months). This reflected what many believe to be true, that across the general population, the use of methamphetamine is nowhere near the problem it once was.
Ketamine and GHB had been used by very few Australians (1.1% and 0.5% of the population respectively) and reinforces the fact that these drugs continue to be popular only amongst certain groups, particularly those associated with the nightclub and dance party scene.
There will be many who will look at these figures and reject them because they do not reflect their own experience. Whether or not you associate with the dance scene, many people who live in the inner city of any major city across Australia would find it difficult to believe that only 9% of the population have ever used ecstasy.
It is important to remember that these results cover cities, regional centres and remote areas and areas like Darlinghurst are hardly representative of the rest of the country.
Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and, no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?/p>