Generally speaking, if a population drinks more, then there are more heavy drinkers and more harm from alcohol (similarly if a population drinks less, there will be less harm). But this link now appears to be unravelling.
NDARC's research interviews with regular ecstasy users provide some insight into how drug use differs between those who identify as heterosexual versus those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT).
When did you have your first drink of alcohol?
Data tell us Australian men typically have their first drink at 14 years of age, a figure that has changed little between the years of the baby boomers to the times of 'Gen Y'.
But if you're female, your answer is likely to differ to that given by your mum, grandmother or daughter. While women born between 1953-1962 tended to have their first drink at age 17, lagging behind their male counterparts, girls these days have caught up to the boys and typically have their first drink at age 14.
As part of our annual Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) survey, researchers ask regular ecstasy users about their sexual health, including whether they get tested for sexual transmitted infections (STIs), what STIs (if any) they have, and if they have sex under the influence of drugs.
Our colleagues at the Burnett Institute put together the last five years of data (2007 – 2012). There were some interesting findings:
Last week saw the launch of the findings from the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities (AARC) project at NSW State Parliament House. The project involved 20 NSW towns, half of which implemented community-led interventions designed to minimise alcohol-related problems (violence, crime etc), and 10 of which were ‘controls’ and did not receive any interventions.
Heavy binge drinkers are unfussy when it comes to alcohol type and drink in a wide variety of locations, according to new research by NDARC’s Drug Policy Modelling Program.
The research has for the first time classified young weekend drinkers into seven distinct drinking types . The results suggest that policies which target specific beverage types or specific drinking locations are unlikely to be as effective as a more broad brush approach which puts alcohol prices up across the board.
Accidental opioid deaths among older Australians appear to be one of the key drivers of an increase in opioid deaths reported recently by the National Illicit Drug Indicators Project. (Roxburgh A and Burns L (2012). Accidental opioid-induced deaths in Australia 2008. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney).
The UN’s Annual World Drug Report published this week led to the inevitable lurid headlines about Australian’s soaring drug use. “Aussies the biggest recreational drug users in the world” screamed News Limited. Other news outlets focussed more specifically on Australia and New Zealand’s high cannabis use.
Fortunately NDARC’s senior epidemiologist Professor Louisa Degenhardt took the opportunity to provided a more nuanced perspective in interviews with the ABC’s Richard Glover and with Radio 2GB.
Yesterday we profiled the behaviours of regular ecstasy users in Australia in 2012. Today we take a look at a related survey, the 2012 Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS), which canvassed 924 injecting drug users about their drug use in the six months prior to interview.
Here's what they told us:
NDARC’s finding that prescription opioids were responsible for more than double the number of accidental overdose deaths than heroin in 2008 hit the headlines with a bang this week.