Aust leads world in meth use: New study

The Morning Bulletin - - NEWS - JACKIE SINNERTON

AUS­TRALIA is the am­phet­a­mine cap­i­tal of the world, a new study shows.

The Global Statis­tics on Al­co­hol, To­bacco and Il­licit Drug Use: 2017 Sta­tus Re­port re­veals Aus­tralia and New Zealand have the high­est preva­lence of de­pen­dence on am­phet­a­mines with 491 peo­ple per 100,000 ad­dicted.

The find­ings pub­lished in the jour­nal Ad­dic­tion show that the US and Canada have one of the high­est rates of cannabis, opi­oid and co­caine de­pen­dence.

Re­becca Lang, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Queens­land Net­work of Al­co­hol and Other Drug Agen­cies, con­firmed more peo­ple were re­port­ing am­phet­a­mines (in­clud­ing methy­lam­phetamine) as their prin­ci­pal drug of con­cern.

“Part of the rea­son it looks like Aus­trala­sia is a big con­sumer of il­licit sub­stances is the fact that we col­lect data on sub­stance use through our Na­tional Drug Strat­egy House­hold Sur­vey,” she said.

“We know from the last sur­vey that am­phet­a­mine use is on the de­cline, down from 2.1 per cent in 2013 to 1.6 per cent in 2016,” Ms Lang said.

Some coun­tries, like those in Africa and Asia, have lit­tle il­licit drug data.

“The United States is cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing high lev­els of opi­oid de­pen­dence,” Ms Lang said.

“So it’s not sur­pris­ing they’re us­ing fewer am­phet­a­mines than Aus­tralia.”

The Crime and Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion in its “Il­licit drug mar­kets in Queens­land: 201516 in­tel­li­gence as­sess­ment” high­lighted that methy­lam­phetamine con­tin­ued to be rated as the il­licit drug mar­ket that posed the high­est level of risk in the state.

This is “due to the high level of in­volve­ment by or­gan­ised crime” as well as its “ready avail­abil­ity and the sig­nif­i­cant harms the drug causes to in­di­vid­ual users and the com­mu­nity”.

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