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Australia comes top of global list for recreational drug use in 2014 drug UN report

  1. Rob Cypher
    AUSTRALIA, a country of sports champions, innovators … and drug takers.

    The nation has the inglorious distinction of having the highest proportion of recreational drug users in the world — an embarrassing new low, albeit from getting high.

    Our collective craving for a hit is only set to heighten, with the number of drug users continuing to rise steadily.

    The frightening statistics in the United Nation’s 2014 World Drug Report confirm Australia as leading the world in the use of party drug ecstasy, third in methamphetamines and fourth in cocaine.

    Of greater concern is the addiction* to prescribed or black market opioids such as codeine and morphine. We rank second only to the US, with 3.1-3.6 per cent of people between 15 and 65 considered regular users, mostly women.

    More than 10 per cent of the working-age population regularly use cannabis, with 1.9 million people aged 15-65 using it in the 12 months before figures were collected in 2010.

    And we top the pile on ecstasy use, although data suggests it is the only drug category that is declining. “Expert opinion points to an increase in the consumption of cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens and solvents and inhalants but a decline in the use of ecstasy,” it said.“There is a wide range of drug analogues and new psychoactive substances currently available in the Australian illicit drug market.”

    Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation president Dr Alex Wodak said Australia’s burgeoning appetite for illicit drugs was fuelled by both a cashed-up and unfettered new generation and an underclass of Australians disadvantaged by growing social and economic inequality. “There is certainly greater demand for drugs and that is likely because of economic and social conditions. People on one hand have more money to spend and on the other there are more people who are at risk — and those that are at risk are getting worse because of high unemployment, poor job prospects, lack of optimism,’’ Dr Wodak said.

    He said the rise in drug use was being matched by an increase in the number of deaths attributed to overdose. More than three people die each day from a drug overdose, the majority caused by a rising tide of opioid pill popping by women. “What is more concerning is (that) overdoses are rising fast. They’ve been rising steadily for some years,’’ Dr Wodak said.

    Australian National Council on Drugs, executive director Gino Vumbaca, said the sheer volume and availability of a host of recreation drugs was providing a smorgasbord for a young generation.

    He also blamed authorities for relaxing their fight against the scourge of drugs — a battle they appeared to be winning 10 years ago. “Drug use was going down and we were dealing with a critical level of overdoses because a lot of investment and attention was going into the issue,’’ he said.

    July 6, 2014



  1. Stickemupz
    Re: Australia comes top of global list for recreational drug use in 2014 drug UN repo

    I don't think this would surprise most other Australian drug users that much.

    However, 4th in the world for cocaine? That must be a misinterpretation of the data...
    I live in Australia, and have personally seen more than 4 countries with a far greater cocaine user base/presence.
    Cocaine is a very rare commodity in Australia, the exception of which being New South Wales (Sydney seems to have a semi visible cocaine scene/presence)

    Codeine certainly isn't a surprise, when such a drug is sold over the counter at pharmacies and cold water extractions are both so easy and popular, people are bound to use it recreationally! Especially when one factors in the insane prices charged for illicit drugs in Australia, a cheap Pharmaceautical option looks attractive.
    Cannabis is huge here, as it is in many places.

    I'm surprised heroin didn't get a higher mention though...my being an Australian Heroin user probably clouds my judgement on the matter, but it's the only drug in Melbourne that has an established open air market...

    Sadly meth doesn't surprise me at all, 5+ years ago it may have, but meth is everywhere in Aus nowadays.
  2. Isodimorphism
    Re: Australia comes top of global list for recreational drug use in 2014 drug UN repo

    I've always been led to understand that Australia has very high drug prices and very strict customs controls.

    If true, will prohibitionists finally accept that checking lots of packages and creating conditions that increase the price of drugs is not effective for reducing drug use? Probably not...
  3. Stickemupz
    Re: Australia comes top of global list for recreational drug use in 2014 drug UN repo

    That is correct Isodimorphism, Drugs in Australia are ridiculously expensive compared to pretty much every country I've heard of, and not only do we have strict customs controls, they are also notoriously good at their job.
    It's been the case here for a long time.

    And no, I don't think this would open too many Prohibitionist minds up either. Most Aussies I know who've heard of this report (was never really talked of much in the media here) were quite proud.
    And confused.
    I'm still struggling to see how we rank so high considering how expensive most drugs are here; it's not like were all ridiculously wealthy; and our welfare program isn't nearly generous enough to hold a serious habit without extensive "supplemental" income for those on government benefits...
    And were not a penal colony anymore lol, crime isn't too rampant.
  4. Diab
    Re: Australia comes top of global list for recreational drug use in 2014 drug UN repo

    Ecstacy was heavily targeted as "the devil" around the time I turned 18 and started partying. There were some pretty decent pills around in those days. Probably not as good as years before but not too shabby. Anyway they cracked right down on it and the good pills died out pretty quick. Then all of a sudden everyone is smoking meth! To the point where it would almost be easier for me to score meth (or shard as we call it) than it is to get weed. I'm not really the biggest fan of meth tbh. When taken by the wrong people it can go from zero to full blown addict in a few months. No offense intended for you tweakers.

    And like Stickemupz mentioned, I have no idea where this cocaine bs came from. Sounds like a stat someone pulled out of there arse. Cocaine has always been on my 'drugs to try' list. but sadly here in australia i havn't come across it yet. haven't really gone looking for it, but it is few and far between. also very expensive.
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