Global Drug Survey: Drinking remains top Aussie problem

silhouette of person drinking wine

Australians are struggling with problem drinking, according to the latest international survey on drug use

Between November 2015 and January 2016, the Global Drug Survey asked 4,524 Australians about their drug using patterns. The survey is one of the largest studies of drug use conducted in the country.

Findings on alcohol revealed 34.9% used alcohol two to three times per week, 15.4% respondents four or more times a week, and that 24% had six to eight or more drinks in a session weekly. Of respondents, 2.4% had six to eight drinks daily.

The survey also found 59.9% of men and 51.6% of women scored eight or more on the WHO Alcohol Use Disorders Identification test, indicating hazardous and harmful alcohol use, as well as possible alcohol dependence.

Almost a quarter of Australian respondents to the Global Drug Survey (23.7%) said they had hurt themselves or others as a result of their drinking, while 42% reported wanting to drink less.

More than one in 10 respondents (13.7%) believed they needed help to drink less, while 4.2% said they planned on taking steps to seek this help.

Australians also appear to be at increased health risk from taking synthetic drugs, the survey found, with no decline in emergency department admissions despite fewer people buying the substances.

Researchers found that while less Australians reported using and buying novel psychoactive substances, the number of respondents reported admission to an emergency department after taking them remained constant.

Of the respondents, 4% said they had used novel psychoactive substances in the past 12 months, compared with 4.5% in last year’s survey.

Meanwhile, of those who used the substances, 3.2% sought emergency medical treatment in 2016 compared with 3% of respondents the previous year.

Statistics reported here have been gathered from The Guardian Australia, which is the Australian partner for the Global Drug Survey for 2016.

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