Drug survey

Report. Results from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey have been released and Rural Health Tasmania chief executive officer Robert Waterman says there is cause for concern.

“Whilst anecdotally new drug use is down in Circular Head,” he said, “we are clearly not preventing new methamphetamine ice use as a state or nationally.”

He urged governments to invest more in prevention rather than treatment.

“We know that people with higher levels of emotional intelligence are less likely to use drugs, develop mental illness and commit acts of family violence later in life. They also perform up to 30 per cent higher academically in the classroom.”

Mr Waterman said that Rural Health Tasmania has built “wonderful relationships” with local schools and invested heavily in health promotion.

“We have also witnessed first-hand the effectiveness of prevention programs in schools that yield very fast and powerful results and return on investment.”

Findings from the survey showed that 31.9 per cent of ice users used weekly or more frequently, an increase from 2013 when 25.3 per cent and 2010 when 12.4 per cent did so.

Respondents also reported an increase in considering methamphetamine to be the drug of most concern for the general community.

The NDSHS collects information on alcohol and tobacco consumption and illicit drug use among the general population in Australia. It also surveys people’s attitudes and perceptions relating to tobacco, alcohol and other drug use.

Last year’s survey collected data from close to 24,000 people across Australia, between June and November.