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How many young people use drugs and alcohol in Australia

How many young people aged 12–17 used drugs and alcohol in the past month?

It may be shown differently by the media, but the truth is that most young people have never tried an illegal drug or had a full serve of alcohol. This is important because if young people think that most of their friends use drugs they might be more inclined to try drugs as well. The following table outlines how many young people have used illegal drugs or consumed alcohol in the past month.

Alcohol (At least a full serve)







1 in 4 (27%)

1 in 12 (8%)

1 in 50 (2%)

1 in 100 (1%)

1 in 100 (1%)

1 in 100 (1%)

1 in 100 (1%)

Evidence Base

Guerin, N. & White, V. (2018). ASSAD 2017 Statistics & Trends: Australian Secondary Students’ Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, Over-the-counter Drugs, and Illicit Substances. Cancer Council Victoria.

  • Credit to 2&2 for the 'Avoiding Drugs?' infographic.

Page last reviewed: 4 February 2020.