Illicit drug use in the last 12 months
According to the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 15% of Australians had used an illicit drug in the last 12 months. The South Australian percentage was no different at 15.7%. The Recent use of any illicit drug 2001-2013 (PDF 11KB) graph illustrates this finding.
The most commonly used illicit drug in South Australia in 2013 was cannabis (11%) followed by ecstasy (2.8%) and meth/amphetamine (2%). The percentage of males who reported using illicit drugs was higher than that of females and the percentage of people aged 18 to19 years and 20 to 29 years who reported recent drug use was higher than other age groups.
Illicit drug use among secondary school students
In 2014, 14% of secondary students reported ever using an illicit drug and 2.9% reported using an illicit drug in the last week. There was no statistically significant differences between the 2014 and 2011 percentages.
Cannabis is the illicit drug most commonly used by secondary students; ever used - 11.2% and used in the last week - 2%. There was no statistically significant differences between the 2014 and 2011 percentages.
The following research publications provide more detail regarding secondary school student drug use:
- DASSA Statistical Bulletin No 3 - Alcohol and other drug use among South Australian secondary school students (PDF 140KB)
- DASSA Statistics Bulletin No 9 - Alcohol and other drug use among South Australian secondary school students (PDF 504KB)
Illicit drug use requiring treatment services
In South Australia, amphetamines were the most common principal drugs of concern for which treatment was sought in 2015-16, accounting for 36% of closed treatment episodes. Alcohol and cannabis were the second and third most common, accounting for 28% and 17% of closed treatment episodes, respectively. There has been an increase in amphetamines as the principal drugs of concern over the last few years (29% of episodes in 2014-15 and 27% in 2013-14), with a decrease in alcohol (32% of episodes in 2014-2015 and 36% in 2013-14)1. More detailed findings are provided in the following research publication:
 An important reason why South Australia has a high proportion of episodes of treatment where amphetamines are the principal drugs of concern and assessment only is the main treatment type is that SA data include assessment under the Police Drug Diversion Initiative. This program is legislated in SA, unlike other jurisdictions, and therefore results in a much higher percentage of assessment only services and a very high rate of engagement with amphetamine users. In addition, due to the Cannabis Expiation Notice legislation in South Australia, adult simple cannabis offences are not diverted to treatment and so are excluded from the data.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has changed the way deaths are collated. Data should be interpreted in conjunction with the ABS Technical Note 2: Coroner Certified Deaths, 3303.0 2006.
The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) provides information about drug trends:
- Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) Drug Trends 2016
- Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) Drug Trends 2016
Blood-borne virus infection
Australian Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) Survey findings show that for HCV, there was a decrease between 2009 and 2015 (however, there was a decrease between 2014 and 2015). For HIV, there was an increasing linear trend in South Australia over time, from 1.2% in 2009 to 3.1% in 2013, followed by a drop to 0.9% in 2014. In 2015 there were no respondents with HIV. Note that actual numbers are small (two people tested positive for HIV in 2014):