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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2003 Sep;22(3):347-57.

Update: comparison of drug use in Australia and the United States as seen in the 2001 National Household Surveys.

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The Center for Social Work Research, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas 78703, USA.


This paper updates an earlier article by comparing the results of the 1998 and 2001 household surveys. The Australian survey showed a significant decrease in past-year use of "any illicit drug". The methodological changes in the US surveys prevented comparison for these years, but there were increases in use of any illicit drug between 2000 and 2001. Patterns of use of marijuana, stimulants, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and needles are shown by age group and gender. Use by teenage girls in both countries has risen to the point that they are now using alcohol and some drugs at rates similar to boys. Over 20% of teens in both countries reported binge drinking in the past month. While Australians in their 20s had the highest rates of lifetime and past-year use, in the United States, depending on the drug, lifetime use was highest among people in their 30s or 40s, with past-year use highest among teenagers. Drug treatment services are needed not only for young people, but also for aging users. The changes in perceptions of risk from use of various drugs and availability of these drugs are related to changes in prevalence rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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