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Australians smoking much less, doing more drugs

Australians are smoking less, taking more drugs and drinking about the same amount of alcohol as they were three years ago.

Residents of regional and remote towns smoke and drink more than people in big cities, new health data shows.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has surveyed more than 22,000 Australians aged 14 and over.

Use of cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, hallucinogens and inhalants all climbed between 2016 and 2019.

Cannabis remains Australia’s most popular controlled substance, with more than one-in-three users getting high at least once a week.

Cocaine use is becoming more frequent, with about one-in-six users snorting lines at least once a month, up from about one-in-10 in 2016.

Richer Australians were more likely to use party drugs like cocaine or ecstasy, while poorer Australians used more opioids.

One-in-six Australians used drugs in the last 12 months.

The use of methamphetamines, like ice, remained stable over the three years.

Younger Australians were avoiding cigarettes more, but old habits died hard for people over 40.

Rollies were also more popular than tailored cigarettes.

Alcohol remains Australia’s drug of choice and people continue to drink dangerous amounts.

But more Australians were giving up grog, with the percentage of people going dry rising from 7.6 per cent in 2016 to 8.9 per cent in 2019.

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