Marijuana, Ecstasy and Alcohol: Illicit Drug Use and Related Harms Among Risky Drinking Teenagers

A. Aiken, R. P. Mattick, T. Lam, L. Burns, T. Chikritzhs, W. Gilmore, W. B. Liang, S. Lenton, R. Ogeil, B. Lloyd, D. I. Lubman, R. Bruno, A. Roche, P. Hull, H. Delany, R. Midford, R. Alati, C. Salom, S. Allsop

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract


    Introduction and Aims: Recent evidence suggests that while more young Australians are abstaining from alcohol, heavier drinkers appear to be increasing their consumption and experiencing higher levels of alcohol‐related harms. Use of other drugs in addition to heavy alcohol use may be contributing to the increased harms. This study examines alcohol and illicit drug use and related harms in a sample of risky drinking young Australians.

    Design and Methods: Face‐to‐face (595) and online questionnaires (2337) were conducted with 14‐19 year old risky drinkers across Australia, selected to represent the heaviest drinking 20‐25% of this age group. Measures included alcohol and other drug consumption, demographics and alcohol‐related harms. Regression analysis was used to examine the associations between illicit drug use and alcohol‐related harms, during the most recent risky drinking session and over the past 6 months.

    Two‐thirds had used an illicit drug in the past 6 months, and one‐quarter during their last risky drinking session. The most commonly used illicit drugs were marijuana and ecstasy. Most had experienced alcohol‐related harms during/after their last risky drinking session, and the number of harms experienced was significantly higher for those who had also consumed illicit drugs.

    Discussions and Conclusions:
    This risky drinking population are using illicit drugs at a substantially higher rate than the general population, regularly consume alcohol and illicit drugs concurrently, and experience high rates of alcohol‐related harms.

    Implications for Practice or Policy:
    This at risk population may benefit from specific health promotion strategies targeting poly‐drug and aiming to reduce alcohol‐related harms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number53
    Pages (from-to)18-19
    Number of pages2
    JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
    Issue number S1
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2017


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