Estimating the number of regular and dependent methamphetamine users in Australia, 2002-2014

Degenhardt, Louisa, Larney, Sarah, Chan, Gary, Dobbins, Timothy, Weier, Megan, Roxburgh, Amanda, Hall, Wayne D. and McKetin, Rebecca (2016) Estimating the number of regular and dependent methamphetamine users in Australia, 2002-2014. Medical Journal of Australia, 204 4: 1.e1-1.e6. doi:10.5694/mja15.00671

Author Degenhardt, Louisa
Larney, Sarah
Chan, Gary
Dobbins, Timothy
Weier, Megan
Roxburgh, Amanda
Hall, Wayne D.
McKetin, Rebecca
Title Estimating the number of regular and dependent methamphetamine users in Australia, 2002-2014
Journal name Medical Journal of Australia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1326-5377
Publication date 2016-03-07
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.5694/mja15.00671
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 204
Issue 4
Start page 1.e1
End page 1.e6
Total pages 6
Place of publication Strawberry Hills, NSW Australia
Publisher Australasian Medical Publishing Company
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: To estimate the number of regular and dependent methamphetamine users in Australia.

Design: Indirect prevalence estimates were made for each year from 2002–03 to 2013–14. We applied multiplier methods to data on treatment episodes for amphetamines (eg, counselling, rehabilitation, detoxification) and amphetamine-related hospitalisations to estimate the numbers of regular (at least monthly) and dependent methamphetamine users for each year. Dependent users comprised a subgroup of those who used the drug regularly, so that estimates of the sizes of these two populations were not additive.

Results: We estimated that during 2013–14 there were 268 000 regular methamphetamine users (95% CI, 187 000–385 000) and 160 000 dependent users (95% CI, 110 000–232 000) aged 15–54 years in Australia. This equated to population rates of 2.09% (95% CI, 1.45–3.00%) for regular and 1.24% (95% CI, 0.85–1.81%) for dependent use. The rate of dependent use had increased since 2009–10 (when the rate was estimated to be 0.74%), and was higher than the previous peak (1.22% in 2006–07). The highest rates were consistently among those aged 25–34 years, in whom the rate of dependent use during 2012–2013 was estimated to be 1.50% (95% CI, 1.05–2.22%). There had also been an increase in the rate of dependent use among those aged 15–24 years (in 2012–13 reaching 1.14%; 95% CI, 0.80–1.69%).

Conclusions: There have been increases over the past 12 years in the numbers of regular and dependent methamphetamine users in Australia. Our estimates suggest that the most recent numbers are the highest for this period, and that the increase has been most marked among young adults (those aged 15–34 years).

Implications: There is an increasing need for health services to engage with people who have developed problems related to their methamphetamine use.
Keyword Medicine, General & Internal
General & Internal Medicine
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID 1035149
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 7 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 21 Mar 2016, 22:33:52 EST by Megan Weier on behalf of Centre for Youth Substance Abuse