There Are Almost 60,000 Young Aussies Using Meth As National Use Triples In A Few Years

29/02/2016 5:37 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Australian Federal Police (AFP) guard 525 million USD worth of crystal methamphetamine ('ice') and heroin after smashing a Hong Kong-based international drugs syndicate in Sydney on July 31, 2012. It was the largest haul of ice (306 kilograms) in Australian history and the third-biggest heroin bust (252 kilograms) and was the culmination of an 11-month operation following a tip-off from the US Drug Enforcement Administration. AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD (Photo credit should read TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/GettyImages)

Almost 60,000 Australians between 15 and 24-years-old are using methamphetamines, with a new report revealing 35,000 of these users are dependent on the drug.

The report, published on Monday by the Medical Journal of Australia reveals almost 270,000 Australians aged between 15 and 54-years-old are regular methamphetamine users, with more than half classified as dependent.

The figures provide the first quantitative estimate of the impact the drug is having across the country, with the most recent data pulled from 2013 and 2014.

Researcher Dr Sarah Larney, of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, said there's been a clear increase in the drug's use across the nation since 2009 among all age groups but it's the highest recorded rate in young users.

While the highest rates were in 25 to 34-year-olds across the nation -- with a total of 1.5 per cent now dependent compared to 0.8 per cent in 2009 and 2010 -- it's the prevalent rise of young users which has researchers calling her early intervention.

Larney told The Huffington Post Australia treatment programs are not well developed across the nation and "there’s definitely opportunities for early intervention with young people in particular, to prevent them transitioning to dependence".

More than one percent of young people aged between 15 and 24 are using methamphetamines, according to the report. And the last time young Australians' methamphetamine use peaked was between 2006 and 2008, when just under one per cent of Australians aged between 15 and 24-years-old were using the drug, said Larney.

"We know that methamphetamine use is cyclical, so young people will start to use it and as people start to experience harm from this methamphetamine use, other people in their social circles see that and it becomes less popular," Larney told The Huffington Post Australia.

"That sort of contributes to this up and down in the popularity of it."

The number of users across the country has almost tripled since 2009 and 2010 when there were only 90,000 regular users.

"This has shown the reports which have been coming out about the increase [of methamphetamine use] in young people are backed up by data."

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