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Meth & Youth in Australia

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  • 1. Methamphetamine& Young People by Matthew Gleeson
  • 2. IntroductionThis presentation responds to the following questions:1. What is methamphetamine?2. What are the effects of methamphetamine?3. What is the prevalence of methamphetamine use amongst young Australian’s (12 – 15 years of age)?4. Is Australia experiencing a ‘meth epidemic’?
  • 3. What is Methamphetamine?• A powerful CNS stimulant• A part of the amphetamine family of drugs• Is the most commonly available illicit form of amphetamine in Australia (Source: Connolly et al. 2006)
  • 4. What are the effects of methamphetamine? Potential harms • Damage to oral health • Behavioural disturbances • Mood and affective disorders • Psychosis • Risk taking behaviours (e.g. drug driving, unsafe sex practices etc) • Overheating and dehydration • Dependence • Overdose • Risk of BBV transmission associated with injecting
  • 5. Young people & methamphetamineThe shift in the Australian illicit amphetamines markets in the early to mid 1990’sfrom amphetamine sulphate to predominately methamphetamine has lead to: – An increase in potency of available illicit forms of amphetamines – A diversity of forms of the drug (powder, base and crystal) leading to an increase in the numbers of young people who smoke the drug.According to the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) the growing trendof young people smoking crystal methamphetamine has increased the likelihoodof an earlier onset of dependence and other drug related harms (ANCD Position Paper on Methamphetamines 2007)
  • 6. Is there a meth epidemic in Australia?There has been an inordinate amount of media coverage andmedia campaigns regarding use if methamphetamines inAustralia in recent years. But is there really a ‘meth epidemic’?
  • 7. Prevalence of use amongst young Australians Sources : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011 White, V. & Smith G. 2009
  • 8. Prevalence of use amongst young Australians• Meth/amphetamine use has declined since a peak in prevalence of use by people 14+ years in 1998• Trends of use amongst secondary school aged young people (12 – 15 years of age) reflect trends within community up until 2008 when people in this age range were over represented when compared to measures of prevalence in the wider community• Overall use of meth/amphetamines amongst young people continues to trend downwards
  • 9. Summary• Methamphetamine is a powerful CNS stimulant that is associated with a number of short term and long term drug related harms• The emergence of crystal methamphetamine may have implications for greater numbers of young people exhibiting symptoms of dependence and other drug related harms• While the overall prevalence of recent methamphetamine use remains quite low, young people (12- 15 years of age) are over represented when compared to the general population.
  • 10. ReferencesAustralian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011. 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report. Drug statistics series no. 25. Cat. no.PHE 145. Canberra: AIHW.Australian National Council on Drugs (2007) Methamphetamine Position Paperhttp://www.ancd.org.au/images/PDF/Positionpapers/pp_methamphetamines.pdf?phpMyAdmin=rGQ2XkOOsKjMp24r2sFwuVc5ibbAustralian National Council on Drugs website, accessed 29th August, 2011Connolly, K., Lee, N. & Clark, C. (2006). from GO to WHOA - Psychostimulants training program for health professionals: Train the TrainerManual Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia.White, V. & Smith G. (2009) Australian secondary school students’ use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2008Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia