Australians turning away from smokes and booze to ice

AUSTRALIAN drug users are increasingly turning to ice, and away from tobacco and alcohol, the latest national drug strategy survey has revealed.

The survey, completed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, collected data from almost 24,000 Australians between July and December last year.

It results have showed smoking rates have kept falling, with the daily smoking rate dropping from 15.1% to 12.8% between 2010 and 2013, among those aged 14 years or older.

Smokers are also smoking less, with the average number of cigarettes each confessed smoker consumes per week down from 111 in 2003 to 96 in 2013.

The survey also found more teenagers, between 14 and 17 years old, are abstaining from the bottle, with abstinence rates rising from 64% to 72% between 1998 and 2013.

But the survey also found concerning rates of ice, or crystal methamphetamine, use; with use of powered forms of the amphetamines falling while ice rates more than doubled between 2010 and 2013.

While drug users are turning to ice, the survey found falls in the use of ecstasy, down from 3% to 2.5%, and smaller falls in the less common heroin and GHB users, between 2010 and 2013.

The survey is completed every two to three years, and provides a strong indicator of drug, tobacco and alcohol use among Australians.