Changing trends in drinking and illicit drug-taking across all age groups

October 2019

NCETA’s research findings examining AOD use among younger people, older people and high-risk occupational groups were placed under the microscope at the recent Australian Public Health Conference 2019. NCETA’s research attracted extensive electronic and print media coverage before, during and after the conference.

This included NCETA’s Director, Professor Ann Roche, being interviewed by The Wire about risky alcohol consumption among older Australians across three different age demographics (50-59, 60-69 and 70+).

According to Professor Roche, “the major changes in older people’s alcohol consumption have important implications for health care providers, policy makers and carers. Tailored strategies are needed to identify indicators of problematic consumption among their older clients and provide sensitive age-appropriate responses”. To listen to the complete Wire interview with Professor Roche download the audio here.

Other media attention centred on NCETA’s research findings that showed:

  1. While drinking among younger age groups has decreased and abstention has increased, proportionally more older Australians are drinking at risky levels. Professor Roche noted that “it is imperative to address uncertainty and ambiguity around safe drinking for older Australians and account for risk perceptions within this group for effective harm reduction.”
  2. That young Australians are less likely to engage in risky alcohol use and illicit drug use. The research also found that the profile of both risky drinkers and drug users varied by industry of employment, highlighting the need for tailored interventions.
  3. That cocaine use, rather than methamphetamine, is currently on the rise among construction workers. The study also found that young workers aged 24 years and under are less likely to perceive risk to workplace safety from AOD use than older workers.

In addition to the positive media attention, the presentations by NCETA staff also received positive feedback from conference attendees. NCETA will continue to build on these findings as part of its ongoing research program.