Ten to Men's latest report reveals the highs and lows of drug usage across Australia

Content type
Media release

November 2022


Brendan Quinn, Rebecca Jenkinson, Jennifer Prattley, Karlee O'Donnell, Clement Wong, Rukhsana Tajin, Bosco Rowland

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The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has released the latest report from the landmark Ten to Men research series. The report, Illicit Substance use among adult males in Australia, 2013/14-2020/21, paints a detailed picture of drug usage in Australia, in particular identifying key trends in use and harm.

 The report captures the characteristics of individuals and population subgroups using drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and meth/amphetamine over a 9-year period. 

One of the key findings was the prevalence of past-year cocaine use among adult Australian males rising significantly from 4% to 7% between 2013/14 and 2020/21, driven by an increase predominantly among younger men living in major cities and in households with greater combined incomes. While use of cannabis remained stable over the 9-year period, the report did identify a higher likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms with frequent (weekly or more) use of cannabis, irrespective of age and related factors. 

Dr Brendan Quinn, lead author of the report and Ten to Men researcher, explains that the report offers a novel opportunity to assist in determining patterns in drug usage in what is an ever-evolving space.

'Being able to track drug usage over a period of nine years provides those working in prevention and education the opportunity to examine factors that could really help in identifying optimal points in drug use cycles to intervene and interrupt transitions to more harmful use patterns.'

Dr Sean Martin, program lead for the Ten to Men research series, says this chapter is an important contribution to the series given Australia has one of the highest rates of illicit drug-related burden in the world.

'Illicit substance abuse is more common among Australian males than females, and naturally, as usage increases, so do associated harms. Many drug use studies in Australia also comprise relatively small samples, so to capture such a large number of participants really does provide invaluable information in the space.'

The report, based on a longitudinal study following the lives of 16,000 Australian men, is one of four chapters being released by Ten to Men over the coming month, revealing insights that address priority areas of the National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030. 

Access the Ten to Men Insights #2 report Chapter 3: Illicit substance use among adult males in Australia, 2013/14–2020/21

About Ten to Men

Ten to Men is a national research initiative aimed at filling the gaps in knowledge about why males on average have poorer health outcomes than females, and why certain groups of males have poorer health than males in general. The knowledge gained in the study will be used to improve programs and policies for male health in Australia. The study is longitudinal – meaning that we will return to participants every few years for an update so that we can understand how changing life stages and circumstances might affect health and wellbeing over time.

To arrange interviews with researchers contact 
Juliette Elfick
Phone: +61 468 433 590
Email: [email protected]

Blake Mason 
Phone: +61 400 505 154 
Email: [email protected]

Media contact     
Kate O'Connor      
Phone: 0499 860 257  
Email: kate.o'[email protected]