Bulletin | 24 03 2016


Misuse of pharmaceuticals by regular psychostimulant users: are there mental health problems?

Key Findings

  • Extra-medical or illicit use of pharmaceutical substances was examined among regular psychostimulant users (RPU) interviewed in 2015 for the Ecstasy and Related
  • Drugs Reporting System (EDRS; n=763)
  • Illicit use of pharmaceutical substances is common among regular psychostimulant users and far higher than in the general Australian population
  • Few of the RPU in 2015 cited pharmaceuticals as their drug of choice (5%) or the drug used most often in the last month (4%)
  • The pharmaceutical substances most commonly used over the previous six months were stimulants, benzodiazepines and over the counter codeine preparations
  • Pharmaceuticals were used less frequently than ecstasy: most use was monthly or less often
  • Greater psychological distress was reported by those who had recently used stimulants, codeine, opioids and benzodiazepines
  • Recent users of OTC codeine, opioids and antipsychotics were more likely to self-report a mental health problem