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Coronavirus expected to send national progress on drug use backwards

Drug reform advocates are warning downward trends in substance use are unlikely to last.

The triennial National Drug Strategy Household Survey of 22,000 Australians shows vaping has quadrupled, and cocaine use has almost doubled.

However, alcohol and ice use has stabilised, and tobacco consumption has dropped to its lowest level yet.

Ted Noffs Foundation CEO Matt Noffs told Jim Wilson the survey results show the country was largely making good progress, but COVID-19 has likely “thrown a spanner in the works”.

The pandemic, he predicted, will cause a significant increase in reliance on drugs and alcohol, but the true impact won’t be revealed until the next survey period.

“Six years from now, three years from now, one year from now, it’s going to be a different scenario.

“As [government] support starts to fall away, so does our trauma increase.

“We’re social distancing. We haven’t seen our loved ones in some time. We’re not touching others; the warmth of humanity has left for some time.

“To be honest mate, I think we’re probably sitting in a spike now.”

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Image: Getty