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Dependence on opioid drugs (which include codeine, heroin and oxycodone) is associated with a range of health and social problems that affect individual drug users, their family and friends, and the wider public. Treatment with an opioid pharmacotherapy drug, such as methadone or buprenorphine, can reduce drug cravings (NDARC 2004) and improve physical and mental health and social and economic participation, including a reduction in drug-related crime (Ritter & Chalmers 2009).

The National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data (NOPSAD) collection provides information on a snapshot day in June 2015 on clients receiving opioid pharmacotherapy treatment, the doctors prescribing opioid pharmacotherapy drugs, and the dosing points (such as pharmacies) that clients attend to receive their medication.

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Highlights from the 2015 collection

graphic for nopsad clients


  • 48,522 clients received treatment.
  • 2 in 3 were male.
  • Median age was 40.
  • 1 in 10 identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
  • Heroin was the most common opioid drug of dependence for which treatment was sought.
  • 2 in 3 were treated with methadone.

graphic for nopsad prescribers


  • There were 2,556 prescribers.
  • 85% worked in the private sector.
  • 73% were authorised to prescribe more than 1 type of pharmacotherapy drug.
  • 19 clients on average were treated by each prescriber.

graphic for nopsad dosing points

Dosing points

  • There were 2,589 dosing points.
  • 88% were pharmacies.
  • 19 clients on average were dosed at each dosing point.


The collection

The NOPSAD collection commenced in 2005 and comprises data about the clients receiving opioid pharmacotherapy treatment and the dosing point site where treatment is provided, for all registered or authorised prescribers of pharmacotherapy drugs. Data are collected by state and territory health departments and reported to the AIHW. Prior to 2005, information was provided each year to the Australian Government Department of Health.

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Additional material

Further information

See Alcohol and other drugs for more information on alcohol and other drug use and treatment services in Australia.


Previous NOPSAD publications.

Related data collections

The following data collections also contain information on drug use and treatment:


See Data and references.