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released: 28 Aug 2013 author: AIHW media release

Almost 700 agencies provided over 150,000 treatment episodes for alcohol and other drug issues in Australia in 2011-12. Most of the closed episodes provided in 2011-12 were for clients receiving treatment for their own drug use, and these clients tended to be male and in their 20s and 30s. Alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern, accounting for almost half of these closed episodes, and counselling was the most common type of treatment.

ISSN 14476746; ISBN 9781742494746; Cat. no. HSE 139; 168pp.; $20

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Summary

Publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment services are available to people seeking treatment for their own drug use and people seeking treatment for someone else's drug use. This report presents data on alcohol and other drug treatment agencies and the episodes of treatment they provide.

A total of 659 alcohol and other drug treatment agencies provided 153,668 episodes that were closed in 2011-12. While the number of agencies decreased slightly from 2010-11, the number of closed episodes increased by 2%.

Most treatment was provided to clients for their own drug use

Of the treatment episodes closed in 2011-12, nearly all (96%) were for clients receiving treatment for their own drug use. Around two-thirds (68%) of these episodes were for male clients, while the reverse was true for episodes provided for someone else's drug use (63% of these were for female clients).

Episodes for someone else's drug use tended to be longer than those for the client's own drug use. More than one-third (35%) of episodes for someone else's drug use lasted 1-3 months, while over half (53%) of episodes for the client's own drug use ended within 1 month.

Alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern

As in previous years, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern (46%), followed by cannabis (22%), amphetamines (11%) and heroin (9%). Alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in all states and territories, while cannabis was the second most common principal drug in all states and territories except South Australia, where amphetamines were more common.

In 4 out of 5 (81%) closed episodes, the client reported additional drugs of concern. Of these, 34% reported 1 additional drug and 24% reported 2. Nicotine (21%) was the second most common additional drug after cannabis (22%), but it was the principal drug for only 1% of episodes.

Counselling was the most common type of treatment

Counselling was a main or additional treatment type in almost half (49%) of the episodes closed in 2011-12, and it was the main treatment type in 43% of episodes. Withdrawal management and assessment only were also common treatment types: withdrawal management was a treatment type in 18% of episodes and the main treatment type in 17%, while assessment only, which can only be a main treatment type, was the main treatment type in 14% of episodes.

Alcohol was the most common principal drug for most treatment types, although cannabis (50%) was the most common principal drug in episodes with a main treatment type of information and education only (this is most likely due to the use of this treatment type in episodes where the client has been diverted from the criminal justice system for minor drug offences).

Recommended citation

AIHW 2013. Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2011-12. Drug treatment series no. 21. Cat. no. HSE 139. Canberra: AIHW.