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released: 18 Jun 2015 author: AIHW

Around 119,000 clients were estimated to have received over 180,700 treatment episodes from 795 publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in 2013-14. Alcohol was the most common drug leading clients aged 30 and over to seek treatment, while cannabis was most common for clients aged 10–29. Over the 5 years from 2009–10, there has been an increase in the proportion of episodes where amphetamines were the principal drug on concern (from 7% to 17%) and an increase in smoking/inhaling as the method of administration for amphetamines. A majority of treatment episodes had a duration of three months or less, and counselling remains the most common treatment type.

ISSN 1447-6746; ISBN 978-1-74249-749-5; Cat. no. HSE 158; 71pp.; $13

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Summary

Alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services across Australia provide a broad range of treatment services and support to people using drugs and to their families and friends. This report presents the information for 2013-14 about publicly funded AOD treatment service agencies, the people they treat and the treatment provided.

Around 119,000 clients received over 180,000 treatment episodes from 795 publicly funded AOD treatment agencies across Australia

An estimated 118,741 clients received treatment in 2013-14. This equates to a rate of 509 clients per 100,000 people, or about 1 in 200 people in the general population. About 2 in 3 clients were male (67%) and 1 in 2 were aged 20-39 (54%). Despite only comprising 2.7% of the population, 1 in 7 (14%) clients were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Treatment agencies provided a total of 180,713 treatment episodes-an average of 1.5 episodes per client-and 4 in 5 (79%) episodes ended within 3 months. There has been a steady increase in the number of treatment episodes provided over the last 5 years (from 145,630 to 180,713), an increase of 24%. Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, the estimated number of clients who received treatment increased by 12%. Of those clients who received treatment in 2013-14, 12% also received treatment in 2012-13.

The age profile of people receiving treatment suggests there is an ageing cohort of clients

Over the 5 years to 2013-14, the proportion of treatment episodes for clients who were aged 20-29 fell from 29% to 27%, while the proportion for those aged 40 and over rose from 30% to 33%.

Alcohol continues to be the most common drug leading clients to seek treatment but treatment for use of amphetamines is increasing

Alcohol, cannabis, amphetamines and heroin have remained the most common principal drugs of concern for clients since 2003-04. Nationally, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in 2013-14, accounting for 40% of episodes. For clients aged 30 and over, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern, while for clients aged 10-29, cannabis was the most common.

Since 2009-10, the proportion of episodes where alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern has decreased (from 48% to 40%), while the proportion of episodes for amphetamines have increased (from 7% to 17%). The number of episodes for clients injecting and smoking/inhaling amphetamines has also increased, with more than 6 times as many clients smoking/inhaling in 2013-14 as in 2009-10.

Most clients have more than 1 drug of concern

In more than half (54%) of treatment episodes, the client also reported additional drugs of concern. Just under a third (29%) had 1 additional drug of concern and 13% had 2 drugs. Nicotine and cannabis were the most common additional drugs of concern.

Counselling continues to be the most common type of treatment

Since 2003-04, the proportion of episodes for each main treatment type has remained fairly stable, with counselling, withdrawal management and assessment only being the most common types of treatment. Counselling continues to be the most common main treatment type provided for clients (2 in 5 episodes since 2003-04).

Recommended citation

AIHW 2015. Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2013–14. Drug treatment series no. 25. Cat. no. HSE 158. Canberra: AIHW.

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