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released: 15 Jun 2016 author: AIHW media release

In 2014–15, around 850 alcohol and other drug treatment services provided just over 170,000 treatment episodes to around 115,000 clients. The top 4 drugs that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (38% of treatment episodes), cannabis (24%), amphetamines (20%) and heroin (6%). The proportion of episodes where clients were receiving treatment for amphetamines has continued to increase over the last 10 years, from 11% of treatment episodes in 2005–06 to 20% in 2014–15. The median age of clients in AOD treatment services is increasing, 33 years in 2014–15, up from 31 in 2005–06.

ISSN ISSN 2205-5088 (PDF) ISSN 1447-6746 (Print); ISBN 978-1-74249-939-0; Cat. no. HSE 173; 93pp.; $16

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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 2014-15 about publicly funded AOD treatment service agencies, the people they treat and the treatment provided. Between 2012-13 and 2014-15, the estimated number of clients who received treatment increased by 6%. Of those clients who received treatment in 2014-15, 11% also received treatment in 2013-14.

1 in 200 people in Australia received treatment

An estimated 114,912 clients received treatment in 2014-15. This equates to a rate of 558 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 (15%) clients were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This is a rate of 3,140 Indigenous clients per 100,000 Indigenous people, compared with 457 non-Indigenous clients per 100,000 non-Indigenous people.

Treatment agencies provided a total of 170,367 treatment episodes-an average of 1.5 episodes per client-and 4 in 5 (79%) episodes ended within 3 months.

Treatment for alcohol still most common, but increasing for amphetamines

Alcohol, cannabis, amphetamines and heroin have remained the most common principal drugs of concern for clients since 2005-06. Nationally, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in 2014-15, accounting for 38% 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 2010-11, the proportion of episodes where alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern has decreased (from 48% to 38%), while the proportion of episodes for amphetamines increased (from 8.7% to 20%). 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 2014-15 as in 2010-11.

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 one-third (28%) had 1 additional drug of concern and 15% 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 2005-06, 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 2005-06).

Recommended citation

AIHW 2016. Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2014–15. Drug treatment series no. 27. Cat. no. HSE 173. Canberra: AIHW.

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