Alcohol remains number one on drug treatment list

Alcohol continues to be the number one drug of concern for Australians seeking treatment for drug or alcohol issues, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08: report on the National Minimum Data Set, found that treatment for alcohol issues has continued to increase, with treatment for alcohol comprising 44% of treatment episodes in 2007-08 compared with 38% in 2002-03.

'Over 154,000 alcohol treatment episodes were provided in 2007-08, which is 7,000 more than the year before,' said Amber Jefferson of the Institute's Drug Surveys and Services Unit.

Alcohol treatment was followed by treatments for cannabis (22% of treatment episodes), amphetamines (11%) and heroin (11%).

'Treatment for heroin use declined over the five years between 2002-03 and 2007-08, but there was a slight rise in the number of treatment episodes last year, from 14,870 in 2006-07 to 15,571 in 2007-08,' Ms Jefferson said.

'Treatment for cannabis and amphetamines has remained stable,' she said.

The vast majority of episodes (96%) involved clients seeking treatment for their own alcohol or other drug use, but a small percentage were for people seeking treatment related to someone else's drug or alcohol use.

Alcohol was the focus of treatment for most age groups-32% for people in their 20s, 42% for people in their 30s and 84% for people 60 and older.

Younger people (aged 10-19 years) were more likely to receive treatment for cannabis use (43% of treatment episodes) than alcohol (34%).

Counselling was the most common form of treatment followed by withdrawal management.

The AIHW also released today, Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08: findings from the National Minimum Data Set, which presents summary results.


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