More than 130,000 Australians received alcohol and other drug treatment services

One in 166 people in Australia (aged 10 and over) received specialist treatment for alcohol and other drug use in 2017–18, according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 201718 key findings, shows alcohol is the most common drug clients received treatment for, accounting for almost 69,000 of the 210,000 closed treatment episodes provided.

‘Over the last 5 years, alcohol has consistently been the most common drug clients received treatment for. However, this has declined from 40% in 2013–14 to 34% in 2017–18,’ said AIHW spokesperson Mr Matthew James.

‘Amphetamines now account for a quarter of all treatment episodes, up from 17% in 2013–14,’ said Mr James.

‘One in 5 treatment episodes were for cannabis (21%) and treatment for heroin (5%) continues to decline.’

Over half (54%) of all clients were aged 20–39, and two-thirds of clients were male (66%). Clients seeking treatment for more than one drug most commonly reported cannabis or nicotine (both 16%) as an additional drug of concern.

‘Across the majority of states and territories, alcohol was also the most common drug for which people received treatment.  However, for South Australia and Western Australia, the most common drug treated was amphetamines, and in Queensland, cannabis (32.3%) just edged out alcohol (31.9%),’ Mr James said.

Clients who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians represented about 1 in 6 (16%) clients.

Around 96% of clients received treatment for their own drug use, and the remainder received support for someone else's drug use.

The most common types of treatment included counselling, assessment only and withdrawal management, with counselling accounting for 2 in 5 treatment episodes. The majority of clients received treatment in a non-residential facility.

A report released earlier this month showed just over 50,000 people received pharmacotherapy treatment for opioid dependence on a snapshot day in 2018. Read the full report: National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection 2018.

Media enquiries:  AIHW 02 6244 1148 [email protected]