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Around 131,000 people received publicly funded treatment or support for alcohol and other drug use.
Alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment agencies across Australia provide a range of services and support to people receiving treatment for their own drug use, as well as for their families and friends.
In 2021–22, among people receiving alcohol and other drug treatment:
- Publicly funded AOD treatment services provided treatment to about 131,000 clients across Australia.
- 3 in 5 people (60%) who received treatment or support for alcohol or drug use were male.
- Of the 93% of clients receiving treatment for their own alcohol or drug use, over half were aged 20–39 (52%) and over 3 in 5 people (62%) were male.
- Of the remaining 6.8% of clients who sought support for someone else’s drug use, nearly half were aged 30–49 (47%) and over 2 in 5 clients were female (45%).
- Less than one percent (0.8%) of all clients reported a sex of ‘Other’, which includes people who reported sex as indeterminate, intersex or non-binary. The 2018–19 collection included ‘Other’ as a value for the client’s sex for the first time (Figure AODTS CLIENTS.1).
Note that data may have been impacted by continued COVID–19 restrictions in some states and territories which included changes to modes of treatment delivery. See How has COVID-19 impacted on alcohol and other drug treatment services? for further information.
Figure AODTS CLIENTS.1: Client demographics (age group, sex, Indigenous status), by state and territory, 2013–14 to 2021–22
The line graph shows proportions of clients receiving treatment from alcohol and drug treatment services by age group and client type. Nationally, the distribution of clients by age group has remained consistent from 2013–14 to 2021–22. In 2021–22, 10.1% of clients receiving treatment for their own drug use were aged 10–19, 24.6% were aged 20–29, 27.2% were aged 30–39, 21.3% were aged 40–49, 11.5% were aged 50–59 and 5.5% were aged over 60.
The first horizontal stacked bar graph shows proportions of clients receiving treatment from alcohol and drug treatment services by sex and client type. In 2021–22, 61.9% of clients receiving treatment for their own drug use were male, 35.0% were female and 3.2% were another sex or not stated. Among clients receiving treatment for other’s drug use, 38.7% were male, 45.4% were female and 15.9% were another sex or not stated. Among all clients, 60.3% of clients were male, 35.7% of clients were female and 4.0% were another sex or not stated.
The second horizontal stacked bar graph shows proportions of clients receiving treatment from alcohol and drug treatment services by Indigenous status and client type. In 2021–22, 18.4% of clients receiving treatment for their own drug use were Indigenous, 78.7% were non-Indigenous and 2.9% were not stated. Among clients receiving treatment for other’s drug use, 9.4% were Indigenous, 84.5% were non-Indigenous and 6.1% were not stated. Among all clients, 17.8% of clients were Indigenous, 79.1% of clients were non-Indigenous and 3.1% were not stated.
In 2021–22, Indigenous Australians accounted for 18% (23,169) of people aged 10 and over receiving treatment or support for their own or someone else’s alcohol or other drug use (Figure AODTS CLIENTS.1):
- One in 6 Indigenous Australian clients (22,338 or 18%) received treatment for their own alcohol or drug use.
- Around 1 in 10 (831 or 9.4%) Indigenous Australian clients received treatment for someone else’s alcohol or drug use.
- Indigenous Australians were nearly 7 times as likely to receive treatment for alcohol or drug use as non-Indigenous Australians after adjusting for differences in age-structure (3,354 per 100,000 population compared with 497) (age standardised rate ratio for clients aged 10 and over).
The Australian Government funds primary healthcare services and substance use services specifically for Indigenous Australians. These services previously reported via the Australian Government-funded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander substance use services, via the Online Services Report (OSR) data collection. The substance use services program was transferred to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and then to the National Indigenous Australians Agency.
The National Agreement on Closing the Gap noted that funding for First Nations Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) services and support will increase by up to $66 million to 2024–25, in addition to current funding. First Nations’ AOD Treatment Services funded under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) currently assists around 75 providers to deliver 90 activities. The Commonwealth also provides AOD treatment services and prevention, research and communication activities through the Drug and Alcohol Program (DAP) and funding to Primary Health Networks (PHNs), with nearly 30% of PHN funding allocated for First Nations specific treatment services (National Indigenous Australians Agency 2022).
The number of people aged 10 and over receiving alcohol and other drug treatment rose by 14% from 2013–14 to 2021–22.
Over the past 9 years, the number of people treated by publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies increased by 14% between 2013–14 (114,436) and 2021–22 (130,525).
The number of clients in treatment represents 564 per 100,000 people in 2013–14, rising to 576 per 100,000 people in 2021–22 (Figure AODTS CLIENTS.2).
Between 2020–21 and 2021–22 the number of clients decreased by 6% (from 139,271 to 130,525). Factors contributing to this decrease include:
- Impacts on service delivery due to COVID-19 including, border restrictions, staff sickness/isolation periods, staff vacancies, staff turnover, staff reallocation to manage health service responses to COVID-19, residential services required to close beds or reduce bed based occupancy at times due to health restrictions or reassignment.
- And general administrative impacts on services and data collection (e.g. changes in funding for services, partial reporting of data during the financial year, and services with no closed treatment episodes as treatment was ongoing).
Figure AODTS CLIENTS.2: Number of clients and rates per 100,000, by state and territory, 2013–14 to 2021–22
The line chart shows client rates per 100,000 population by state and territory and client type.
Client rates for alcohol and/or drug use in Australia fluctuated from 564 clients per 100,000 population in 2013–14 to 576 clients per 100,000 population in 2021–22. Rates in each state in 2021–22 were: 399 clients per 100,000 population in New South Wales; 631 clients per 100,000 population in Victoria; 748 clients per 100,000 population in Queensland; 636 clients per 100,000 population in Western Australia; 434 clients per 100,000 population in South Australia; 528 clients per 100,000 population in Tasmania; 966 clients per 100,000 population in the Australian Capital Territory; and 1,530 clients per 100,000 population in the Northern Territory.
A filter allows the user to view by rate of clients and number of clients.
The second line chart shows client numbers for alcohol and/or drug use in Australia. There were 130,525 clients in 2021–22, an increase from 114,436 clients in 2013–14. Across the period 2013–14 to 2021–22, the number of clients was highest in the Victoria (36,375 clients in 2021–22) and lowest in Tasmania (2,684 clients in 2021–22).