Australian Capital Territory

In 2018–19, 16 publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in the Australian Capital Territory provided 6,700 closed treatment episodes to 4,026 clients (Tables SA.1 and SCR.21).

The visualisation shows that 6,700 closed treatment episodes were provided to an estimated 4,026 clients in the Australian Capital Territory in 2018–19. This equates to a rate of 1,825 episodes and 1,096 clients per 100,000 population, a higher rate than the 1,000 episodes and 623 clients per 100,000 population reported nationally.

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In 2018–19, most (78%) clients in the Australian Capital Territory attended 1 agency, and received an average of 1.7 closed treatment episodes, which is slightly higher than the national average of 1.6 episodes (Tables SCR.21 and SCR.23).

Client demographics

In 2018–19:

  • nearly all (96%) clients in the Australian Capital Territory received treatment for their own alcohol or drug use, of which, most (64%) were male (Figure 25; Table SC ACT.1)
  • clients receiving treatment for someone else’s alcohol or drug use were more likely to be female (69%)
  • over half (53%) of clients were aged 20–39 years (Table SC ACT.2)
  • over 1 in 10 (14%) clients identified as Indigenous Australians, which is lower than the national proportion (17%) (Tables SC ACT.3 and SC.4)
  • the majority (89%) of clients were born in Australia and nearly all (98%) reported English as their preferred language (Tables SC ACT.21 and SC ACT.22).

The visualisation includes a series of horizontal bar graphs showing that, in 2018–19, over 9 in 10 (96%) clients in the Australian Capital Territory received treatment for their own drug use. Of these clients, almost two-thirds (65%) were male, 54% were aged 20–39, and 14% were Indigenous Australians. Nearly all clients (98%) listed English as their preferred language and most (89%) were born in Australia.

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Patterns of service use:

In the Australian Capital Territory, of the 4,026 clients who received treatment in 2018–19:

  • 55% (2,210) received treatment in 2018–19 only
  • 12% (479) received treatment in both 2017–18 and 2018–19
  • 5.1% (206) received treatment in each year from 2016–17 to 2018–19
  • 3.8% (151) received treatment in each year from 2015–16 to 2018–19
  • 4.4% (176) received treatment in all years, from 2014–15 to 2018–19.

Over the period 2014–15 to 2018–19, 12,989 clients received treatment in the Australian Capital Territory. Of those:

  • 72% (9,303) received treatment in only a single year
  • 17% (2,228) received treatment in any 2 of the 5 years
  • 6.6% (855) received treatment in any 3 of the 5 years
  • 3.3% (427) received treatment in any 4 of the 5 years
  • 1.4% (176) received treatment in all 5 collection years.

Drugs of concern

In 2018–19, for clients in the Australian Capital Territory receiving treatment episodes for their own alcohol or drug use:

  • alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern for clients (43% of episodes) (Figure 26; Tables SE ACT.10)
  • amphetamines were also common as a principal drug, accounting for just under one-quarter (23%), followed by cannabis (13%), and heroin (11%); where amphetamines were the principal drug of concern, the most common method of use was injecting (49%), followed by smoking (37%)
  • within the amphetamines code group, methamphetamine was reported as a principal drug of concern in more than 4 in 5 (86%) treatment episodes; in almost half of the treatment episodes (46%) where methamphetamine was the principal drug of concern smoking was the most common method of use. This was followed by injecting (43%) (Figure 26b).

Some jurisdictions are working with service providers to encourage more specific reporting of amphetamine use (i.e. to reduce the use of ‘amphetamines not further defined’ code where possible).   

Clients can nominate up to 5 additional drugs of concern, these drugs are not necessarily the subject of any treatment within the episode (see Technical notes).

In 2018–19, when the client reported additional drugs of concern:

  • cannabis was the most common additional drug (16%), followed nicotine (15%) alcohol (9%), and amphetamines (8%) (Table SE ACT.11).

Over the period 2014–15 to 2018–19:

  • alcohol remained the most common principal drug of concern in episodes provided to clients, remaining stable between 2016–17 and 2018–19 (43%) (Table SE ACT.10)
  • amphetamines became the second most common principal drug of concern in the Australian Capital Territory in 2014–15; increasing from 18% in 2014–15 to 24% in 2017–18, then falling to 23% in 2018–19
  • within the amphetamines code group, methamphetamine was reported as the principal drug of concern in over half of episodes (51%) in 2014–15, rising to 69% in 2015–16, 87% in 2017–18 and declining to 86% in 2018–19 (Figure 26a); the rise in episodes could be related increases in funded treatment services and/or improvement in agency coding practices for methamphetamines
  • the proportion of closed episodes for cannabis as the principal drug of concern has steadily declined from 2014–15 (17% to 13%)
  • the proportion of closed episodes for heroin as a principal drug of concern over the period was higher than the national proportion (ranging from 9% to 11% in ACT; compared with 6% to 5% nationally) (Table SD.2).

The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2018–19, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in treatment episodes provided to clients in the Australian Capital Territory for their own drug use (43%). This was followed by amphetamines (23%), cannabis (13%), and heroin (11%). Cannabis was the most common additional drug of concern (16%), followed by nicotine (15%), alcohol (8.8%), and amphetamines (7.6%).

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The line graph shows that, between 2014–15 and 2018–19, methamphetamine has remained the most common drug of concern among meth/amphetamine-related treatment episodes for clients’ own use. The proportion of methamphetamine-related episodes increased from 51% in 2014–15 to 86% in 2018–19. Conversely, there was a decrease in the proportion of episodes relating to amphetamines not further defined (from 31% to 8.6%) and amphetamines (from 18% to 5.6%).

The stacked horizontal bar chart shows the method of use for treatment episodes related to clients’ own use of meth/amphetamines in the Australian Capital Territory in 2018–19. Injecting was the most common method of use for treatment episodes relating to amphetamine (49%), amphetamines not further defined (43%), and other amphetamines (100%). For amphetamine and amphetamines not further defined, smoking was the second most common method of use (37% and 28%, respectively). For episodes related to methamphetamine, smoking was the most common method of use (46%), followed by injecting (43%).

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Treatment

In 2018–19, the majority of closed episodes for all clients in the Australian Capital Territory, included:

  • information and education only as the most common main treatment (29% of episodes) (Figure 27; Table SE ACT.20)
  • counselling was the second most common main treatment (28%), followed by assessment only and support and case management only (both 14%)
  • where an additional treatment was provided as a supplementary to the main treatment, counselling and ‘other’ treatment (both 3%) were the most common additional treatments.

Over the period 2014–15 to 2018–19:

  • the most common main treatment for clients has been information and education only, with the exception of 2014–15 where it was replaced by assessment only
  • information and education only increased to 32% in 2017–18, from 16% of episodes in 2014–15. This increase is attributed to an expanded scope of some residential and non-residential treatment services since the 2015–16 collection, affecting the main treatment types reported in the Australian Capital Territory. Services have expanded to provide pre and post treatment support, new programs, or extended services hours enabling clients to access more services. This decreased to 29% in 2018–19
  • treatment agencies provided proportionally less counselling (ranging from 24% to 28%) and proportionally more information and education only than the national proportion (ranging from 16% to 29% and 10% to 8%, respectively) (Tables SE ACT.20 and ST.2).

The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2018–19, the most common main treatment type provided to clients in the Australian Capital Territory for their own drug use was information and education only (29% of episodes). This was followed by counselling (28%), assessment only and support and case management only (both 14%) and withdrawal management (7.8%). Counselling was also the most common additional treatment type (2.9%).

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Agencies

The Australian Capital Territory only has the one geographical classification of Major city (no areas are classified as Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote or Very remote), and the majority of treatment agencies are non-government organisations (88%) (Figure 28; Table SA.3).

Over the period 2014–15 to 2018–19, the number of publicly funded treatment agencies rose from 15 to 16 agencies in 2018–19 (Table SA.1).

The horizontal bar chart shows that the Australian Capital Territory only has one remoteness area, Major cities. Of the total 16 agencies located in the Australian Capital Territory, most (14 agencies) were non-government.

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