Northern Territory

In 2018–19, 25 publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in the Northern Territory provided 7,267 closed treatment episodes to 3,716 clients (Tables SA.1–2 and SCR.21).

The visualisation shows that 7,267 closed treatment episodes were provided to an estimated 3,716 clients in the Northern Territory in 2018–19. This equates to a rate of 3,469 episodes and 1,774 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 (82%) clients in the Northern Territory attended 1 agency, and received an average of 2.0 closed treatment episodes, which is higher than the national average of 1.6 episodes (Tables SCR.21 and SCR.23).

Client demographics

In 2018–19:

  • most (95%) clients in the Northern Territory received treatment for their own alcohol or drug use, of which, most were male (70%) (Figure 29; Table SC NT.1)
  • clients receiving treatment for someone else’s alcohol or drug use were more likely to be female (69%)
  • over half (54%) of clients were aged 20–39 years, and 18% of clients were aged 10–19 years which is higher the national proportion (12%) (Tables SC.3 and SC NT.2)
  • almost three-quarters (73%) of clients identified as Indigenous Australians (Tables SC NT.3 and SC.4)
  • nearly all (94%) clients were born in Australia and half (52%) reported English as their preferred language, with over a third (36%) reported Indigenous languages as their preferred language (Tables SC NT.21 and SC NT.22).

The visualisation includes a series of horizontal bar graphs showing that, in 2018–19, over 9 in 10 (95%) clients in the Northern Territory received treatment for their own drug use. Of these clients, almost one-quarter (72%) were male, 55% were aged 20–39, and 74% were Indigenous Australians. Around half of all clients (52%) listed English as their preferred language and most (95%) were born in Australia.

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Patterns of service use:

Of the 3,716 clients who received treatment in 2018–19:

  • 56% (2,067) received treatment in 2018–19 only
  • 17% (616) received treatment in both 2017–18 and 2018–19
  • 4.9% (181) received treatment in each year from 2016–17 to 2018–19
  • 2.4% (88) received treatment in each year from 2015–16 to 2018–19
  • 1.9% (69) received treatment in all years, from 2014–15 to 2018–19.

Over the period 2014–15 to 2018–19, 11,999 clients received treatment in the Northern Territory. Of those:

  • 72% (8,604) received treatment in only a single year
  • 20% (2,403) received treatment in any 2 of the 5 years
  • 5.8% (696) received treatment in any 3 of the 5 years
  • 1.9% (227) received treatment in any 4 of the 5 years
  • 0.6% (69) received treatment in all 5 collection years.

Drugs of concern

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

  • alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern for clients (62% of episodes) (Figure 30; Tables SE NT.10)
  • cannabis and amphetamines were the second most common principal drugs (both 13%), followed by volatile solvents (8%), which is much higher than the national proportion (less than 1%) (Table SD.2); where amphetamines were the principal drug of concern, the most common method of use was injecting (47%), followed by smoking (38%)
  • within the amphetamines code group, methamphetamine was reported as a principal drug of concern in around 4 in 5 (80%) treatment episodes; in nearly half of treatment episodes where methamphetamine was a principal drug of concern smoking (48%) was the most common method of use. This was followed by injecting (45%) (Figure 30b).

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 (22% of episodes), followed by nicotine (15%) and alcohol (12%) (Table SE NT.11).

Over the period 2014–15 to 2018–19:

  • alcohol remained the most common principal drug of concern ranging from 56% to 62% over the period. The proportion of episodes for alcohol remain higher than the national proportion in 2018–19 (62% compared with 36% nationally) (Table SD.2).
  • similar patterns were seen for amphetamines and cannabis; both decreased in 2016–17 (14% to 13% and 17% to 15%, respectively)
  • within the amphetamines code group, methamphetamine was reported as the principal drug of concern in over half of episodes (57%) in 2014–15, rising to 65% in 2015–16 and 2016–17, 85% in 2017–18 and declining to 80% in 2018–19 (Figure 30a); the rise in methamphetamine episodes maybe related to changes in the illicit drug market and/or changes in service provider practices.
  • the proportion of closed episodes for volatile solvents as a principal drug of concern remained stable between 2016–17 and 2018–19 (around 8%).

     

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 Northern Territory for their own drug use (62%). This was followed by amphetamines and cannabis (both 13%) and volatile solvents (8.0%). Cannabis was the most common additional drug of concern (22%), followed by nicotine (15%), alcohol (12%), and amphetamines (5.9%).

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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 drug use. The proportion of methamphetamine-related episodes increased from 57% in 2014–15 to 80% in 2018–19, peaking at 85% in 2017–18. Conversely, there was a decrease in the proportion of episodes relating to amphetamines not further defined (from 23% to 12%) and amphetamines (from 20% to 8.5%).

The stacked horizontal bar chart shows the method of use for treatment episodes related to clients’ own use of meth/amphetamines in the Northern Territory in 2018–19. Injecting and smoking were the first and second most common method of use, respectively, for treatment episodes relating to amphetamine (47% for injecting and 39% for smoking) and amphetamines not further defined (46% and 36%). For methamphetamine, this was the opposite: smoking was the most common method of use (48% of episodes), followed by injecting (45%).

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Treatment 

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

  • assessment only as the most common main treatment (38% of episodes), followed by information and education only (21%) and counselling (18%) (Figure 31; Table ST.5)
  • where an additional treatment was provided as a supplementary to the main treatment, counselling (16%) was the most common additional treatment, followed by other (3%) and rehabilitation (2%).

All agencies in the Northern Territory are required to complete a separate assessment only episode prior to the commencement of treatment. This is due to a policy of monitoring the volume of assessment work performed by agencies and understanding the relationship between assessment and subsequent treatment, particularly in relation to certain alcohol-related legislatively-based programs.

Over the period 2014–15 to 2018–19:

  • assessment only remained the most common main treatment, although the proportion of episodes fluctuated (from 35% in 2014–15 to 47% in 2017–18, rising to 38% in 2018–19)
  • the proportion of episodes where counselling was the main treatment peaked in 2016–17 (25%), falling to 18% of episodes in 2018–19
  • the proportion of closed treatment episodes where rehabilitation was the main treatment has fluctuated since 2014–15, rising from 17% to 25% in 2016–17 then falling to 15% in 2018–19 (Table SE NT.20).

The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2018–19, the most common main treatment type provided to clients in the Northern Territory for their own drug use was assessment only (38% of episodes). This was followed by information and education only (21%), counselling (18%), and rehabilitation (15%). Counselling was also the most common additional treatment type (16%).

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Agencies

The Northern Territory does not have any areas classified as Major city or Inner regional. It only has locations classified as Outer regional, Remote or Very remote.

In 2018–19:

  • the majority of treatment agencies were in the non-government sector (80%)
  • Outer regional areas contained the most treatment agencies (48%), followed by Remote areas (32%) (Figure 32; Table SA.3).

In the 5 years to 2018–19, the number of publicly funded treatment agencies rose from 18 to 25 (Table SA.1).

This horizontal bar chart shows that the Northern Territory does not have any areas classified as Major cities or Inner regional areas. Most agencies (12 agencies) were located in Outer regional areas, followed by Remote areas (8 agencies).Of the total 25 agencies located in the Northern Territory, most (20 agencies) were non-government.

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