Victoria

In 2018–19, 404 publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in Victoria provided 64,546 closed treatment episodes to 33,699 clients (Tables SA.1 and SCR.21).

The visualisation shows that 64,546 closed treatment episodes were provided to an estimated 33,699 clients in Victoria in 2018–19. This equates to a rate of 1,130 episodes and 590 clients per 100,000 population, compared with 1,000 episodes and 623 clients per 100,000 population reported nationally.

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In 2018–19, nearly 3 in 4 (70%) clients in Victoria attended 1 agency, and received an average of 1.9 closed treatment episodes, which is higher than the national average of 1.6 episodes (Tables SCR.21 and SCR.23). This is due to the nuances of Victoria’s data collection system, where each type of treatment results in a separate treatment episode.

Client demographics

In 2018–19:

  • nearly all (87%) clients in Victoria received treatment for their own alcohol or drug use, of which, most (64%) were male (Figure 5; Table SC VIC.1)
  • 0.1% of clients reported sex as ‘other’, the highest proportion reported in the collection period. This category was collected for the first time in 2018–19
  • clients who received treatment or support for someone else’s alcohol or drug use were more likely to be male (60%)
  • the majority (57%) of clients were aged 20–39 years (Table SC VIC.2)
  • around 1 in 13 (7.2%) clients identified as Indigenous Australians, which is lower than the national proportion (17%) (Tables SC VIC.3 and SC.4)
  • the majority (85%) of clients were born in Australia and nearly all (95%) reported English as their preferred language (Tables SC VIC.21 and SC VIC.22).

The visualisation includes a series of horizontal bar graphs showing that, in 2018–19, nearly 9 in 10 (87%) clients in Victoria received treatment for their own drug use. Of these clients, just under two-thirds (64%) were male, 57% were aged 20–39, and 8% were Indigenous Australians. Nearly all clients (95%) listed English as their preferred language and most (86%) were born in Australia.

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Patterns of service use:

In Victoria, of the 33,699 clients who received treatment in 2018–19:

  • 52% (17,657) received treatment in 2018–19 only
  • 15% (4,999) received treatment in both 2017–18 and 2018–19
  • 6.0% (2,008) received treatment in each year from 2016–17 to 2018–19
  • 3.9% (1,315) received treatment in each year from 2015–16 to 2018–19
  • 3.2% (1,063) received treatment in all years, from 2014–15 to 2018–19.

Over the period 2014–15 to 2018–19, 105,286 clients received treatment in Victoria. Of those clients:

  • 67% (70,109) received treatment in only a single year
  • 21% (22,155) received treatment in any 2 of the 5 years
  • 8.2% (8,648) received treatment in any 3 of the 5 years
  • 3.2% (3,311) received treatment in any 4 of the 5 years
  • 1.0% (1,063) received treatment in all 5 collection years.

Drugs of concern

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

  • alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern (33% of episodes) (Figure 6; Table SE VIC.10)
  • amphetamines were also a common principal drug of concern, accounting for more than one-fifth of episodes (30%), followed by cannabis (18%), and heroin (6%); where amphetamines were the principal drug of concern, the most common method of use was smoking (56%), followed by injecting (17%)
  • within the amphetamines group, methamphetamine was reported as a principal drug of concern in around 2 in 5 (43%) treatment episodes; smoking was the most common method of use in over 3 in 5 (63%) treatment episodes where methamphetamine was the principal drug of concern (Figure 6b).

Victoria is 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).   

Victoria reported comparatively high incidences of ‘other drugs’ (7%) as the drug of concern. This is in part due to service providers adjusting to changes in reporting practices associated with the implementation of a new data collection in 2018–19. Victoria is working with service providers to encourage more specific reporting of drug of concern.

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:

  • nicotine was the most common (16% of episodes), followed by cannabis (15%), alcohol (12%), and amphetamines (8%) (Table SE VIC.11).

Over the period 2014–15 to 2018–19:

  • alcohol has remained the most common principal drug of concern for clients (Table SE VIC.10), decreasing over time from 2014–15 (37%) to 2017–18 (35%), falling to 33% in 2018–19
  • amphetamines has remained the second most common principal drug of concern for the fourth year in a row, having replaced cannabis in 2015–16. The proportion of episodes with a principal drug of concern for amphetamines rose from 19% to 30% over this period
  • within the amphetamines code group, methamphetamine was reported as the principal drug of concern in less than 5% of episodes (2.2%) in 2014–15, rising to 3.5% in 2015–16, 4.6% in 2016–17, 5.9% in 2017–18 and 43% in 2018–19 (Figure 6a); the rise in episodes for methamphetamine is likely to be  mainly due  to improvement in agency coding practices for methamphetamines though some of the increase in episodes could be related to an increase in funded treatment services
  • the proportion of closed treatment episodes for cannabis has fluctuated, decreasing from 22% in 2014–15 to 17% in 2015–16, increasing in 2017–18 (20%) and remaining stable in 2018–19 (18%).

The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2018–19, the most common principal drug of concern in treatment episodes provided to clients in Victoria for their own drug use was alcohol (33%). This was followed by amphetamines (30%), cannabis (18%), and heroin (5.9%). Nicotine was the most common additional drug of concern (16%), followed by cannabis (15%), alcohol (12%), and amphetamines (8.2%).

 

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The line graph shows that, from 2014–15 to 2018–19, amphetamines not further defined has remained the most common drug of concern among meth/amphetamine-related treatment episodes for clients’ own use. However, the proportion of episodes for amphetamines not further defined decreased from 2017–18 (91% of meth/amphetamine-related episodes) to 2018–19 (52%), while it increased for methamphetamines (from 5.9% to 43%).

The stacked horizontal bar chart shows the method of use for treatment episodes related to clients’ own use of methamphetamine, amphetamine, amphetamines not further defined, and other amphetamines in Victoria in 2018–19. Smoking was the most common method of use across all amphetamine codes (51–64% of treatment episodes), followed by injecting (17–24% of episodes).

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Treatment

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

  • counselling as the most common main treatment (33% of episodes)
  • followed by assessment only (24%), support and case management only (18%) and withdrawal management (13%) (Figure 7; Table SE VIC.20).

Due to nuances in Victoria’s data collection system, each type of treatment results in a separate episode, Victoria cannot supply data on additional treatment types. However, from 2016–17 onward, some Victorian agencies that are solely funded by the Australian Government Department of Health reported a small number of closed episodes with an additional treatment type.

Over the period from 2014–15 to 2018–19:

  • counselling remained the most common main treatment type for all closed episodes, albeit substantially decreasing from 51% to 33% (Table SE VIC.20)
  • support and case management replaced withdrawal management as the second most common main treatment type from 2015–16
  • withdrawal management decreased from 18% to 13% over the same period.

The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2018–19, the most common main treatment type provided to clients in Victoria for their own drug use was counselling (33% of episodes). This was followed by assessment only (24%), support and case management only (18%), and withdrawal management (13%). Additional treatment types were uncommon, reported in less than 1% of treatment episodes.

 

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Agencies

In 2018–19 in Victoria:

  • all 404 AOD agencies were non–government treatment agencies that receive public funding
  • Two-thirds (64%) of treatment agencies were located in Major cities, followed by Inner regional areas (27%) (Figure 8; Table SA.3)
  • Victoria does not have any areas classified as Remote or Very remote.

In the period from 2014–15 to 2018–19:

  • the number of publicly funded treatment agencies in Victoria decreased from 140 in 2014–15 to 129 in 2015–16 and increased to 404 in 2018–19 (Table SA.1).

The horizontal bar chart shows that Victoria does not have any areas classified as Remote or Very remote. Most treatment agencies in Victoria were located in Major cities (258 agencies), followed by Inner regional (110 agencies) and Outer regional (36 agencies) areas. Nearly all (401 agencies) of the total 404 agencies were non-government.

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