Australian Capital Territory

In 2019–20, 16 publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in the Australian Capital Territory provided 6,438 closed treatment episodes to 4,080 clients (tables SA.1, SCR.21).

The Australian Capital Territory reported:

  • a 4% decrease in closed treatment episodes from 6,700 in 2018–19 to 6,438 in 2019–20, and a 9% increase in closed treatment episodes since 2015–16 (5,914)
  • client numbers increased steadily over the 5 year period ranging from 3,524 in 2015–16 to 4,080 in 2019–20 (note: 2015–16 client numbers are based on imputed values).

Figure 4.2

 

In 2019–20, most (80%) clients in the Australian Capital Territory attended 1 agency, and received an average of 1.6 closed treatment episodes, similar to the national average of 1.7 treatment episodes (tables SCR.21, SCR.23).


Client demographics

In 2019–20:

  • nearly all (97%) clients in the Australian Capital Territory received treatment for their own alcohol or drug use, of which, most (66%) were male (Figure 25)
  • clients receiving treatment for someone else’s alcohol or drug use were more likely to be female (76%)
  • over half (51%) of all clients were aged 20–39 years
  • over 1 in 10 (13%) of all clients identified as Indigenous Australians, which is lower than the national proportion (17%)
  • the majority (89%) of all clients were born in Australia and nearly all (99%) reported English as their preferred language (tables SC ACT.1–3, SC.4, SC ACT.21–22).

Figure 4.2

Patterns of service use

Over the period 2015–16 to 2019–20, 13,559 clients received treatment in the Australian Capital Territory. Of these clients:

  • the majority received treatment in a single year (72%):
    • 17% (2,306) received treatment for the first time in 2019–20
    • a further 55% (7,448) received treatment in only one of the four collection periods (excluding 2019–20)
  • 17% (2,277) of clients received treatment in any 2 of the 5 years
  • 6.4% (874) of clients received treatment in any 3 of the 5 years
  • 3.5% (475) of clients received treatment in any 4 of the 5 years
  • 1.3% (176) of clients received treatment in all 5 collection years (Table SCR.28).

Drugs of concern

In 2019–20, 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 (42% 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 (11%), and heroin (10%);
  • within the amphetamines group: 
    • methamphetamine was reported as a principal drug of concern in 9 in 10 (90%) treatment episodes (Figure 26a)
    • in almost half (47%) of the treatment episodes where methamphetamine was the principal drug of concern smoking was the most common method of use, followed by injecting (40%) (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 2019–20, when the client reported additional drugs of concern:

  • cannabis was the most common additional drug (15%), followed by nicotine (14%) and alcohol and amphetamines (both 8%) (Table SE ACT.11).

Over the period 2015–16 to 2019–20:

  • alcohol remained the most common principal drug of concern in episodes provided to clients, remaining stable between 2015–16 and 2019–20 (42%) (Table SE ACT.10)
  • amphetamines decreased from 25% in 2016–17 to 23% in 2019–20
  • within the amphetamines group, methamphetamine was reported as the principal drug of concern in 69% of episodes in 2015–16, rising to 89% in 2019–20 (Figure 26a)
  • the rise in episodes may 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 2015–16 (15% to 11%)
  • 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).

Figure 4.2

Figure 4.2


Treatment

In 2019–20, for treatment episodes in the Australian Capital Territory:

  • information and education was the most common main treatment (28% of episodes) (Figure 27; Table SE ACT.20)
  • counselling was the second most common main treatment (27%), followed by assessment only (15%)
  • where an additional treatment was provided as a supplementary to the main treatment, counselling (7%) was the most common additional treatment.  See technical notes for further information on calculating proportions for additional treatment type.

Over the period 2015–16 to 2019–20:

  • the most common main treatment for clients has remained information and education, ranging from 24% in 2015–16 to 32% in 2017–18 before decreasing to 28% in 2019–20 (SE ACT.20)
  • 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 in 2019–20 (28%)
  • treatment agencies provided proportionally less counselling (ranging from 21% to 28% in the ACT compared with 36% to 40% nationally) and proportionally more information and education than nationally (ranging from 24% to 32% in the ACT compared with 7% to 9% nationally) (Tables SE ACT.20 and ST.2).

Figure 4.2


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 2015–16 to 2019–20, the number of publicly funded treatment agencies rose from 15 to 16 agencies (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.