Queensland

In 2019–20, 194 publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in Queensland provided 46,454 closed treatment episodes to 34,471 clients (tables SA.1, SCR.21). Queensland reported:

  • a 3% decrease in closed treatment episodes from 47,831 in 2018–19 to 46,454 in 2019–20, and a 4% increase in closed treatment episodes since 2015–16 (44,534).
  • client numbers decreased from 35,800 in 2015–16 to 35,123 in 2018–19, decreasing further to 34,471 in 2019–20 (note: 2015–16 client numbers are based on imputed values).

The visualisation shows that 46,454 closed treatment episodes were provided to an estimated 34,471 clients in Queensland in 2019–20. This equates to a rate of 1,038 episodes per 100,000 population, a lower rate than the 1,064 episodes reported nationally and 770 clients per 100,000 population, a higher rate than the 624 clients per 100,000 population reported nationally.

In 2019–20, most (88%) clients in Queensland attended 1 agency, and received an average of 1.3 closed treatment episodes, which is lower than the national average of 1.7 treatment episodes (tables SCR.21, SCR.23).


Client demographics

In 2019–20:

  • nearly all (97%) clients in Queensland received treatment for their own alcohol or drug use, of which most (65%) were male (Figure 9)
  • clients receiving treatment for someone else’s alcohol or drug use were more likely to be female (72%)
  • just over half (51%) of all clients were aged 20–39 years, and 15% were aged 10–19 years which is higher than the national proportion (10%)   
  • about 1 in 6 (17%) of all clients identified as Indigenous Australians, which is consistent with 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 QLD.1–3, SC.3–4, SC QLD.21–22).

The visualisation includes a series of horizontal bar graphs showing that, in 2019–20, nearly all (97%) clients in Queensland received treatment for their own drug use. Of these clients, around two-thirds (65%) were male, 52% were aged 20–39, and 17% were Indigenous Australians. Nearly all clients (99%) listed English as their preferred language and most (89%) were born in Australia.

Patterns of service use

Over the period 2015–16 to 2019–20, 132,067 clients received treatment in Queensland. Of these clients:

  • the majority received treatment in a single year (78%):
    • 16% (21,569) received treatment for the first time in 2019–20
    • a further 62% (81,899) received treatment in only one of the four collection periods (excluding 2019–20)
  • 15% (20,011) of clients received treatment in any 2 of the 5 years
  • 4.5% (5,962) of clients received treatment in any 3 of the 5 years
  • 1.5% (2,048) of clients received treatment in any 4 of the 5 years
  • 0.4% (578) of clients received treatment in all 5 collection years (Table SCR.28).

Drugs of concern

In 2019–20, for clients in Queensland receiving treatment episodes for their own alcohol or drug use:

  • alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern (34% of episodes) (Figure 10; Table SE QLD.10)
  • amphetamines and cannabis were the second most common principal drugs of concern (both 27%). In Queensland, the level of cannabis reported as the principal drug of concern is a result of the police and illicit drug court diversion programs operating in the state (Table SE QLD.12)  
  • within the amphetamines group:
    • methamphetamine was reported as a principal drug of concern in over 4 in 5 (86%) treatment episodes (Figure 10a)

    •  in half (50%) of treatment episodes where methamphetamine was the principal drug of concern, injecting was the most common method of use, followed by smoking (40%) (Figure 10b).

Queensland 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).

 When the client reported additional drugs of concern:

  • cannabis was the most common additional drug (19% of episodes), followed by nicotine (16%) and alcohol (15%) (Table SE QLD.11).

Over the period 2015–16 to 2019–20:

  • the proportion of episodes reporting alcohol as a principal drug of concern ranged from 27% in 2015–16 to 34% in 2019–20. Alcohol replaced cannabis as the most common principal drug of concern in 2018–19 (Table SE QLD.10).
  • amphetamines and cannabis were the second most common principal drugs of concern, with treatment episodes for amphetamines increasing since 2015–16 (17% to 27%) and decreasing for cannabis (from 39% to 27%)
  • within the amphetamines group, methamphetamine was reported as the principal drug of concern in 65% of episodes in 2015–16, rising to 86% in 2019–20 (Figure 10a). The rise in episodes where methamphetamines were the principal drug of concern may be related to increases in funded treatment services and improvements in agency coding practices for methamphetamines
  • the proportion of treatment episodes in Queensland where cannabis was the principal drug of concern was higher than the national proportion in 2019–20 (27% compared with 18%) (Table SD.2).
     

The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2019–20, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in treatment episodes provided to clients in Queensland for their own drug use (34%). This was followed by cannabis and amphetamines (both 27%), and heroin (1.9%). Cannabis was the most common additional drug of concern (19%), followed by nicotine (16%) and alcohol (15%).

The line graph shows that methamphetamine has remained the most common drug of concern among meth/amphetamine-related treatment episodes for clients’ own drug use since 2015–16, increasing from 65% of meth/amphetamine-related episodes in 2015–16 to 86% in 2019–20. Conversely, there was a decrease in the proportion of episodes relating to amphetamines not further defined (from 27% to 8.5%) and amphetamine (from 4.0% to 3.8%).

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 Queensland in 2019–20. Injecting was the most common method of use across all amphetamine codes (50%–56% of treatment episodes), except for amphetamines where smoking was the most common method of use (41%). Other methods of use varied by meth/amphetamine type. Smoking was the second most common method of use for amphetamines not further defined (24%), methamphetamine (40%), and other amphetamines (31%).


Treatment

In 2019–20, for treatment episodes in Queensland:

  • counselling was the most common main treatment (43% of episodes), followed by information and education (21%) (Figure 11)
  • the proportion of episodes for information and education as a main treatment was 3 times the national proportion (21% compared with 7%) (tables SE QLD.20, ST.5)
  • where an additional treatment was provided as supplementary to the main treatment, counselling (10%) was also the most common type of additional treatment, followed by information and education (6%). See technical notes for further detail on calculating proportions for additional treatment type.

Over the period 2015–16 to 2019–20:

  • the proportion of all closed treatment episodes where counselling was the main treatment type fluctuated between 32% in 2015–16 and 43% in 2019–20. Counselling replaced information and education as the most common main treatment type in 2016–17
  • information and education as a main treatment type decreased in 2019–20, dropping from 25% in 2018–19 to 21% in 2019–20.

In Queensland, treatment episodes provided to people diverted into AOD services by police and court diversion programs are recorded as information and education. The diversion programs have contributed to the high proportion of information and education treatment episodes in Queensland due to state initiatives. Treatment involves a 60–90 minute session, including comprehensive alcohol/other drug assessment, assessment of risk-taking behaviours, physical/ mental health and provision of information to assist in reducing/ceasing alcohol or drug use and referral to further treatment if required.

The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2019–20, the most common main treatment type provided to clients in Queensland for their own drug use was counselling (43% of episodes). This was followed by information and education (21%), assessment only (14%), and withdrawal management (7.5%). Counselling (10.5%) was the most common additional treatment, followed by information and education (6.4%).


Agencies

In 2019–20 in Queensland:

  • more than two-thirds (68%) of AOD agencies that received public funding were non-government treatment agencies
  • 50% of the 194 treatment agencies were located in Major cities, followed by Outer regional (21%) and Inner regional (19%) areas
  • around 11% of all government treatment agencies were located in Remote and Very remote areas (Figure 12; Table SA.3).

In the 5 years to 2019–20, the number of publicly funded treatment agencies in Queensland steadily increased from 158 in 2015–16 to 194 in 2019–20 (Table SA.1).

The horizontal bar chart shows that most treatment agencies in Queensland were located in Major cities (97 agencies), followed by Outer regional (40 agencies) and Inner regional (36 agencies) areas. Of the total 194 treatment agencies, most (132 agencies) were non-government agencies.