Western Australia

In 2019–20, 104 publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in Western Australia provided 25,090 closed treatment episodes to 19,133 clients (tables SA.1, SCR.21).

Western Australia reported:

  • a less than 1% decrease in closed treatment episodes from 25,236 in 2018–19 to 25,090 in 2019–20, and a 4% increase in closed treatment episodes since 2015–16 (24,206)
  • client numbers increased from 17,912 in 2015–16 to 19,348 in 2018–19, and decreased to 19,133 in 2019–20 (note: 2015–16 client numbers are based on imputed values).

The visualisation shows that 25,090 closed treatment episodes were provided to an estimated 19,133 clients in Western Australia in 2019–20. This equates to a rate of 1,094 episodes and 835 clients per 100,000 population, a higher rate than the 1,064 episodes and 624 clients per 100,000 population nationally.

In 2019–20, most (86%) clients in Western Australia 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:

  • most (92%) clients in Western Australia received treatment for their own alcohol or drug use, of which, most (65%) were male (Figure 13)
  • clients receiving treatment for someone else’s alcohol or drug use were more likely to be female (73%)
  • over half (54%) of all clients were aged 20–39 years
  • nearly 1 in 4 (23%) of all clients identified as Indigenous Australians, which is higher than the national proportion (17%)
  • the majority (83%) of all clients were born in Australia and nearly all (98%) reported English as their preferred language (tables SC WA.1–3, SC.4, SC WA.21 –22).

The visualisation includes a series of horizontal bar graphs showing that, in 2019–20, over 9 in 10 (92%) clients in Western Australia received treatment for their own drug use. Of these clients, around two-thirds (65%) were male, 57% were aged 20–39, and 24% were Indigenous Australians. Nearly all clients (98%) listed English as their preferred language and most (84%) were born in Australia.

Patterns of service use

Over the period 2015–16 to 2019–20, 67,882 clients received treatment in Western Australia. Of these clients:

  • the majority received treatment in a single year (74%):
    • 16% (11,067) received treatment for the first time in 2019–20
    • a further 58% (39,213) received treatment in only one of the four collection periods (excluding 2019–20)
  • 18% (12,047) of clients received treatment in any 2 of the 5 years
  • 5.8% (3,916) of clients received treatment in any 3 of the 5 years
  • 1.9% (1,275) of clients received treatment in any 4 of the 5 years
  • 0.5% (364) of clients received treatment in all 5 collection years (Table SCR.28).

Drugs of concern

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

  • Amphetamines and alcohol were the most common principal drugs of concern (both 34% of treatment episodes) (Figure 14; Table SE WA.10);
  • within the amphetamines group:
    • methamphetamine was reported as a principal drug of concern in 9 in 10 (92%) treatment episodes; in over half (53%) of treatment episodes where methamphetamine was the principal drug of concern, injecting was the most common method of use, followed by smoking (42%) (Figure 14b)
  • cannabis accounted for the third highest proportion of episodes (21%), followed by heroin (5%).

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 (23% of episodes), followed by alcohol (16%), nicotine (15%), and amphetamines (11%) (Table SE WA.11).

Over the period 2015–16 to 2019–20:

  • alcohol and amphetamines were the most common principal drugs of concern for clients in 2019–20 (both 34% of episodes) with alcohol rising from 30% in 2015–16 and amphetamines fluctuating between 34–36% over this period (Table SE WA.10)
  • while the proportion of treatment episodes for amphetamines in Western Australia is similar to the national proportion in 2019–20, in previous years it has been higher (Table SD.2)
  • within the amphetamines group, methamphetamine was reported as the principal drug of concern in over 3 in 4 episodes (76%) in 2015–16, rising to 92% in 2019–20 (Figure 14a)
  • cannabis was the third most common principal drug of concern for clients and has remained consistently higher than the national proportion, ranging from 23% to 21% over this period.
     

The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2019–20, amphetamines and alcohol were the most common principal drugs of concern in treatment episodes provided to clients in Western Australia for their own drug use (both 34%). This was followed by cannabis (21%) and heroin (5.5%). Cannabis was the most common additional drug of concern (23% of episodes), followed by alcohol (16%) and nicotine (15%).

The line graph shows that, between 2015–16 and 2019–20, 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 76% in 2015–16 to 92% in 2019–20. Conversely, there was a decrease in the proportion of episodes relating to amphetamines (from 19% to 7.1%).

The stacked horizontal bar chart shows the method of use for treatment episodes related to clients’ own use of meth/amphetamines in Western Australia in 2019–20. Injecting and smoking were the first and second most common methods of use, respectively, for treatment episodes relating to amphetamine (59% for injecting and 34% for smoking) and methamphetamine (55% and 43%, respectively). All episodes for other amphetamines as the principal drug of concern listed ingesting as the method of use.


Treatment

In 2019–20, for treatment episodes in Western Australia:

  • counselling was the most common main treatment (71% of episodes), followed by support and case management 7% (Figure 15; Table SE WA.20).

Western Australia does not differentiate between main and other treatment types.

Over the period 2015–16 to 2019–20:

  • counselling remained the most common main treatment for all closed episodes. The proportion of episodes where counselling was a main treatment type remained substantially higher in Western Australia than nationally over the period, ranging from 65% to 71% in Western Australia compared with 36% to 37% nationally (Tables SE WA.20 and ST.2)
  • the second most common main treatment type has varied between withdrawal management, pharmacotherapy and support and case management ranging from 6–8% of episodes.

The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2019–20, the most common main treatment type provided to clients in Western Australia for their own drug use was counselling (71% of episodes). This was followed by support and case management (6.9%), pharmacotherapy and withdrawal management (6.0% and 5.9% respectively). No additional treatment types were reported.

Agencies

In 2019–20, in Western Australia:

  • 9 in 10 (90%) AOD agencies that received public funding were non-government treatment agencies
  • 3 in 5 (63%) of the 104 treatment agencies were located in Major cities (Figure 16; Table SA.3)
  • Very remote areas were the only areas where there were more government than non-government agencies (6 and 4, respectively).

In the 5 years to 2019–20, the number of publicly funded treatment agencies in Western Australia rose from 79 to 104 (Table SA.1).

The horizontal bar chart shows that most treatment agencies in Western Australia were located in Major cities (65 agencies), followed by Outer regional and Remote areas (12 and 11 agencies respectively). Of the total 104 treatment agencies, most (94 agencies) were non-government agencies.