Completion of treatment

Reasons for clients no longer receiving treatment from an AOD treatment service include expected cessations (for example, treatment program completed), unplanned cessations (for example, the client ceased to participate in the treatment program without notice) and administrative cessation (for example, client transferred to another service provider) (see Key terminology and glossary).

In 2019–20,

  • treatment episodes for client’s own alcohol or drug use:
    • around 3 in 5 (59%) treatment episodes ended as expected (planned) completions
    • around 1 in 5 (21%) of treatment episodes ended due to an unplanned completion
    • 1 in 14 (7%) treatment episodes were referred to another service or changed treatment mode, and the remaining 13% of treatment episodes ended for other reasons.
  • This pattern differed slightly for clients who received support for someone else’s alcohol or drug use; treatment episodes that ended due to unplanned completion were lower (14%) than episodes for a client’s own alcohol or drug use (Figure COMPLETION1).

Figure COMPLETION1: Closed treatment episodes, by client type and reason for cessation, 2010–11 to 2019–20 (%)

Figure 5.5

In 2019–20, completion of treatment episodes for a client’s own drug use varied by principle drug of concern. For example, episodes of treatment for:

  • volatile solvents (81%), ecstasy (79%) and nicotine (78%) had the highest proportion of treatment episodes ending with an expected cessation
  • morphine or buprenorphine as the principal drug of concern (both 46%) had the lowest proportion of episodes for an expected cessation
  • amphetamines had the highest proportion of episodes for unplanned cessations (26%), followed by heroin (22%) and morphine (21%) (Figure COMPLETION2).

Figure COMPLETION2: Closed treatment episodes for selected drugs, by principal drug of concern and reason for cessation, 2014–15 to 2019–20 (%) 

The stacked horizontal bar graph shows the proportion of reason for cessation by principal drug of concern in 2019–20. Expected (planned) cessation was the most common reason for cessation across all principal drugs of concern. Ended due to unplanned completion was the second most common reason for cessation within alcohol (19%), amphetamines (26%), cannabis (19%) and heroin (22%). Other reasons for cessation varieddepending on the principal drug of concern.

Over the 10 years to 2019–20, for a client’s own alcohol or drug use:

  • the proportion of treatment episodes that ended in an expected cessation decreased overall, falling by 9 percentage points to 59%
  • decreases in expected cessation were highest for treatment episodes where the principal drug of concern was: amphetamines (down 13 percentage points to 51%), heroin (8 percentage points to 54% ), and morphine (7 percentage points to 46%) (Table SD.16).

Over the 10 years to 2019–20, for someone else’s alcohol or drug use:

  • the proportion of treatment episodes with an expected cessation decreased from 2010–11 (72%) to 2018–19 (55%) and 56% in 2019–20 (Table SE.18).