Drugs of concern

In 2016–17, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in treatment episodes provided to clients for their own drug use in New South Wales (36% of clients, and 37% of episodes) (Figure 2; Table SC NSW.4 and SD.8). Amphetamines were also common as a principal drug, accounting for over one-quarter of closed episodes (27%), followed by cannabis (18%), and heroin (7%).

When episodes for additional drugs of concern are considered, nicotine was the most common additional drug of concern, accounting for 15% of closed episodes, followed by cannabis (12%), amphetamines (8%), and alcohol (7%) (clients can nominate up to 5 additional drugs of concern for their treatment episode).

Over the 5 years to 2016–17, alcohol remained the most common principal drug of concern for closed episodes provided for clients’ own drug use, even though the proportion of these episodes declined (from 43% to 37%). Amphetamines replaced cannabis in 2014–15 as the second most common principal drug of concern in New South Wales, and has steadily increased since 2012–13 (from 14% to 27%). Cannabis is now the third most common principal drug of concern. This is consistent with the national picture (Table SD.2).

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