Drugs of concern

In 2017–18, for clients receiving treatment episodes for their own drug use:

  • amphetamines were the most common principal drug of concern for clients in South Australia (35% of episodes) (Figure 18; Tables SE SA.10)
  • alcohol accounted for over one‑quarter of treatment episodes (28%), followed by cannabis (18%), and nicotine (6%).

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:

  • nicotine was the most common (32% of episodes), followed by cannabis (25%), alcohol (14%), and amphetamines (12%) (Table SE SA.11).

Over the period 2013–14 to 2017–18:

  • alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern for clients up until 2015–16, then replaced by amphetamines.  Alcohol decreased from 36% of episodes in 2013–14 to 28% in 2017–18 (Table SE SA.10)
  • conversely, amphetamines rose from 27% to 37% in 2016–17, then decreased to 35% in 2017–18.

The proportion of treatment episodes for amphetamines as a principal drug of concern has been consistently higher in South Australia than the national rate. This is related to a state Government legislated program regarding assessments provided under a Police Drug Diversion initiative. The program results in comparatively high rates of engagement with methamphetamine users. In addition, due to the Cannabis Expiation Notice legislation in South Australia, adult simple cannabis offences are not diverted to treatment and so are not included in the data (see the Data Quality Statement).