Drugs of concern

In 2016–17, amphetamines were the most common principal drug of concern in episodes provided to clients for their own drug use in South Australia (37% of clients, and 37% of episodes) (Figure 18; Tables SC SA.4 and SD.8). Alcohol accounted for over one‑quarter of treatment episodes (27%), followed by cannabis (19%), and nicotine (5%).

When closed episodes for additional drugs of concern are considered, nicotine was the most common additional drug, accounting for 31% of closed treatment episodes, followed by cannabis (23%), alcohol (14%), and amphetamines (12%) (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 in closed treatment episodes provided to clients for their own drug use, until it was replaced by amphetamines in 2015–16. Over this period, alcohol has decreased, from 38% of treatment episodes in 2012–13 to 27% in 2016–17, while amphetamines rose from 24% to 37% (Table SD.2).

The proportion of closed treatment episodes for clients’ own drug use where amphetamines were the principal drug of concern has been consistently higher in South Australia than the national average, which has ranged from 14% to 26% (Table SD.2). This is related to assessments provided under the Police Drug Diversion Initiative. This program is legislated in South Australia, unlike other jurisdictions, and 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 excluded from the data (see the Data quality statement).

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