Drugs of concern

In 2016–17, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in episodes provided to clients for their own drug use in the Australian Capital Territory (43% of clients, and 43% of episodes) (Figure 26; Tables SC ACT.4 and SD.8). Amphetamines were also common as a principal drug, accounting for one-quarter (25%) of treatment episodes, followed by cannabis (14%), and heroin (8%).

When additional drugs of concern are considered, nicotine (22% of episodes) was the most common additional drug, followed by cannabis (19%), alcohol (11%), and amphetamines (9%) (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 episodes provided to clients for their own drug use. This was followed by cannabis until 2014–15, when amphetamines became the second most common principal drug of concern. Heroin was the third most common drug for clients seeking treatment for their own drug use, until it was replaced by amphetamines in 2013–14, then cannabis in 2014–15. The proportion of closed treatment episodes where alcohol, cannabis and heroin was the principal drug of concern have all steadily declined in the 5 years to 2016–17 (48% to 43%, 18% to 14%, and 16% to 8%, respectively), while amphetamines has consistently increased over the same period (11% to 25%).

The proportion of episodes involving heroin over the 5 years to 2016–17 was higher than the national average (ranging from 16% in 2012–13 to 8% in 2016–17 in the Australian Capital Territory compared with 8% to 5% respectively nationally) (Table SD.2).

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