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 Northern Territory (56% of clients, and 56% of episodes) (Figure 30; Tables SC NT.4 and SD.8). Cannabis was also common as a principal drug (17%), followed by amphetamines (14%), and volatile solvents (8%), which is much higher than the national average (less than 1%).

When additional drugs of concern are considered, cannabis (20% of episodes) was the most common additional drug, followed by nicotine (17%), and alcohol (13%) (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 for clients receiving treatment for their own drug use. After decreasing from 2013–14 (61%) to 2015–16 (48%), the proportion of closed treatment episodes where alcohol was the principal drug of concern increased in 2016–17 (56%). The proportion of closed treatment episodes for alcohol in the Northern Territory remains the highest across all states and territories, and was considerably higher than the national average in 2016–17 (56% compared with 32% nationally) (Table SD.2).

The proportion of closed episodes for clients’ own drug use where volatile solvents were a drug of concern has decreased in the 5 years since 2012–13, fluctuating from 14% in 2012–13 to 8% in 2016–17. Over the same period, amphetamines as a principal drug of concern increased from 5% to 14%, and cannabis rose from 11% to 17%, although peaking in 2015–16 at 19% (Table SD.2).

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