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 Western Australia (34% of episodes) (Figure 14; Tables SE WA.10)
- almost 9 in 10 (88%) treatment episodes within the amphetamines code group reported methamphetamines as a principal drug of concern
- alcohol accounted for the second highest proportion of episodes (32%), followed by cannabis (23%), and heroin (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:
- cannabis was the most common additional drug (25% of episodes), followed by alcohol (18%), nicotine (17%), and amphetamines (13%) (Table SE WA.11).
Over the period 2013–14 to 2017–18:
- alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern for clients up until 2015–16, where it was replaced by amphetamines, decreasing from 36% of episodes to 29% in 2016–17, and rising to 32% in 2017–18 (Table SE WA.10)
- conversely, the trend for amphetamines as a principal drug of concern in Western Australia is higher than the national rate, increasing from 23% in 2013–14 to 36% in 2016–17, then falling to 34% in 2017–18; compared to national results, 17% in 2013–14 increasing to 26% in 2016–17, then dropping to 25% in 2017–18 (Table SD.2)
- one-third of episodes (33%) reported methamphetamine as a principal drug of concern within the amphetamines code group in 2013–14, rising to 64% in 2014–15, 76% in the following year and 88% in 2017–18; the rise in episodes could be related to a mixture of increases in treatment services or improvement in agency coding practices for methamphetamines
- cannabis was the third principal drug of concern for clients and remained consistently higher than the national rate, ranging from 25% to 23% over this period in Western Australia.