Opioid pharmacotherapy dosing points

Clients attend a clinic or pharmacy (dosing point sites) regularly to take the dose of their prescribed medication under the supervision of a pharmacist or other health professional.

The National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data (NOPSAD) collection provides information on dosing sites providing pharmacotherapy drugs to clients on a snapshot day in June 2016.

For more details about the collection, refer to the Technical notes.

Most dosing points are located in pharmacies

Across the states and territories reporting data in 2016, there were 2,011 dosing points in 2015–16 (Table D1), a steady increase over the 10 years since 2006–07. Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) were located in pharmacies across all states and territories. These proportions are similar to previous years (Table S17).

Table D1: Dosing point sites, states and territories, 2015–16
Dosing point sites NSW(a) Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aust
Public clinic 35 11 1 3 2 2 54
Private clinic 12 8 20
Pharmacy 749 478 251 200 64 15 1,757
Correctional facility 2 4 2 8 1 1 18
Other(b)   74 84 2 2 162
Total (number) 872 585 256 211 69 18 2,011
Total (%)   43.4 29.1 12.7 10.5 3.4 0.9 100.0

 

— Nil or rounded to zero.

  1. See the Technical notes for more information about NSW. NSW and WA correctional dosing points are reported as 2 sites.
  2. The category 'other' includes hospitals, mobile dosing sites, community health clinics, non‑government organisations, doctors' surgeries and dosing points 'not stated'.

Note: Data for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory were unavailable for this release.

Source: National opioid pharmacotherapy statistics annual data (NOPSAD) 2016 collection. Data table [Table S17].

The proportion of clients taking each drug type varied between dosing points

Clients taking buprenorphine-naloxone were more likely to receive their dose at a pharmacy (79%) than clients taking methadone (62%) or buprenorphine only (56%). Clients who received their pharmacotherapy dose in correctional facilities were more likely to receive methadone (10% of total methadone dosed) than clients taking buprenorphine only (4% of total buprenorphine dosed) or buprenorphine-naloxone only (1% of total buprenorphine-naloxone dosed) (Figure D1). These proportions have remained similar for about the last 5 years (Table S13).

The proportion of clients dosed with buprenorphine-naloxone may be higher than reported, as clients receiving this treatment in New South Wales are reported as receiving buprenorphine. (Refer to Table S14 for a further breakdown of clients by pharmacotherapy type, dosing points, and state and territory.)

Figure D1: Clients receiving pharmacotherapy on a snapshot day, by pharmacotherapy type and dosing point site, 2016

The grouped vertical bar chart shows that clients taking buprenorphine-naloxone were more likely to receive their dose at a pharmacy (79%25) than clients taking methadone (62%25) or buprenorphine only (56%25).

Notes

  1. NSW reports ‘buprenorphine-naloxone’ as ‘buprenorphine’.
  2. Data for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory were unavailable for this release.

Source: National opioid pharmacotherapy statistics annual data (NOPSAD) 2016 collection. Data table [Table S13].

As with prescriber types, the characteristics of the clients treated at particular dosing point sites are not uniform. For those states and territories for which data were available (New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory), dosing points located in pharmacies treated an older client group (those aged 50 and over) than other dosing point sites. The client groups dosed at public clinics, private clinics and hospitals were similar (Table S29).

All dosing point sites (with the exception of ‘other’) treated more males than females, reflecting the overall proportion of males and females receiving pharmacotherapy treatment. The proportion of male clients ranged from 62% for pharmacy dosing points to 88% for correctional facility dosing points. The proportion of female clients ranged from 12% for correctional facility dosing points to 58% in other dosing points and 38% in pharmacy dosing points. Correctional facility dosing points dosed 8 male clients for every female client (Table S30).

On a snapshot day in June 2016, the large majority of clients dosed at public clinics were prescribed by public prescribers (8 in 10 clients). Likewise, almost all clients dosed at private clinics were dosed by private prescribers (9 in 10). For clients treated at pharmacies, about 3 in 10 were prescribed by public prescribers and about 7 in 10 by private prescribers (Table S31).

Dosing points dosed an average of 17 clients

Private clinics dosed, on average, more than 15 times as many clients as each pharmacy (183 clients per dosing point compared to 12) (Figure D2). Correctional facilities dosed an average of 134 clients, but this number is inflated as New South Wales and Western Australia report all correctional dosing points under 2 sites each rather than through individual correctional dosing points. When New South Wales and Western Australian data are excluded, correctional facilities dosed an average of 48 clients across the jurisdictions that supplied data (Table S23).

Figure D2: Clients per dosing point site, on a snapshot day, 2016

The vertical bar chart shows private clinic dosing points had the highest number of clients per dosing point on average, with 183 clients. Hospital dosing points had the lowest, with 4 clients per dosing point on average. Victorian and ACT data were not available for this analysis.

Notes

  1. NSW and WA correctional dosing points are reported as 2 sites.
  2. Data for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory were unavailable for this release.

Source: National opioid pharmacotherapy statistics annual data (NOPSAD) 2016 collection. Data table [Table S23].

Of the reported jurisdictions, on a snapshot day in June 2016, most (72%) dosing points treated between 1 and 20 clients with only 5% treating more than 50 clients. Thirty five per cent of dosing points treated 1–5 clients, 15% treated 21–50, and 18% 11–20. The pattern of client numbers per dosing point varied greatly across states and territories (Table S20).

Of the states and territories who reported in 2016, the average number of clients per dosing point was 17 (Figure D3). The average has slowly declined each year since 2011 when it peaked at 21 (Table S21). New South Wales had the highest ratio of clients per dosing point (23), while the Northern Territory had the lowest number of clients per dosing point (8) (Figure D3).

Figure D3: Clients per dosing point site, states and territories, 2012 to 2016

The grouped vertical bar chart shows New South Wales had highest average numbers of clients per dosing point, between 2012 and 2016 compared to other states and territories.

Note: Data for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory were unavailable for 2016 for this release.

Source: National opioid pharmacotherapy statistics annual data (NOPSAD) 2016 collection. Data table [Table S21].

Dosing points were located mainly in Major cities

Figure D4 shows the distribution of dosing point sites across the states and territories who reported in 2016. The majority of dosing points were located in Major cities. However, when taking the population into account, there were 12 dosing points per 100,000 population in Very remote areas, compared to 7 dosing points per 100,000 population in Major cities. The rate of dosing points per population increased with increasing remoteness in New South Wales and Queensland (Table S18).

Figure D4: Dosing point sites, by Statistical Areas Level 2, 2016

The choropleth map shows the number of dosing point sites per Statistical Area Level 2 across Australia. The map shows the majority of dosing point sites are located along the coastal regions.

Note: Data for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory were unavailable for this release.

Source: National opioid pharmacotherapy statistics annual data (NOPSAD) 2016 collection.