Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection. Cat. no. PHE 266. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 24 April 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services/national-opioid-pharmacotherapy-statistics
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services/national-opioid-pharmacotherapy-statistics
National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 31 March 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services/national-opioid-pharmacotherapy-statistics
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2021 Apr. 24]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services/national-opioid-pharmacotherapy-statistics
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection, viewed 24 April 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services/national-opioid-pharmacotherapy-statistics
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On a snapshot day in 2020, over 53,300 clients received pharmacotherapy treatment for their opioid dependence at 3,084 dosing points across Australia. There were 3,422 authorised prescribers of opioid pharmacotherapy drugs.
Around 1 in 10 opioid pharmacotherapy clients identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
There were 3,422 authorised opioid pharmacotherapy prescribers
On average, 16 opioid pharmacotherapy clients were treated by each prescriber
2 in 3 opioid pharmacotherapy clients were male
Most dosing points were located in pharmacies.
Nationally there were 3,084 dosing points in 2019–20 (Table 2), a 40% increase over the 10 years since 2010–11. Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) were located in pharmacies, which were the most common dosing point sites in all states and territories. These proportions are similar to previous years (Table S17).
— Nil or rounded to zero.
Source: National opioid pharmacotherapy statistics annual data (NOPSAD) 2020 collection. Supplementary Table S17.
Most clients received their opioid pharmacotherapy treatment at a pharmacy.
Most clients, irrespective of pharmacotherapy type, received their pharmacotherapy treatment at a pharmacy (71%) in 2020 (Table S13).
Pharmacies were the most common dosing points for clients receiving methadone (71%), followed by public clinics (9.8%) and correctional facilities (7.4%). For clients who received buprenorphine, 53% dosed at a pharmacy and 20% dosed at a public clinic. For clients whose pharmacotherapy treatment was buprenorphine-naloxone, pharmacies were the most common dosing point (86% of clients) (Figure DOSING1).
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. Clients receiving buprenorphine LAI was reported for the first time in 2020. (Refer to Table S14 for a further breakdown of clients by pharmacotherapy type, dosing points, and state and territory).
On a snapshot day in 2020, most clients received pharmacotherapy treatment at a pharmacy. This was consistent across all pharmacotherapy types, with pharmacies remaining the most common dosing point site among clients receiving buprenorphine (53%), methadone (72%) and buprenorphine naloxone (86%).
On the snapshot day (excluding data from Victoria and Queensland), the characteristics of the clients treated at particular types of dosing point are different across the dosing sites. Dosing point sites located in pharmacies continued to treat an older client group in 2020. Of clients who received their pharmacotherapy at a pharmacy, the 50 and over age group comprised the highest proportion of clients (38%). Conversely, in correctional facilitates the 30–39 age group comprised the highest proportion of clients (40%), and those aged 50 and over comprised the lowest proportion of clients (9.5%). The client groups dosed at public clinics and private clinics had similar age distributions (Table S29).
All dosing point sites from the selected states and territories treated more males than females, reflecting the overall proportion of more males than females receiving pharmacotherapy treatment. The proportion of male clients ranged from 63% for pharmacy dosing points to 91% for correctional facility dosing points. The proportion of female clients ranged from 9.0% for correctional facility dosing points to 37% in pharmacy dosing points (Table S30).
Across all dosing point types from the selected states and territories, the majority of clients received pharmacotherapy treatment at a pharmacy (53%), followed by public clinic (16%) and correctional facility (8.9%). Among clients who received treatment at a pharmacy dosing point, most were prescribed by a private prescriber (35%). Across all dosing point types, the majority of clients received treatment from a public prescriber (53%) (Table S31).
Dosing points dosed an average of 17 clients.
Private clinics (from New South Wales and Queensland) dosed 198 clients per dosing point. Pharmacies dosed 14 clients per dosing point (Figure DOSING2). Correctional facilities dosed an average of 104 clients but this number is inflated as New South Wales and Western Australia report all correctional dosing points as being under 2 sites each, rather than counting individual correctional dosing points. When New South Wales and Western Australian data are excluded, correctional facilities dosed an average of 41 clients across the remaining jurisdictions that supplied data (Table S23).
In 2020, private clinics had the highest number of clients per dosing point on average, with 198 clients. Hospital dosing points had the lowest (4 clients per dosing point).
On a snapshot day in 2020, most (70%) dosing points treated between 1 and 20 clients with 6.9% treating more than 50 clients —the majority of which were in NSW and Victoria. Thirty–seven per cent of dosing points treated 1–5 clients (Table S20).
In 2020, the average number of clients per dosing point was 17. The average has declined gradually from a peak of 21 in 2011. The Australian Capital Territory had the highest ratio of clients per dosing point (27), while the Northern Territory had the lowest ratio of clients per dosing point (7) (Figure DOSING3).
The line graph shows the Australian Capital Territory had highest ratio of clients per dosing point (27) on a snapshot day in 2020. The Northern Territory had the lowest ratio of clients per dosing point (7).
Dosing points were located mainly in Major cities.
On a snapshot day in 2020, the majority of dosing points were located in Major cities (1,889 or 61% of dosing point sites), followed by Inner regional (726 or 24%) and Outer regional areas (380 or 12%).
When taking the size of the population into account, Remote areas had the highest rate of dosing point sites (19 dosing points per 100,000 population), followed by Outer regional areas (18 dosing points per 100,000 population) and Inner regional areas (16 dosing points per 100,000 population). There were 15 dosing points per 100,000 population in Very remote areas, and 10 dosing points per 100,000 population in Major cities (Table S18).
Since 2014, dosing point rates (per 100,000 population) have increased in all remoteness areas, with the largest increases occurring in Remote and Very Remote areas. It is important to note that these rates do not reflect the number of clients receiving opioid pharmacotherapy treatment at each dosing point in these areas. This information is not currently collected by the NOPSAD collection.
Figure DOSING4 shows the number of dosing point sites by Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2) in 2020. An SA2 is a geographical classification that is defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. SA2’s generally comprise 3,000 to 25,000 persons and aim to represent communities that engage both socially and economically (ABS 2016).
Dosing point site types include public clinics, private clinics, pharmacies and correctional facilities, with the vast majority being pharmacies (88%). The number of dosing point sites within an SA2 may be driven by a range of factors, including:
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