Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2017–18: key findings

Drugs and alcohol Australia

Alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services across Australia provide a broad range of treatment services and support to people using drugs, and to their families and friends. These key findings present high-level information for 2017–18 about publicly funded AOD treatment service agencies, the people they treat, and the treatment provided.

Key Findings:

In 2017–18:

  • 952 publicly funded AOD treatment agencies provided 209,287 treatment episodes to 130,031 clients aged 10 or over. This equates to 602 clients and 969 episodes per 100,000 people
  • nationally, clients received an average of 1.6 treatment episodes for their own drug use
  • across all jurisdictions, the number of agencies ranged from 16 in the Australian Capital Territory to 390 in New South Wales
  • the most common principal drugs of concern that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (34% of all treatment episodes), amphetamines (25%), cannabis (21%) and heroin (5%)
  • nationally, counselling was the most common treatment type (39%).
  • Over the period from 2013–14 to 2017–18:
  • the number of publicly funded agencies providing data about services for clients seeking treatment and support rose from 796 to 952
  • nationally, the 4 most common principal drugs of concern remained consistent, with amphetamines increasing as a proportion of closed treatment episodes, from 17% to 25%
  • the proportion of closed episodes where alcohol was the principal drug of concern decreased from 40% to 34%
  • nationally, counselling remained the most common main treatment type, followed by assessment only
  • the proportion of episodes with counselling as the main treatment type for the principal drug of concern of alcohol fell from 45% to 41%
  • the median duration of heroin treatment episodes decreased from 29 days to 23 days, the largest change in treatment duration compared with alcohol, cannabis and amphetamines.  


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