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10 interesting stats on the treatment of drug dependency across Australia, including uptake of opioid pharmacotherapy

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has published the latest data on opioid pharmacotherapy, as well as the uptake of alcohol and other drug treatment services.

Here are the 10 key findings:

1. In 2016, two in three people (65%) receiving opioid pharmacotherapy treatment were male.

2. Those receiving pharmacotherapy ranged in age from late teens to 85 years, with a median age of 42.

3. Heroin was the most common opioid drug of dependence for which pharmacotherapy treatment was sought (36%), followed by oxycodone (6%), morphine (6%), and codeine (5%).

4. From 2008-2016, numbers of methadone treatment fell from 70% to 65%, while buprenorphine rose from 15% to 19%. Buprenorphine-naloxone has remained stable at 16%.

5. There were 2,011 dosing points (excluding Victoria and the ACT) – 87% were pharmacies.

6. In 2015-16, two in three people (67%) accessing alcohol and other drug treatment services were male. Just over half of those seeking treatment were aged 20-39 years (55%).

7. The top principal drugs that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (32%), amphetamines (23%), cannabis (23%) and heroin (6%). Almost half received treatment for more than one drug.

8. Across most states and territories, alcohol was the principal drug of concern, except for SA and WA where amphetamines were highest reported, and Qld where it was cannabis.

9. The proportion of episodes where clients were receiving treatment for amphetamines has almost doubled over the last decade, from 12% in 2006-07, to 23% in 2015-16.

10. Counselling remains the most common treatment type for drug dependency issues.


AIHW Alcohol and other drug treatment National Minimum Data set (AODTS NMDS 2015-16)

AIHW National opioid pharmacotherapy statistics (NOPSAD) 2016

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