Alcohol problems most treated
istock_alcoholic.jpg
Almost half of all Australians seeking
treatment for drug problems are concerned
about alcohol use.
Image: iStockphoto

Alcohol continues to be the number one drug of concern for Australians seeking treatment for drug or alcohol issues, according to a report released 21 October by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08: report on the National Minimum Data Set, found that treatment for alcohol issues has continued to increase, with treatment for alcohol comprising 44 per cent of treatment episodes in 2007-08 compared with 38 per cent in 2002-03.

‘Over 154,000 alcohol treatment episodes were provided in 2007–08, which is 7,000 more than the year before,’ said Amber Jefferson of the Institute’s Drug Surveys and Services Unit.

Alcohol treatment was followed by treatments for cannabis (22 per cent of treatment episodes), amphetamines (11 per cent) and heroin (11 per cent).

‘Treatment for heroin use declined over the five years between 2002-03 and 2007-08, but there was a slight rise in the number of treatment episodes last year, from 14,870 in 2006–07 to 15,571 in 2007–08,’ Ms Jefferson said.

‘Treatment for cannabis and amphetamines has remained stable,’ she said.

The vast majority of episodes (96 per cent) involved clients seeking treatment for their own alcohol or other drug use, but a small percentage were for people seeking treatment related to someone else’s drug or alcohol use.

Alcohol was the focus of treatment for most age groups—32 per cent for people in their 20s, 42 per cent for people in their 30s and 84 per cent for people 60 and older.

Younger people (aged 10–19 years) were more likely to receive treatment for cannabis use (43 per cent of treatment episodes) than alcohol (34 per cent).

Counselling was the most common form of treatment followed by withdrawal management.

The AIHW also released today, Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08: findings from the National Minimum Data Set, which presents summary results.


Editor's Note: Original news release can be found here.