The number of Australians turning to drug and alcohol treatment is climbing with those seeking help for addictions to drugs like ice increasing dramatically.
The number of Australians turning to drug and alcohol treatment is climbing with those seeking help for addictions to drugs like ice increasing dramatically.

Drugs and alcohol: More Aussies seek help

More Australians have been seeking help for drug and alcohol abuse since 2014-15, according to the latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

In 2018-19, more than 137,000 Australians received treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.

People were treated for alcohol abuse (36 per cent) more than any other drug, followed by amphetamines (28 per cent), cannabis (20 per cent) and heroin (5 per cent).

Of those receiving treatment, almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of clients were male, while the average age of the client base was 34.

One in six (17 per cent) clients aged older than 10 identified as Indigenous Australian.

While the number of people seeking help is up by 19 per cent from 2014-15, people getting help specifically for alcohol abuse had slowly dropped during the past decade.

A growing number of Australians are seeking treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. Picture: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
A growing number of Australians are seeking treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. Picture: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

For instance, the number of episodes where alcohol was the major drug of concern declined from 48 per cent in 2009-10 to 36 per cent between 2018-19.

But the treatment episodes for amphetamines has increased almost six times over the last decade.

During the 10-year period to 2018-19, the number of treatment episodes for amphetamines increased from 10,000 episodes to 58,200 episodes nationally.

Among those cases, methamphetamines like ice totalled two-thirds of treatment cases. But the number of heroin treatment episodes fell from about 13,900 to 10,900.

Counselling has continued to be the most common treatment type at 39 per cent of episodes in 2018-19.

Originally published as Drugs and alcohol: More Aussies seek help


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