State and territory summaries

This section presents key state and territory findings on specialist alcohol and other drug treatment service agencies, the people they treat, and the treatment provided in 2020–21.

The technical notes page provides details on the data, with further information available in the Alcohol and other drug treatment services NMDS 2020–21 Quality Statement. In addition, a series of state and territory supplementary tables accompanying the annual report are also available.

Key findings

In 2020–21:

  • around 1,300 publicly funded agencies provided services for clients seeking AOD treatment in Australia, ranging from 16 in the Australian Capital Territory to 485 in New South Wales
  • alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern for all states and territories; Northern Territory (72%), Tasmania (45%), Australian Capital Territory (44%), New South Wales (41%), Western Australia (40%), South Australia (37%), Queensland (36%) and Victoria (31%) (nationally 37% of treatment episodes)
  • amphetamines were the second most common principal drug of concern in most states except for Queensland and Northern Territory. Treatment episodes for amphetamines ranged from 20% in the Australian Capital Territory to 33% in South Australia (nationally the second most common drug of concern; 24%)
  • counselling was the most common main treatment type nationally (38%), and the most common in all states except the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory.

Over the period 2011–12 to 2020–21:

  • the number of publicly funded agencies rose from 659 to 1,279 in 2020–21, an increase that was largely driven by increases in New South Wales (from 263 to 485) and Victoria (from 136 to 354)
  • the 4 most common principal drugs of concern were the most common in 5 of the 8 states and territories; these were alcohol, amphetamines, cannabis and heroin
  • counselling was the most common main treatment type in the 6 states until 2019–20 (except the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory) and 5 states in 2020–21 (excluding South Australia and territories).

State and territory client rates

The rate of clients treated by publicly funded AOD treatment agencies in each state and territory varied over time.

Over the period from 2013–14 to 2020–21:

  • in 4 of 8 states and territories the rate of clients remained consistently higher than the rate of clients nationally (564 per 100,000 in 2013–14 and 618 per 100,000 in 2020–21):
    • the Northern Territory rate of clients increased from 1,397 clients per 100,000 in 2013–14 to 1,765 per 100,000 in 2020–21
    • the Australian Capital Territory rate of clients ranged from 877 clients per 100,000 in 2013–14 to 1,141 per 100,000 in 2017–18, falling to 966 clients per 100,000 in 2020–21
    • the Western Australian rate of clients increased between 2013–14 and 2019–20 from 697 per 100,000 to 832 per 100,000, then falling to 740 clients per 100,000 in 2020–21
    • the Queensland rate of clients fluctuated between from 714 clients per 100,000 in 2013–14, to 855 per 100,00 in 2015–16, falling to 793 clients per 100,000 in 2020–21.
  • New South Wales' rate of clients remained consistently lower than the rate of clients nationally, ranging from 350 clients per 100,000 to 453 per 100,000.
  • Victoria’s rate of clients fluctuated in comparison to the national rate, ranging from 490 clients per 100,000 in 2014–15 to 634 per 100,000 in 2020–21.
  • South Australia’s rate of clients mostly remained below the national rate of clients, ranging from 624 clients per 100,000 in 2013–14 to 469 per 100,000 in 2020–21.
  • Tasmania’s rate of clients also mostly remained below the national rate of clients, ranging from 540 clients per 100,000 in 2013–14, rising to 648 per 100,000 in 2015–16, falling to 580 clients per 100,000 in 2020–21.

For more information see the Data quality statement


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