The Northern Territory reported:
- a 25% decrease in treatment episodes from 8,000 in 2020–21 to 6,000 in 2021–22, and a 64% increase in treatment episodes since 2012–13 (3,600) (Table ST NT.2)
- more clients are using AOD services in 2021–22 than 2013–14, after adjusting for population growth (1,530 clients per 100,000 population compared with 1,397 per 100,000, respectively)
- client numbers increased from 2,870 in 2013–14 to 3,776 in 2019–20 then dropped to 3,274 in 2021–22 (Table SCR.21).
The visualisation shows that 5,953 treatment episodes were provided to 3,274 clients in the Northern Territory in 2021–22. This equates to a rate of 2,782 episodes and 1,530 clients per 100,000 population, which is higher than the national rate (1,009 episodes and 576 clients per 100,000 population).
In 2021–22, most (81%) clients in the Northern Territory attended 1 agency, and received an average of 1.8 treatment episodes, which is the same as the national average of 1.8 treatment episodes (tables SCR.21, SCR.23).
- most (99%) clients in the Northern Territory received treatment for their own alcohol or drug use, of which over 7 in 10 (73%) people were male (Figure NT 1)
- people seeking treatment for someone else’s alcohol or drug use were more likely to be female (55%)
- over half (54%) of all people were aged 20–39 years, and 15% of people were aged 10–19 years which is higher the national proportion (10%)
- 3 in 4 (75%) of all clients identified as Indigenous Australians, more than 4 times higher than the national proportion (18%)
- nearly all (95%) people were born in Australia and over 3 in 5 (61%) reported English as their preferred language, with nearly 2 in 5 (38%) reporting Indigenous languages as their preferred language (tables SC NT.1–3, SC.3–4, SC NT.21–22).
The visualisation includes a series of horizontal bar graphs showing that, in 2021–22 in the Northern Territory, over two-thirds (72%) of all clients were male, 54% were aged 20–39 and 75% were Indigenous Australians. Around 3 in 5 (61%) listed English as their preferred language and most (95%) were born in Australia.
Patterns of service use
Over the period 2017–18 to 2021–22, 12,100 clients received treatment in the Northern Territory. Of these clients, the majority received treatment in a single year (67% or 8,100):
- 1,600 (14%) received treatment for the first time in 2021–22
- a further 6,500 (53%) received treatment in only one of the five collection periods (excluding 2021–22) (Table SCR.28).
In 2021–22, for clients in the Northern Territory receiving treatment episodes for their own alcohol or drug use:
- alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern for clients (65% or 3,800 episodes) (Figure NT 2, Tables ST NT.7)
- cannabis (13% or 770 episodes) and amphetamines (12% or 685 episodes) were the second and third most common principal drugs of concern
- volatile solvents (5.3% or 310 episodes) were the next most common principal drug of concern, with proportions higher than the national level (less than 1%) (Table Drg.1).
The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2021–22, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in treatment episodes provided to clients in the Northern Territory for their own drug use (64.8%). This was followed by cannabis (13.1%) and amphetamines (11.6%). Cannabis was the most common additional drug of concern (25.9% of episodes), followed by nicotine (15.5%) and alcohol (9.7%).
In 2021–22, for clients receiving treatment for their own use of amphetamines:
- methamphetamine was reported as a principal drug of concern in around 4 in 5 (80%) treatment episodes (Figure NT 3a)
- in just under half (46%) of treatment episodes where methamphetamine was a principal drug of concern, smoking was the most common method of use, followed by injecting (45%) (Figure NT 3b).
The line graph shows that, between 2012–13 and 2013–14, amphetamine and amphetamines not further defined were the most common drugs of concern among amphetamine-related treatment episodes for clients’ own drug use. In 2014–15, methamphetamine became the most common principal drug of concern within the amphetamines group. The proportion of methamphetamine-related episodes increased from 31.9% of amphetamine-related episodes in 2013–14 to 80.3% in 2021–22, while the proportion of episodes for amphetamines not further defined decreased from 32.6% to 17.1% over the same period. Buttons allow the user to navigate to data on amphetamines by method of use.
Clients can nominate up to 5 additional drugs of concern; these drugs are not necessarily the subject of any treatment within the episode (see technical notes).
In 2021–22, when the client reported additional drugs of concern, cannabis was the most common additional drug of concern (26% of episodes), followed by nicotine (15%) (Table ST NT.7).
Over the period 2012–13 to 2021–22:
- alcohol remained the most common principal drug of concern, increasing from 60% in 2012–13 (2,000 episodes) to peak at 72% in 2020–21 (5,500 episodes), falling to 65% (3,800 episodes) in 2021–22. The proportion of episodes for alcohol, relative to all other principal drugs of concern, remained consistently higher than the national proportion (for example, 65% compared with 42% nationally in 2021–22) (tables ST NT.7, Drg.1).
- treatment episodes for amphetamines as a principal drug of concern increased over this period (4.8% to 12%).
- within the amphetamines group, treatment for methamphetamine as a principal drug of concern was reported as the principal drug of concern in 32% of episodes in 2013–14, rising to 85% in 2017–18, dropping to 80% in 2021–22 (Figure NT 3a)
- the rise in methamphetamine episodes may be related to changes in the illicit drug market and/or changes in service provider practices.
- the proportion of treatment episodes for volatile solvents as a principal drug of concern decreased from 14% in 2012–13 to 5.3% in 2021–22 (Table Drg.1).
In 2021–22, for treatment episodes in the Northern Territory:
- assessment only was the most common main treatment (46% of episodes), followed by counselling (17%) (Figure NT 4, Table ST NT.13)
- where an additional treatment was provided as a supplementary to the main treatment, counselling (8.6%) was the most common additional treatment, followed by support and case management (7.0%) (Table ST NT.13). See technical notes for further information on calculating proportions for additional treatment type.
All agencies in the Northern Territory are required to complete a separate assessment only episode prior to the commencement of treatment. This is due to a policy of monitoring the volume of assessment work performed by agencies and understanding the relationship between assessment and subsequent treatment, particularly in relation to certain alcohol-related legislative-based programs. This policy was introduced in 2018 (reported in the 2017–18 collection year).
Over the period 2012–13 to 2021–22:
- assessment only remained the most common main treatment, although the proportion of episodes fluctuated (increasing from 44% in 2012–13 to 47% in 2017–18 before falling to 46% in 2021–22)
- the proportion of episodes where counselling was the main peaked at 25% in 2016–17, before halving to 13% in 2019–20 and rising to 17% in 2021–22
- the proportion of treatment episodes where rehabilitation was the main treatment fluctuated since 2012–13, rising from 15% to 25% in 2016–17 before falling to 16% in 2021–22 (Table ST NT.13).
The grouped horizontal bar chart shows that, in 2021–22, the most common main treatment type provided to clients in the Northern Territory for their own drug use was assessment only (45.7% of episodes). This was followed by counselling (16.5%) and rehabilitation (16.0%). Counselling was the most common additional treatment type (8.6% of episodes), followed by support and case management (7.0%).
The Northern Territory does not have any areas classified as Major city or Inner regional. It only has locations classified as Outer regional, Remote or Very remote.
- the majority of the 24 treatment agencies were in the non-government sector (79%)
- Outer regional areas contained the most treatment agencies (50%), followed by Remote areas (33%) (Figure NT 5, Table Agcy.3).
In the 10 years to 2021–22, the number of publicly funded treatment agencies rose from 19 to 24 (Table Agcy.1).
The horizontal bar chart shows that all treatment agencies in the Northern Territory were located in Outer regional areas (12 agencies), followed by Remote areas (8 agencies) and Very remote areas (4 agencies) in 2021–22. Of the total 24 treatment agencies, most (19 agencies) were non-government agencies.