How is AOD treatment intensity defined?
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Previous AIHW analysis in 2019 established criteria for clients receiving intensive AOD treatment, based on the number of episodes that a client received and the number of years over which they received treatment (AIHW 2019).
The rationale for defining AOD treatment intensity was based on the understanding that:
- treatment experiences vary among individuals; and
- there is a subset of clients which engages with AOD treatment services more regularly than others, and therefore has a higher level of contact with the sector over time (AIHW 2019; Kelly & White 2011).
This report further examines how characteristics of AOD clients and the treatment they received varies by treatment intensity, focusing on the 648,400 treatment episodes provided to the 228,500 clients who received AOD treatment between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2021.
The three cohorts were defined as follows:
- intensive treatment – clients who received 11 or more closed treatment episodes for their own alcohol or other drug use, across at least 3 collection periods (that is, financial years)
- recurring treatment – clients who received fewer than 11 closed treatment episodes for their own alcohol or other drug use across at least 3 collection periods
- non-recurring treatment – clients who received treatment for their own alcohol or other drug use in fewer than 3 collection periods.
For further information on the methodology used to define these cohorts, please see Technical notes: Defining treatment intensity using the AODTS NMDS.
It is important to note that this report refers to clients in each cohort as well as closed treatment episodes provided to clients in each cohort. In examining the likelihood of reason for cessation of treatment and other treatment characteristics, all episodes provided to each client over the course of their treatment are considered.
For example, where a client receiving intensive treatment received 11 treatment episodes over the course of 3 collection periods, each episode’s reason for cessation is counted separately towards the intensive treatment cohort.
Table 5 and Figure 2 illustrate the numbers of clients in each cohort and treatment episodes provided to these clients. While clients receiving intensive treatment represented less than 1 in 20 (3.1%)clients who sought AOD treatment between 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2021, 1 in 5 (20% episodes treating alcohol; 18% episodes treating amphetamines) treatment episodes were provided to this cohort.
Figure 1: Analysis criteria of clients and treatment episodes by treatment intensity, 2013–14 to 2020–21