Treatment

This section contains information about the provision of medical/psychological treatment for cannabis use. It covers episodes of professional treatment for cannabis-related problems, who is most likely to seek help, and changes in these patterns over time.

The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set 2017-18 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019) is the source of data used in this section. It is the only Australian data source which provides a synthesis of state and territory data on publicly funded cannabis-related treatment.

What proportion of alcohol and other drug treatment episodes in Australia are due to cannabis use?

Cannabis is the principal drug of concern in 22% of all alcohol and other drug treatment episodes in Australia.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2017-18.

Principal Drug of Concern: The main substance that leads an individual to seek treatment from an alcohol and drug treatment agency (as stated by the individual).

Treatment Episode: A period of contact between a client and a treatment provider. Only ‘closed’ treatment episodes are included in the data used here. An episode is closed if there is a change in the principal drug of concern, main treatment, or service delivery setting; if the treatment ends; or if the patient is imprisoned or dies.

How has the proportion of cannabis treatment episodes in Australia changed over time compared to other drugs?

The proportion of treatment episodes in Australia for which cannabis is the principal drug of concern has remained relatively stable over the past decade, but with a slight downward trend since 2014-15.

Alcohol has consistently been the most common principal drug of concern in the past decade. Cannabis was the second most common principal drug of concern between 2008-09 and 2014-15. In 2015-16 amphetamines and cannabis were the equal second most common principal drug of concern. Since 2016-17 cannabis has been the third most common principal drug of concern (after amphetamines).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2017-18.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.

Principal Drug of Concern: The main substance that leads an individual to seek treatment from an alcohol and drug treatment agency (as stated by the individual).

Treatment Episode: A period of contact between a client and a treatment provider. Only ‘closed’ treatment episodes are included in the data used here. An episode is closed if there is a change in the principal drug of concern, main treatment, or service delivery setting; if the treatment ends; or if the patient is imprisoned or dies.

Are men or women in Australia more likely to receive treatment for cannabis use?

Australian men (68%) are more likely to receive treatment for cannabis use than Australian women (32%).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2017-18.

Treatment Episode: A period of contact between a client and a treatment provider. Only ‘closed’ treatment episodes are included in the data used here. An episode is closed if there is a change in the principal drug of concern, main treatment, or service delivery setting; if the treatment ends; or if the patient is imprisoned or dies.

Are younger or older Australians more likely to receive treatment for cannabis use?

Younger Australians (particularly those aged 20-29 years) are more likely to receive treatment for cannabis use than older Australians.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2017-18.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.

Treatment Episode: A period of contact between a client and a treatment provider. Only ‘closed’ treatment episodes are included in the data used here. An episode is closed if there is a change in the principal drug of concern, main treatment, or service delivery setting; if the treatment ends; or if the patient is imprisoned or dies.

What types of treatment for cannabis use do Australians receive?

The main type of treatment received for cannabis use in Australia is counselling, which accounts for 39% of cannabis treatment episodes. This is followed by information and education, which accounts for 20% of cannabis-related treatment episodes.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2017-18.

Treatment Episode: A period of contact between a client and a treatment provider. Only ‘closed’ treatment episodes are included in the data used here. An episode is closed if there is a change in the principal drug of concern, main treatment, or service delivery setting; if the treatment ends; or if the patient is imprisoned or dies.

Do the types of treatment Australians receive for cannabis use vary by jurisdiction?

The type of treatment Australians receive for cannabis use varies substantially between Australians states/territories.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2017-18.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.

Treatment Episode: A period of contact between a client and a treatment provider. Only ‘closed’ treatment episodes are included in the data used here. An episode is closed if there is a change in the principal drug of concern, main treatment, or service delivery setting; if the treatment ends; or if the patient is imprisoned or dies.