How has the number and proportion of cannabis treatment episodes in Australia changed over time?

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.

The number of treatment episodes in which cannabis was the principal drug of concern peaked at over 45,000 in 2015-16, and has since been declining.

In Australia, cannabis was the principal drug of concern in 22% of treatment episodes in 2010-11, 22% in 2011-12, 24% in 2012-13, 24% in 2013-14, 24% in 2014-15, 23% in 2015-16, 22% in 2016-17, 22% in 2017-18, 20% in 2018-19, and 18% in 2019-20.
In Australia, there were 31,762 treatment episodes where cannabis was the principal drug of concern in 2010-11, 32,321 in 2011-12, 36,560 in 2012-13, 40,505 in 2013-14, 39,363 in 2014-15, 45,059 in 2015-16, 41,921 in 2016-17, 43,269 in 2017-18, 41,160 in 2018-19, and 40,305 in 2019-20.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2019-20.

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.