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

Australians aged 30-39 years are more likely to receive treatment for pharmaceutical drug use than other age groups.

In comparison, 40-49 year olds are the most likely to receive treatment for alcohol use, whilst 20-29 years olds are the most likely to receive treatment for cannabis and methamphetamine.

In 2016-17, 2% of Australians who received treatment for pharmaceutical drug use were aged 10-19 years, 20% were aged 20-29 years, 37% were aged 30-39 years, 25% were aged 40-49 years, 12% were aged 50-59 years, and 4% were aged 60+ years.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2016-17 (NCETA secondary analysis, 2019).

† This FAQ uses data from the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Dataset, which defines the pharmaceutical drugs referred to in this question as: benzodiazepines, codeine, morphine, buprenorphine, oxycodone, and methadone.

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.