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Alcohol and other drug treatment services assist people to address their drug use through a range of treatments. Treatment objectives can include reduction or cessation of drug use as well as improvements to social and personal functioning. Assistance may also be provided to support the family and friends of people using drugs.

Following are highlights from the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS).

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Key findings in 2013–14

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  • A total of 795 publicly-funded agencies provided services to clients seeking treatment and support, an increase of 19% over the 5-year period from 2009–10. 

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  • Around 119,000 clients received more than 180,000 treatment episodes from alcohol and other drug treatment agencies. 
  • 2 in 3 clients were male (67%), just over half were aged 20–39 (55%), and 1 in 7 clients were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (14%).
  • Since 2009–10 there has been a decline in the number of 20–29 year olds being treated (from 29% to 27%), while those aged 40 and over rose from 30% to 33%.

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  • There has been an increase in the number of closed treatment episodes between 2003–04 and 2013–14, from 136,869 to 180,713—a 32% increase over the period. 
  • The main drug leading clients to seek treatment continues to be alcohol (40%), however treatment for the use of amphetamines is increasing—from 7% of closed treatment episodes to 17% between 2009–10 and 2013–14.
  • Since 2003–04, treatment types received by clients have  not changed substantially, with counselling, assessment only and withdrawal management the most common types of treatment.


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AODTS and other data sources

In addition to the AODTS NMDS there are a number of other available data sources that support a more complete picture of alcohol and other drug treatment in Australia. These include the National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data Collection, the National Hospital Morbidity Database, Online Services Report Database and the Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Collection. In 2013–14:

  • of the 1% of hospital separations with a drug-related principal diagnosis, alcohol accounted for 55% of separations;
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health-care services reporting to the Online Services Report Database reported both alcohol and cannabis in their top 5 most common substance-use issues;
  • 11% of Specialist Homelessness Servives (SHS) clients aged 10 years or over had a current alcohol and other drug issue.


The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS) provides information on the treatment provided by publicly-funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in Australia. These services are available to people seeking treatment for their own drug use and people seeking treatment for someone else's drug use. Data are available from 2003–04 onwards.

In the AODTS NMDS, the main counting unit is closed treatment episodes, which is defined as a period of contact between a client and a treatment provider (or team of providers) that is closed when treatment is completed or has ceased, or there has been no further contact between the client and the treatment provider for 3 months.