Increased demand for amphetamine treatment in rural Australia

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Background: A substantial increase in substance treatment episodes for methamphetamine problems suggestscharacteristics of the treatment population could have changed and that targeted treatment programs are required.To determine who methamphetamine treatment should be designed for this study has two aims. First, to empiricallydescribe changes in amphetamine treatment presentations to a rural NSW drug and alcohol treatment agency overtime. Second, to examine how these characteristics may afect the likelihood of being treated for amphetamines compared to other drugs.Method: The Australian Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS-NMDS)containing closed treatment episodes from a single agency from three time periods was used. Characteristics of people receiving amphetamine treatments in these three periods were compared and the efects of these characteristicson the odds of being treated for amphetamine were estimated using a logistic regression model. The characteristicsutilised in the analysis include age, sex, Indigenous status, usual accommodation, living arrangement, source of referral and source of income.Results: The proportion of amphetamine treatment episodes doubled from 2006/2007 to 2015/2016 and overtookalcohol as the most commonly treated principal drug of concern. The estimated proportion of amphetamine treatments showed an increment across all ages and for men and women. It was found that younger people, women,people in temporary accommodation or homeless, people who were self-referred and people whose main source ofincome was not through employment are more likely to be treated for amphetamine use.Conclusion: Signifcant changes over time in the age, sex and Indigenous status of people receiving treatment foramphetamine as the principal drug of concern requires service delivery to match demand from younger people,particularly women; and Indigenous people. The needs and preferences for treatment of younger women who useamphetamine will be important factors in treatment planning service providers who are more used to providingtreatment for young men who use cannabis and older men who use alcohol. Further research on women’s experiences in treatment and outcomes would be useful for informing treatment practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAddiction Science and Clinical Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2019


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