Publication Details

Allan, J., Ip, R., Kemp, M. & Snowdon, N. (2019). Increased demand for amphetamine treatment in rural Australia. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 14 (1), 13.


BACKGROUND: A substantial increase in substance treatment episodes for methamphetamine problems suggests characteristics 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 empirically describe changes in amphetamine treatment presentations to a rural NSW drug and alcohol treatment agency over time. Second, to examine how these characteristics may affect 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 effects of these characteristics on the odds of being treated for amphetamine were estimated using a logistic regression model. The characteristics utilised 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 overtook alcohol 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 of income was not through employment are more likely to be treated for amphetamine use. CONCLUSION: Significant changes over time in the age, sex and Indigenous status of people receiving treatment for amphetamine 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 use amphetamine will be important factors in treatment planning service providers who are more used to providing treatment 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.



Link to publisher version (DOI)