Alcohol, amphetamines top drugs of concern

·1-min read

Reaching for the booze during lockdowns? If so, it may not come as a surprise alcohol is Australians' drug of choice.

It was the most common reason people sought help for drug problems in the public system in 2019/20.

One-third of 139,300 people aged 10 and older who received treatment nominated alcohol as their biggest problem.

Australians' proclivity for intoxication is not a new phenomenon, nor is alcohol's top spot on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's annual drug list.

Amphetamines come in second, with 28 per cent of people listing it as their biggest issue.

Their use has continued to rise, with a five-fold increase in people receiving treatment for amphetamines over the past decade.

At the same time, COVID-19, restrictions and lockdowns last year led to the closure of some services such as residential rehabilitation or reduced intakes.

Much treatment, such as counselling, also went virtual and wait times increased.

Men made up just under two-thirds of people seeking help for booze as well as drugs across the board.

One-in-six were Indigenous Australians.

While comprising 2.6 per cent of the population aged over 10, they accounted for 17 per cent of clients across publicly-funded alcohol and drug services.

About four in 10 people who sought help had previously received treatment in the past four years.

After alcohol and amphetamines, cannabis was Australians' next biggest drug of concern, with 18 per cent of people listing it as their top problem.

Heroin was next, with five per cent of people saying it was their primary drug dependency.

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