The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare today revealed regional and remote Australians use drug and alcohol treatment services at a higher rate than their metro counterparts.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare today revealed regional and remote Australians use drug and alcohol treatment services at a higher rate than their metro counterparts. Patrick Sison

Regional drug users face higher death rate than metro users

THE Australian Institute of Health and Welfare today revealed regional and remote Australians use drug and alcohol treatment services at a higher rate than their metro counterparts.

In a new report titled Alcohol and other drug use in regional and remote Australia: consumption, harms and access to treatment 2016-17, the institute highlights higher rates of alcohol and other drug treatment outside of major cities, with about one in every 153 people seeking treatment in regional and remote areas,

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare spokeswoman Moira Hewitt said those seeking treatment outside of metro areas also generally travelled longer to do so.

"In over a quarter of drug and alcohol treatment episodes involving people in regional and remote areas, the client travelled one hour or longer, compared with about one in 10 clients in major cities," she said.

The report also shows regional and remote drug users face a higher rate of drug-induced deaths than in major cities. The rate increased from 5.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2008 to 7.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.

Despite the disadvantage faced by remote drug users, rates of recent drug use sat at about 16 per cent in major cities and regional and remote areas. The type of illicit drug used varied, metro drug users favouring ecstasy and cocaine.

Ms Hewitt said by bringing together data from a range of sources, the report supported better understanding of disparities in alcohol and other drug use and treatment across Australia.

"The report is an important resource to inform policies and programs to reduce the harms that may result from the use of alcohol and other drugs," she said.



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