A decrease in the proportion of opioid-dependent clients aged 29 years or younger has been overshadowed by an increase in the number of clients being treated for opioid drug dependence since 2007.
The latest report by the (hardlink) (AIHW) analysing the National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data Collection, shows there were 43,445 clients being treated with medication for opioid dependence on 30 June 2009, compared to 41,347 in 2008.
Amber Jefferson of the AIHW’s Drug Surveys and Services Unit said the proportion of those aged 40 to 49 rose slightly. Clients aged between 20 and 49 years of age made up 86 per cent of the treatment group, while those 30–39 years of age made up the largest proportion of clients (40 per cent).
Those aged 40–49 years made up 29 per cent and those aged 20–29 years made up 18 per cent of clients, a decrease from 22 per cent in 2008.
The report shows that the number of prescribers fell slightly between 2008 and 2009 from 1,393 to 1,350, and the average number of clients per prescriber rose from 18 to 20 over the same period, while dosing point sites were most commonly located in pharmacies.
Despite the majority of clients receiving methadone, the proportion of clients receiving buprenorphine/naloxone who were dosed at a pharmacy (84 per cent) was higher than clients receiving methadone (68 per cent) or buprenorphine only (57 per cent) at a pharmacy.
The report showed the proportion of clients receiving buprenorphine/naloxone at pharmacies has decreased since 2007 from 93 per cent to 84 per cent in 2009.
The proportion of clients accessing buprenorphine from pharmacies also declined from 70 per cent in 2007 to 57 per cent in 2009, while the proportion of clients accessing methadone from pharmacies has remained relatively stable for this same period.
26 May 2010 | by Jennifer Joseph