There are five key issues captured in this report.
The number of Tasmanians seeking support has been continually increasing since February 2021. There were 1,930 Tasmanians recorded as supported during the month of May 2021. Counselling continued to be the main treatment type accessed, followed by residential rehabilitation support. There also continued to be a steady number of Tasmanians receiving information and education during this time (almost 800).
Alcohol continues to be the primary drug of concern for which people are seeking treatment (839 people), followed by amphetamines (377), cannabis (354) and tobacco (176). Alcohol continues to be the main drug of concern. More than one third of all Tasmanians seeking support during May 2021 continued to be individuals seeking assistance with their drinking.
The number of Tasmanians waiting to access counselling decreased during May but increased slightly for residential rehabilitation services. The waiting time for people to access information and education programs and services has remained the same since April. For those organisations providing counselling that have waiting lists, the wait time has decreased to two weeks from three in April. The waiting times for residential rehabilitation have increased to an average of 5.7 weeks from 4.6 in April. The wait to access information and education services remains stable at 12 weeks.
The lived experience perspective during May has provided important insights into how COVID-19 continues to impact substance use patterns, and also access to services.
The ongoing reporting and concern regarding COVID-19 outbreaks and quarantines continues to have an impact, alongside reports of the cost of illicit substances returning to pre-COVID levels in Tasmania.
Additionally, there has been no change to the feedback from specialist treatment organisations regarding concerns about alcohol use amongst the people they’re supporting.
The number of Tasmanians seeking support from the national ATOD help line to-date in 2021 continues to exceed 2020 figures (with 171 calls made to-date compared to 142 in May last year).
There were no reports of employee stress and anxiety (as a direct impact of COVID-19) across community managed organisations. Only one community managed organisation reported changing their service delivery during May (due to COVID-19) referencing work to reconnect with regional communities to assess the impact of COVID-19 (community sporting clubs).
This report is the seventh of eight and captures information for May 2021.