There are five key issues captured in this report.
The number of Tasmanians seeking support has been continually increasing since February 2021. There were 2,345 Tasmanians recorded as supported during the month of June 2021. Counselling continued to be the main treatment type accessed, followed by support and case management and residential rehabilitation support. There also continued to be a steady number of Tasmanians receiving information and education during this time (1,103).
Alcohol continues to be the primary drug of concern for which people are seeking treatment (1,105 people), followed cannabis (693), amphetamines (347), and tobacco (220). Alcohol continues to be the main drug of concern. Almost half of all Tasmanians seeking support during June 2021 continued to be individuals seeking assistance with their drinking.
The number of Tasmanians waiting to access counselling had remained the same during June.Residential rehabilitation services and support and case management increased since May. The waiting time for people to access information and education programs and services has decreased slightly since May. For those organisations providing counselling that have waiting lists, the wait time has remained stable at two weeks. The waiting times for residential rehabilitation have increased to an average of 10.8 weeks from 5.7 in May. The wait to access information and education services decreased slightly from 12 weeks to 11.7 in June.
The lived experience perspective during June 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 is noted as having a continuing impact, alongside reports of the cost of illicit substances returning to pre-COVID levels.
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 decreased below 2020 levels for the first time since this reporting began, but the total number of calls for 2021 continues to exceed 2020.
While the impact of COVID-19 is not as evident on organisational service delivery and workforce, two organisations reported changes in response to COVID-19. This included a report of increased employee stress and anxiety in one organisation, and changes to service delivery (due to COVID-19) including changes to workplace office sharing, provision of nicotine replacement therapy and preparatory work to prepare for any potential outbreak of COVID in Tasmania.
This report is the eighth of eight and captures information for June 2021.