NCETA’s Professor Ann Roche presents at 2018 ANZ Addiction Conference

June 2018

Building on NCETA’s work exploring AOD use in rural and remote communities in Australia, Professor Ann Roche was invited to present a paper at the 2108 Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference on Monday 28 May.

Professor Roche’s presentation, Patterns and prevalence of alcohol and other drug use in rural Australia highlighted the findings from NCETA’s secondary analyses of data from the National Drug Household Surveys (2007, 2010, 2013, 2016) and the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Datasets (2006/07, 2009/10, 2012/13, 2015/16). Specifically, the data analyses compared alcohol, methamphetamine, cannabis and opioid use and AOD treatment service utilisation among city, regional and rural populations.

Key messages from Professor Roche’s presentation included:

  • Rural Australians not only experience poorer health and wellbeing but also higher rates of risky drinking, cannabis, opioids and methamphetamine use than their metropolitan counterparts. For example, in 2016, recent methamphetamine use in rural areas was two times higher than elsewhere (3.5% vs 1.2-1.6%; nationally: 1.4%).
  • Between 2007/10 and 2015/16, treatment episodes (by State and Territory) for alcohol decreased (42% vs 32%), remained stable for cannabis at 23% and doubled for methamphetamine (12% vs 23%).
  • The urgent need in rural areas for tailored and targeted interventions using innovative approaches and technologies.

In addition, Professor Roche was also a member of a panel discussion that examined the following topic: The addiction professional in 2025: providing optimal continued learning opportunities for professionals in the addiction field. Other panel members included Dr Femke Buisman (Adelaide University), Professor Dan Lubman and Dr Shalini Arunogiri (Turning Point), and Ms Jen Harland (Department of Defence). The panel facilitated by Dr Buisman explored the current range of training opportunities and highlighted future requirements and strategies to meet those needs.