The mental health of Australians 2

6.4 Service use by people with substance use disorders

Page last updated: May 2009

The proportion of people with each type of substance use disorder who used services for mental health problems in the previous 12 months is shown in Table 6-6. The results showed that only one quarter (24.0%) of people with any substance use disorder used services for mental health problems in the past 12 months.

Higher levels of service use were observed among those with dependence disorders compared to those with harmful use disorders. Moreover, there was a trend for higher service use among people with drug harmful use or dependence compared to people with alcohol harmful use or dependence. One half (52.4%) of people diagnosed with drug dependence and one in four (24.1%) with drug harmful use had used services in the 12 months prior to interview. Whereas one third (35.5%) of people with alcohol dependence and one in six (15.5%) with alcohol harmful use used services in the previous 12 months.

Table 6-6: service use by type of 12-month substance use disorder

Substance use disorder

Service use (%)

Alcohol harmful use
Alcohol dependence
Any drug harmful use
Any drug dependence
Any substance use disorder

Note: Total is lower than the sum of disorders as people may have had more than one type of substance use disorder.