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Introduction and Aims Analysis of the health expenditure on alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment provides important information regarding the funding sources and distribution of AOD treatment funds. This study aimed to provide an estimate of annual health expenditure on AOD treatment in Australia and document a methodology for future estimates. Design and Methods The study followed international standards for health accounts and calculated health expenditure for the federal government, state/territory governments and private expenditure for the year 2012/2013. Multiple data sources were used to generate the estimates. Results The total expenditure was estimated at AUD$1.2 billion in 2012/2013. The states/territories account for 51% of this total, the Commonwealth 31% and private sources 18%. In 2012/2013, AOD treatment represented 0.8% of total health-care spending. Discussion and Conclusions The higher proportion of expenditure in AOD treatment programs outside hospitals is consistent with the community-focused models of care for AOD treatment. The Commonwealth's investment in AOD treatment funding resides predominantly in its dedicated AOD treatment grant programs. The analysis of health expenditure does not tell us whether the investment mix is effective in reducing AOD-related harm and producing positive health outcomes, but it provides the basis for analysis of the distributions of expenditure between funding sources and assessment of AOD treatment spending relative to all health areas, and creates a base for tracking trends over time.


Centre for Health and Social Research

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Journal Article

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