Specialised alcohol and drug treatment in Victoria: Using telephone services to determine prevalence of problematic alcohol use and treatment utilisation

Researchers

  1. Ms Susan Clemens, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
  2. Associate Professor Alison Ritter, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre

Summary

This project aims to develop a reliable multiplier method to estimate the wider prevalence of problematic alcohol use based on the innovative use of an existing AOD information telephone counselling services with the addition of brief questions on treatment utilisation.

The group studied were callers to the DirectLine Drug and Alcohol Counselling and Referral Service between July and December 2004 who requested help for their own alcohol use.  Results from this study were compared with estimates from other studies and is in broad agreement in predicting between 34,900 and 47,000 individuals annually expecting to receive treatment through government-funded agencies in Victoria.

Outcomes

Data collected from a telephone service can be used as a treatment multiplier to calculate the number of clients that require intensive treatment for alcohol use annually.

The potential for research data collection on hard-to-reach populations via a telephone counselling and referral service is feasible. Special consideration due to the unique service delivery type should be given, especially in areas such as training for data collection, caller recruitment and the diverse range of caller presentations.

The correct citation for this report is: Clemens, SL & Ritter, A 2009 Estimating the prevalence of individuals likely to use publicly funded alcohol treatment services: an indirect estimation technique. Drug and Alcohol Review, 27(5): 504-508.

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

Join our mailing list

Latest research papers

Alcohol use and harm during COVID-19

This Report provides a snapshot of the recent available data on alcohol use and harm during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, focusing on the period between March – May 2020.