There were 919 hospitalisations with a drug-related principal diagnosis in Northern Territory in 2019-20.
This is equivalent to 359 hospitalisations per 100,000 people, which was a significant increase from 2018-19 (318 hospitalisations per 100,000 people; p<0.001) (Table 1) and higher than the rate in 1999-00 (90 hospitalisations per 100,000 people) (Figure 1).
The rate of hospitalisations was higher among males than females in 2019-20 (397 versus 319 hospitalisations per 100,000 people).
In 2019-20, the rate of hospitalisations was highest among the 20-29 age group, followed by the 10-19 and 30-39 age groups (789, 511, and 507 hospitalisations per 100,000 people, respectively).
Remoteness Area of Usual Residence
The highest rate of hospitalisations in 2019-20 was observed in remote and very remote Northern Territory (389 hospitalisations per 100,000 people), while the number of hospitalisations was highest in outer regional (515 hospitalisations), noting there are no major cities or inner regional areas in the Northern Territory (Figure 2).
External Cause of Drug Poisoning
In 2019-20, 37% of drug-related hospitalisations in Northern Territory were due to drug poisoning. Furthermore, 70% of drug poisoning related hospitalisations were intentional (96 hospitalisations per 100,000 people) and 24% were unintentional (33 hospitalisations per 100,000 people) (Figure 3).
Drug TypeIn 2019-20, the rate of hospitalisations was highest where there was a principal diagnosis indicating cannabinoids (120 hospitalisations per 100,000 people) (Figure 4).
Compared to 2018-19, there were significant decreases in 2019-20 in the rates of hospitalisations related to non-opioid analgesics; antidepressants; antipsychotics and neuroleptics; and volatile solvents (p<0.050) (Table 1).
In contrast, there were significant increases in the rates of hospitalisations related to cannabinoids; amphetamines and other stimulants; opioids; and multiple drug use (p<0.050) (Table 1).
Figure 1. Age-standardised rate per 100,000 people of drug-related hospitalisations, by sex, Northern Territory, 1999-00 to 2019-20.
Figure 2. Age-standardised rate per 100,000 people of drug-related hospitalisations, by remoteness, Northern Territory, 2012-13 to 2019-20.
Note: The size (area) of the bubble is proportional to the number of hospitalisations. Data by remoteness are only available from 2012-13. There are no major cities and inner regional areas in Northern Territory.
Figure 3. Age-standardised rate per 100,000 people of drug-related hospitalisations, by principal diagnosis of mental and behavioural disorder due to substance use (A) and external cause of poisoning (B), Northern Territory, 1999-00 to 2019-20.Note: Age-standardised rates were not calculated if the number of hospitalisations was less than or equal to 10 (please refer to our methods document for details). Suppressed data are visible as gaps in the data series.
Figure 4. Age-standardised rate per 100,000 people of drug-related hospitalisations, by drug identified in the principal diagnosis, Northern Territory, 1999-00 to 2019-20.Note: Age-standardised rates were not calculated if the number of hospitalisations was less than or equal to 10 (please refer to our methods document for details). Suppressed data are visible as gaps in the data series.
Table 1. Age-standardised rate per 100,000 people of drug-related hospitalisations in 2019-20 and rate ratio and p-value for difference compared to 2018-19, in Northern Territory by drug type identified in the principal diagnosis
||Age-standardised rate (95% CI)||2019-20 versus 2018-19|
|All drugs||359 (336,384)||318 (296,341)||1.13 (1.12,1.14)||<0.001|
|Cannabinoids||120 (107,134)||87 (76,99)||1.38 (1.35,1.41)||<0.001|
|Amphetamines and other stimulants||74 (64,86)||56 (47,65)||1.34 (1.30,1.37)||<0.001|
|Non-opioid analgesics||49 (41,59)||56 (47,66)||0.88 (0.86,0.90)||<0.001|
|Opioids||29 (22,37)||18 (13,25)||1.57 (1.51,1.64)||<0.001|
|Antidepressants||23 (17,30)||27 (21,34)||0.84 (0.81,0.88)||<0.001|
|Antiepileptic, sedative-hypnotic and antiparkinsonism drugs||22 (16,29)||21 (16,28)||1.02 (0.98,1.07)||0.300|
|Antipsychotics and neuroleptics||16 (11,21)||17 (13,23)||0.90 (0.86,0.94)||<0.001|
|Multiple drug use||12 (8,18)||5.6 ( 3.2, 9.0)||2.22 (2.06,2.38)||<0.001|
|Volatile solvents||12 (8,17)||25 (19,32)||0.47 (0.45,0.49)||<0.001|
The Drug Trends program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the Drug and Alcohol Program.
We would like to acknowledge the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for data from the National Hospital Morbidity Database.
Chrzanowska, A., Man, N., Sutherland, R., Degenhardt, L. & Peacock, A. (2021). Trends in drug-related hospitalisations in Australia, 1999-2020. Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney.
Hospitalisations data visualisations: https://drugtrends.shinyapps.io/hospital_separations
Hospitalisations methods document: https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/resource-analytics/trends-drug-related-hospitalisations-australia-1999-2020
For other Drug Trends publications on drug-related hospitalisations and drug-induced deaths, go to: https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/project/national-illicit-drug-indicators-project-nidip
For more information on NDARC research, go to: http://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/
For more information about the AIHW and NHMD, go to: https://www.aihw.gov.au/
For more information on ICD coding go to: http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/ https://www.ihpa.gov.au/what-we-do/icd-10-am-achi-acs-current-edition
For more research from the Drug Trends program go to: https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/program/drug-trends