Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2021) Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia annual report., AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 28 January 2022
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia annual report. Retrieved from https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services-australia
Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia annual report. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 16 July 2021, https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services-australia
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia annual report [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2022 Jan. 28]. Available from: https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services-australia
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia annual report, viewed 28 January 2022, https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services/alcohol-other-drug-treatment-services-australia
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For technical notes on the state and territory summaries refer to Technical notes - state and territory summaries.
Age is calculated as at the start of the episode.
For most states and territories, the data provided for the national collection are a subset of a more detailed jurisdictional data set used for planning and policy. Figure A1 shows the processes involved in constructing the national data.
The AODTS NMDS contains data on drugs of concern that are coded using the ABS’s Australian Standard Classification of Drugs of Concern (ASCDC) (ABS 2011). In this report, these drugs are grouped (Table A1).
Oxycodone, fentanyl, pethidine
Sedatives and hypnotics
Ethanol, methanol and other alcohols
Clonazepam, diazepam and temazepam
Other sedatives and hypnotics
Ketamine, nitrous oxide, barbiturates and kava
Stimulants and hallucinogens
Amphetamine, dexamphetamine and methamphetamine
Other stimulants and hallucinogens
Volatile nitrates, ephedra alkaloids, phenethylamines, tryptamines and caffeine
Anabolic agents and selected hormones, antidepressants and antipsychotics, volatile solvents, diuretics and opioid antagonists
In this report, pharmaceutical drugs were grouped using 10 drug types, making up the pharmaceuticals group for the purposes of the analysis. These drugs correspond to the ASCDC codes and classifications (Table A2).
(broad group and narrow group/s)
(ASCDC base level unit/s)
Organic opiate analgesics
Semisynthetic opioid analgesics
Synthetic opioid analgesics
Benzodiazepines n.f.d., alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, temazepam, benzodiazepines n.e.c.
Anabolic agents and selected hormones
Anabolic androgenic steroids
Peptide hormones, mimetics and analogues
Other anabolic agents and selected hormones
Not further defined
Anabolic agents and selected hormones n.f.d., anabolic androgenic steroids n.f.d., boldene, dehydroepiandrosterone, fluoxymesterone, mesterolone, methandriol, methenolone, nandrolone, oxandrolone, stanozolol, testosterone, anabolic androgenic steroids n.e.c., beta2 agonists n.f.d., eformoterol, fenoterol, salbutamol, beta2 agonists n.e.c., peptide hormones, mimetics and analogues n.f.d., chorionic gonadotrophin, corticotrophin, erythropoietin, growth hormone, insulin, peptide hormones, mimetics and analogues n.e.c., other anabolic agents and selected hormones n.f.d., sulfonylurea hypoglycaemic agents, tamoxifen, thyroxine, other anabolic agents and selected hormones n.e.c.
1100, 1199, 1200, 1299, 1300–1304, 1306–1399
Organic opiate analgesics n.f.d., organic opiate analgesics n.e.c., semisynthetic opioid analgesics n.f.d., semisynthetic opioid analgesics n.e.c., synthetic opioid analgesics n.f.d., fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, levomethadyl acetate hydrochloride, meperidine analogues, pethidine, tramadol, synthetic opioid analgesics n.e.c.
0005, 1000, 1400–1499
Analgesics n.f.d., non-opioid analgesics n.f.d., acetylsalicylic acid, paracetamol, ibuprofen, non-opioid analgesics n.e.c.
2200–2299, 2300–2399, 2500–2599, 2900–2999
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) type drugs and analogues
Sedatives and hypnotics n.f.d., anaesthetics n.f.d., ketamine, nitrous oxide, phencyclidine, propofol, anaesthetics n.e.c., barbiturates n.f.d., amylobarbitone, methylphenobarbitone, phenobarbitone, barbiturates n.e.c., GHB-type drugs and analogues n.f.d., GHB, gamma-butyrolactone, 1,4-butanediol, GHB-type drugs and analogues n.e.c., other sedatives and hypnotics n.f.d., chlormethiazole, kava lactones, zopclone, doxylamine, promethazine, zolpidem, other sedatives and hypnotics n.e.c.
n.f.d—not further defined; n.e.c—not elsewhere classified.
Duration is calculated in whole days, and only for closed episodes.
In this publication, crude rates were calculated using the ABS’s estimated resident population at the midpoint of the data range: that is, rates for 2019–20 data were calculated using the estimated resident population at 31 December 2019.
The AODTS NMDS contains data on the reason an episode ended (reason for cessation). In this report, these reasons are grouped (Table A3), but data for the individual end reasons are available in the online supplementary tables.
A different method was used for grouping end reasons in reports released before 2014, so trend comparisons across reports should be made with caution. It is possible to compare data at the individual end reasons using the supplementary tables.
Reason for cessation
Ceased to participate at expiation
Ceased to participate by mutual agreement
Ended due to unplanned completion
Ceased to participate against advice
Ceased to participate without notice
Ceased to participate due to non-compliance
Referred to another service/change in treatment mode
Change in main treatment type
Change in delivery setting
Change in principal drug of concern
Transferred to another service provider
Drug court or sanctioned by court diversion service
Imprisoned (other than drug court sanctioned)
This report uses the ABS’s Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Remoteness Structure 2016 (ABS 2016b) to analyse the proportion of AOD treatment agencies by remoteness area. This structure allows areas that share common characteristics of remoteness to be classified into broad geographic regions of Australia. These areas are:
The remoteness structure divides each state and territory into several regions based on their relative access to services.
Examples of urban centres in each remoteness area are:
For this report, the remoteness area of the agency was determined using the Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) of the agency. Not all SA2 codes fit neatly within a single remoteness category, and a ratio is applied to reapportion each SA2 to the applicable remoteness categories. As a result, it is possible that the number of agencies in a particular remoteness category is not a whole number. After rounding, this can result in there being ‘<0.5%’ agencies in a remoteness area, due to the agency’s SA2 partially crossing into the remoteness area.
The Australian Statistical Geography Standard ASGS has replaced the Australian Standard Geographical Classification 2006 (ABS 2006), which was used in previous reports to calculate remoteness areas. Therefore, remoteness data for 2011–12 and previous years are not comparable with those for 2012–13 and subsequent years.
From 2008–09, agencies funded by the Department of Health under the Non-Government Organisation Treatment Grants Program (NGOTGP) were classified as non‑government agencies. Before this, many of these agencies were classified as government agencies. As a result, trends in service sectors of agencies should be interpreted with caution.
Throughout Australia, there are programs that divert people who have been apprehended or sentenced for a minor drugs offence from the criminal justice system. Many of these diversions result in clients receiving drug treatment services, who have been referred to treatment agencies as part of a drug diversion program. Since the 1980s, Australian governments have supported programs aimed at diverting from the criminal justice system people who have been apprehended or sentenced with a minor drugs offence.
In Australia, drug diversion program come in two main forms:
The number of closed treatment episodes for counselling as a main treatment type has remained the most common treatment type for all clients over all collection years. Fluctuations over time in closed treatment episodes for particular treatment types may be influenced by coding practices, increased funding or changes in treatment policies/ capacity to provide specialised alcohol and other drug treatment services, which may contribute to variation in treatment types over time.
Trend data may differ from data published in previous versions of Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia, due to data revisions.
From the inception of the AODTS NMDS, data have been collected only about treatment episodes provided by AOD treatment services. Data about the clients those episodes relate to have not been available at a national level. An SLK was introduced into the AODTS NMDS for the 2012–13 collection to enable the number of clients receiving treatment to be counted, while continuing to ensure the privacy of these individuals receiving treatment.
An imputation strategy for the collection was developed to correct for the impact of invalid or missing SLKs on the total number of clients. This strategy takes into account several factors relating to the number of episodes per client and makes assumptions relating to spread across agencies. It also takes into consideration the likelihood that an episode with a missing SLK relates to a client that has already been counted through other episodes with a valid SLK.
To ensure an accurate representation of the AODTS client population, imputation was applied to the 2012–13, 2013–14 and 2015–16 AODTS NMDS to account for the proportion of valid SLKs being less than 95% for these years. The national rate of valid SLKs for these years was largely affected by low proportions of valid SLKs in New South Wales.
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