The AODTS–NMDS was implemented to help monitor and evaluate key objectives of the National Drug Strategic Framework 1998–99 to 2003–04 and to help plan, manage and improve the quality of alcohol and other drug treatment services (see AIHW: Grant & Petrie 2001 for historical development of the AODTS–NMDS). The AODTS–NMDS will continue to support the National Drug Strategy 2004–09, particularly as trend data are becoming available.

Since 1985, Australia’s drug strategies have been based on the principle of minimising harm caused by licit drugs, illicit drugs and other substances. The principle of harm minimisation incorporates strategies to reduce drug-related harm to individuals and communities as well as supply and demand reduction strategies. No single data collection can provide all of the information relating to national treatment objectives. This report therefore also presents information from a range of other data sources to provide context to the AODTS–NMDS data and present a more complete picture of the current state of alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia today (see Chapter 7).

The data presented in this report, in conjunction with other information sources, can be used to inform issues of access to treatment services and more generally to inform debate, policy decisions and planning processes that occur within the alcohol and other drug treatment sector.