The Australian Bureau of Statistics


A person who no longer drinks or has never consumed a full serve of alcohol.

(Substance) Abuse

A maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically signi´Čücant impairment or distress

Affective Mood Disorder

Disorders that involve mood disturbance. Examples include bipolar affective disorder, depressive episode, and dysthymia.


The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Alcohol and Drug Treatment Episode

A single session of treatment administered to a client by a treatment agency.  

Alcohol-Caused Disease

A disease, disorder or condition which was directly caused by the individual’s own alcohol consumption.

Alcohol-Related Crime

A crime is defined as alcohol-related where alcohol use contributed to that crime as indicated by the police detainee (in the case of DUMA data) or the victim (in the case of NDSHS data).

Alcohol-Related Violence

An incidence of physical abuse, verbal abuse or being put in fear, in which the perpetrator or victim reports that alcohol-use contributed to the violence.


Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulants that increase neurotransmitter activity. Methamphetamine is a more potent form of amphetamine. In the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set, amphetamines are defined as including amphetamine, dexamphetamine, methamphetamine, amphetamine analogues, and amphetamines not elsewhere classified. Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey identified the following common names for amphetamines: speed, uppers, MDA, goey, dex, Dexies, dexamphetamine, ox blood, methamphetamine or ice.

Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS)

Amphetamine-type stimulants include amphetamines, methamphetamine and phenethylamines.

Anxiety Disorders

Disorders that involve feelings of tension, distress, or nervousness. In the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHW) (2007) the following anxiety disorders were collected: Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, Agoraphobia, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).


An act of physical force or violence.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

A commonly used measure of alcohol intoxication. It refers to the amount of alcohol present in the bloodstream. For example, a BAC of 0.05% means that there are 0.05 grams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood.

Cannabis Use Disorder

A disease, disorder or condition which was directly caused by the individual’s own cannabis use.


Having more than one disorder at the same time. Alcohol comorbidity is defined as being diagnosed with an alcohol-related mental health disorder in addition to another mental  health disorder or physical condition.

Consumer Arrest

The Australian Crime Commission differentiates between people who have been apprehended for trading in, as opposed to using, illicit drugs. Those charged with user-type offences (possessing or administering drugs for their own use) are classified as consumers.


A maladaptive pattern of use in which the use of drugs or alcohol takes on a much higher priority for a person than other behaviours that once had greater value. The central characteristic is the strong, sometimes overpowering, desire to take the substance despite significant substance-related problems.


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: fourth edition, text revision. In use from 2000-2013.


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: fifth edition. Released May 2013.

Economic Cost

The loss of money and/or resources, both tangible and intangible.


Self-employed or working for salary or wages.

Employment Status

Whether an individual is currently: a) employed; b) unemployed; or c) not in the labour force.

Harmful Use

A pattern of use of alcohol or drugs that is responsible for (or substantially contributes to) physical or psychological harm, including impaired judgement or dysfunctional behaviour.


Being placed in a hospital for medical care.

Hospital Separation

An episode of care for an admitted patient, which can be a total hospital stay (from admission to discharge, transfer or death); or a portion of a hospital stay beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation). Separation also means the process by which an admitted patient completes an episode of care either by being discharged, transferring to another hospital, changing type of care, or dying.


A group of professions or businesses which perform a particular type of economic or commercial activity.

Intangible Cost

Costs which are not directly measurable in economic terms e.g. loss of life.

Labour Force

Those participating in the workforce, including those who are not currently working but are actively seeking employment (see “unemployed”). The labour force excludes those who are engaged in home duties, retired, students, or are unable to work due to illness or disability.

Long-Term Risk of Alcohol-Related Disease or Injury

An individual’s risk of experiencing alcohol-related harm during their lifetime, e.g. from alcohol-related chronic disease, accident or injury.  Current Australian alcohol guidelines state that long-term risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury increases when you consume an average of three or more standard drinks per day.


An amphetamine-type stimulant. The full name of MDMA is 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine. MDMA is also abbreviated from the more commonly used term 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. It is also commonly known as ecstasy, XTC, X, adam, m&m, eccy, E, go, Scooby snacks, hug and beans.

Mental Disorder

According to the ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders, a disorder implies "the existence of a clinically recognisable set of symptoms or behaviour associated in most cases with distress and with interference with personal functions" (WHO 1992, p5). Most diagnoses require criteria relating to severity and duration to be met.


This term covers a range of stimulant drugs including methamphetamine and amphetamine. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) described meth/amphetamine as including drugs commonly known as speed, ice, crystal, whizz, Ritalin, or pseudoephedrine-based cold and flu tablets.

Methamphetamine-related deaths

Deaths in which methamphetamine was considered a contributing factor to the death of the individual, including drug toxicity, natural disease, accident, suicide, and homicide.


Methylamphetamine is an amphetamine-type stimulant. The term is used interchangeably with methamphetamine.  The Australian Crime Commission defined methylamphetamine as a synthetic stimulant drug.

Non-medical use

A drug used by itself to induce a drug experience of feeling; or with other drugs in order to enhance a drug experience. 

Not in the Labour Force

Engaged in home duties, volunteer/charity work, student, retiree/pensioner, other.

Percentage (%)

A proportion of a given amount; a number as a fraction of 100.


An individual who commits one or more acts of crime, violence, assault, and/or abuse.

Physical Abuse

An act which causes pain and/or injury to the victim.

Physical Condition

A medical condition, illness, injury or disability including: asthma; cancer; stroke (or the effects of stroke); gout; rheumatism or arthritis; diabetes or high blood sugar levels; and any other heart or circulatory condition. Information was also collected about the presence of the following physical conditions only if they lasted six months or more: hayfever; sinusitis or sinus allergy; emphysema; bronchitis; anaemia; epilepsy; fluid problems/fluid retention/oedema (excluding those due to heart or circulatory problems); hernias; kidney problems; migraine; psoriasis; stomach ulcer or other gastrointestinal ulcer; thyroid trouble/goiter; tuberculosis; back or neck pain or back or neck problems.


Substances that are considered to be the starting materials for illicit drug manufacture. As a result of chemical reactions, the precursor’s molecular structure is modified to produce a specific illicit drug. For example, precursors such as pseudoephedrine can be converted into methamphetamine.


An indicator of how common a condition is; the proportion of a population found to have a specific condition at a given point in time.

Principal Drug of Concern

The main substance that leads an individual to seek treatment from an alcohol and drug treatment agency (as stated by the individual).

Provider Arrest

The Australian Crime Commission differentiates between people who have been apprehended for trading in, as opposed to using, illicit drugs. Those charged with supply-type offences (importation, trafficking, selling, cultivation and manufacture) are classified as providers.

Psychoactive Drugs

Chemical substances that act primarily on the Central Nervous System (CNS) where they alter brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness and behaviour.


A class of psychoactive drugs that induce temporary changes in mental and/or physical functions. Psychostimulants are also referred to as stimulants. Methamphetamine is a type of psychostimulant. In the “Methamphetamine and Health” subsection of the NADK, psychostimulants refer to the National Hospital Morbidity Database’s ICD-10 code T43.6 “Psychostimulants with potential for use disorder” which classifies hospital separations where the principal diagnosis “poisoning by psychotropic drugs, not elsewhere classified” involved methamphetamine.

Put in Fear

Feeling threatened and/or afraid for one’s personal safety due to the actions, speech or behaviour of another.

Regular Cannabis Use 

Regular cannabis use refers to using cannabis 10 or more times in the past year (in the case of ASSAD data), or at least once per month or 12 times in the past year (in the case of NDSHS data). 

Sample Size

The number of participants representing a specific population whose data have been collected and analysed.

Short-Term Risk of Alcohol-Related Injury

An individual’s risk of experiencing alcohol-related harm on a single occasion of drinking, e.g. from an alcohol-related accident or injury. Current Australian alcohol guidelines state that drinking five or more standard drinks on any single occasion significantly increases short-term risk of alcohol-related injury.

Single Occasion of Drinking

Any time a person consumes one or more drinks containing alcohol, and during this period of time their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) does not return to zero.


A software package used for statistical analysis.

Standard Drink

A Standard Drink is a drink that contains 10 grams (or 12.5 millilitres) of alcohol.


Drugs that stimulate Central Nervous System (CNS) activity. Methamphetamine is a type of stimulant. In the “Methamphetamine and Health” subsection of the NADK, stimulants refer to the National Hospital Morbidity Database’s ICD-10 code F15 “Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of other stimulants, including caffeine” which classifies hospital separations where methamphetamine has caused a mental or behavioural disorder.

Syntax (computer programming)

Computer programming language source code.

Tangible Cost

Costs which are directly measurably in economic terms e.g. healthcare costs.

Treatment Episode

A period of contact between a client and a treatment provider. Only ‘closed’ treatment episodes are included in the data used here. An episode is closed if there is a change in the principal drug of concern, main treatment, or service delivery setting; if the treatment ends; or if the patient is imprisoned or dies.


Below the age at which one can legally buy alcohol. In Australia this is 18 years of age.

Under the Influence of Alcohol

There is no single objective standard for being under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, data sources used in the NADK do not provide a definition of this term. It is popularly understood as referring to an individual who has consumed enough alcohol to impair their mental, physical, and/or cognitive faculties. However, definitions and standards may vary between jurisdictions, sectors and organisations.


Not currently working and actively seeking employment.

Verbal Abuse

Language which is designed to humiliate, degrade, demean, intimidate, or subjugate (including the threat of physical violence).


An individual who experiences one or more incidents of crime, violence, assault, and/or abuse.