The Pharmaceuticals section of the NADK provides general information about pharmaceutical drugs, as well as Australians’ attitudes and behaviours regarding pharmaceutical drugs, and the consequences of use.

Information is presented in a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), which have been divided into sub-categories. The type of information contained within each subcategory is summarised below.

A Note on Terminology:

Please note that the medicines covered by the term ‘pharmaceutical drugs’ are not consistent throughout this section of the NADK. The terminological differences occur because, although a range of data sources on pharmaceutical drugs is available, each data source does not necessarily include the same medicines. A footnote has therefore been added to each FAQ regarding which specific drug types are included in the term ‘pharmaceutical drugs’ based on the original source from which the answer was drawn.

  • General Information

    This Section provides general information about pharmaceutical drug use in Australia. It explains what pharmaceutical drugs are, how some of these drugs (namely those with analgesic or sedative-hypnotic properties) are used for both medical and non-medical purposes, and the effects of use.

  • Attitudes

    This section provides an overview of Australians’ attitudes towards pharmaceutical drug use.

  • Use

    This section provides information about the ways in which Australians use pharmaceutical drugs. It addresses how often Australians use pharmaceutical drugs, the most common types used, and locations of use.

  • Employment

    This section provides information about pharmaceutical drug use and employment. Differences in use patterns between employed and unemployed Australians, as well as those not in the labour force, are examined.

  • Health

    This section provides information about the harms associated with pharmaceutical drug use, and the impact of pharmaceutical drug use on mental and physical health.

  • Treatment

    This section contains information about the provision of medical/psychological treatment for pharmaceutical drug use. It covers episodes of professional treatment for pharmaceutical drug-related problems, those most likely to seek help, and changes over time.

  • Young People

    This section contains information about the pharmaceutical drug use patterns of Australian school students aged 12 – 17 years. Data are derived from the 2017 Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) Survey (Cancer Council of Victoria, 2018).