closed treatment episode: A period of contact between a client and a treatment provider or team of providers. An episode is closed when treatment is completed, there has been no further contact between the client and the treatment provider for 3 months or when treatment is ceased (see reason for cessation).

concurrent (12-month) drug use: Used of 2 or more substances during the past 12 months

ever use: Used an illicit substance at least once in lifetime.

ex-user: A person who has used a substance in his or her lifetime, but not in the previous 12 months.

hospital separation:  Term used to refer to the episode of care, 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).

illicit drugs: Illegal drugs, drugs and volatile substances used illicitly, and pharmaceuticals used for non-medical purposes. The National Drug Strategy Household survey included questions on the following illicit drugs:

  • pain-killers/analgesics*
  • tranquillisers/sleeping pills*
  • steroids*
  • meth/amphetamines*
  • cannabis
  • heroin
  • Methadone or buprenorphine**
  • other opiates (opioids)*
  • cocaine
  • hallucinogens
  • ecstasy
  • ketamine
  • GHB
  • synthetic cannabinoids
  • other emerging psychoactive substances
  • inhalants
  • (any) injected drug.


*used for non-medical purposes
** non-maintenance program.

injected drugs: The injection of drugs that were not medically prescribed to inject.

Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10):  A survey device that is used to measure for screening populations on psychological distress. The scale consists of 10 questions on non-specific psychological distress, and relates to the level of anxiety and depressive symptoms a person may have felt in the preceding 4-week period. It is only used for people aged 18 or older.

main treatment type: The principal activity that is determined at assessment by the treatment provider to treat the client's alcohol or other drug problem for the principal drug of concern.

methadone program: A program for opiate addicts, usually conducted in an outpatient setting. These programs use a long-acting synthetic opiate medication, usually methadone or levo-alpha acetyl methadol, administered orally for a sustained period at a dosage sufficient to prevent opiate withdrawal, block the effects of illicit opiate use and decrease opiate craving.

non-maintenance: Use of a substance other than as part of a medically supervised maintenance program (this includes methadone).

non-medical use: Use of drugs either alone or with other drugs to induce or enhance a drug experience, for performance enhancement or for cosmetic purposes (this includes pain-killers/analgesics, tranquilisers/sleeping pills, steroids and meth/amphetamines and other opioids such as morphine or pethidine).

opiate/opioid substitution treatment (OST): A form of healthcare for heroin and other opiate-dependent people using prescribed opioid agonists, which have some similar or identical properties to heroin and morphine on the brain and which alleviate withdrawal symptoms and block the craving for illicit opiates. OST includes methadone, buprenorphine, and buprenorphine with naloxone.

over-the-counter (OTC) drugs: Medicine that you can buy without a prescription from a pharmacy or retail outlet 

principal drug of concern: The main substance that the client stated led them to seek treatment from an alcohol and drug treatment agency.

seizure (illicit drugs): Is the confiscation by a law enforcement agency of a quantity of an illicit drug or a regulated drug being used or possessed unlawfully, whether or not an arrest is made in conjunction with that confiscation. The amount of drug seized may be recorded by weight, volume or as a unit count-for example, number of tablets, plants or bags. The method of estimating the amount of drug seized varies between and within jurisdictions. For example, seizures of amphetamine in tablet form may be weighed or counted.

treatment episode: The period of contact between a client and a treatment provider or a team of providers. Each treatment episode has 1 principal drug of concern and 1 main treatment type. If the principal drug or main treatment changes, then a new episode is recorded.