Data cubes

About the cubes

A data cube is a multidimensional representation of the data set. It allows the user to select, filter and arrange aggregated data by variables of interest using drag and drop functionality. Data generated from the cubes can be exported into Excel for data analysis and reporting.

Period covered

The cubes cover the period 2003–04 to 2022–23.

Counting unit

The counting unit is a ‘closed treatment episode’. A closed treatment episode refers to a period of contact, with defined dates of commencement and cessation, between a client and a treatment agency. As a unit of measurement, the ‘closed treatment episode’ used in the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS) does not provide information on the number of clients who access publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment, nor can it provide information on the extent of concurrent, sequential or recurrent service use.

Data items included in the data cubes

For a full list of the AODTS NMDS 2022–23 data items, metadata about those items and access to the download file, visit AODTS cube metadata.

Exclusions to the collection

  • Agencies whose sole activity is to prescribe and/or dose for opioid pharmacotherapy maintenance treatment such as methadone.
  • Halfway houses and sobering-up shelters, correctional institutions, health promotion services (for example, needle and syringe exchange programs).
  • Alcohol and drug treatment units in acute care or psychiatric hospitals that only provide treatment to admitted patients.
  • Private treatment agencies that do not receive government funding.

It should also be noted that:

  • The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) clients may be under-estimated as not all Australian Government funded First Nations substance-use services/ health services that provide specialised treatment for alcohol and other drug use supply data under the AODTS NMDS. In addition, at the national level, a low percentage of clients did not state their Indigenous status (approximately 5% of all closed treatment episodes over time, ranging from 7,000 to 13,600 episodes over 10 years).
  • On their own, the data do not provide measures of the incidence or prevalence of non-prescribed use of, or dependence on, alcohol or other drugs in the community. This is because not all persons who have alcohol or other drug dependence seek treatment, or they may seek treatment from non-publicly funded services.
  • For remoteness area, components may not sum to number of treatment agencies as some treatment agencies are distributed among more than one remoteness area – in these cases, the largest ratio of the agency area is allocated to the remoteness area.
  • The number of agencies is not an accurate reflection of all in-scope alcohol and other drug (AOD) specialist treatment services in Australia, as some agencies fail to report data during a collection for various reasons. See the Alcohol and other drug treatment services NMDS, 2022–23 data quality statement for details.
  • In 2018–19, the AOD treatment agency counting methodology was revised to better reflect the number of unique AOD treatment service outlets. There is a level of agency duplication, due to agencies splitting out episode data that is related to the funding source for that program/ service. Some agencies chose to split their data according to the funding source. For example, state funded service episodes are reported to the relevant state or territory department and the Commonwealth funded service episodes are separated and reported to a peak body or directly to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). This has resulted in some services being counted as 2 separate agencies over time. The revision was applied to all time-series, with AOD service counts from 2014–15 to 2017–18 affected.

Additional information

Across all years, the following data items in the cubes have been collapsed for confidentiality reasons:

  • Method of use for principal drug of concern – Injects data has been collapsed into the Other category.
  • Source of referral for treatment – corrections, police and court diversion data have been collapsed into the Other category.
  • Reason for cessation of treatment – drug court, imprisoned and died have been collapsed into the Other category.

How to use the cubes

  • Data cubes allow the user to quickly select, filter and arrange aggregated data by variables of interest using the drag and drop functionality. Data generated from these cubes can be exported into Excel for data analysis and reporting.
  • When a data cube is opened, default dimensions are shown. To view other dimensions, select the right arrow to the left of the Retrieve Data button to expand the dimension list. Then start dragging a dimension – a little popup screen will show giving you the choice of adding to the dimension as a Column, Row, or a Wafer (a filter).
  • If you wish to collate totals and present percentages, select the table icon, where the data is displayed. This provides additional options for filtering the data. To hide dimensions, select the dimension name and select the ‘Hide’ menu item.
  • For more tips about how to use the cubes, select the three dots to the right of the search box at the top right and select Tour. Or alternatively, for a more comprehensive guide select on the question mark button.

How to export data from the cubes

The data can be exported in several different formats including Excel and CSV. To export the data, choose the format from the drop-down list at the top right of the screen, then select the Download Table button next to it. The file will be saved to your default Downloads location.