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 2020–21.

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 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 2019–20 data items, and metadata about those items, download 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 Indigenous clients may be under-estimated as most Australian Government funded Indigenous substance-use services and Aboriginal health services that provide treatment for alcohol and other drug use do not 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 8,000 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. Where that is the case, a weighting equivalent to the proportion of the agency area allocated to the remoteness area has been applied.
  • The number of agencies is not an accurate reflection of all in-scope 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, 2020–21 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 AIHW. This has resulted in some services being counted as two 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

Values and totals are suppressed in the ‘Closed treatment episodes: All clients profile by state/territory—no drug breakdown, 2020–21’ cube to remove data that are at risk of disclosing a client’s Indigenous status. Caution is therefore required when interpreting and reporting tables built from this cube that include the Indigenous status dimension as data may differ to that reported elsewhere.

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 do I 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, right-click on the dimension to be replaced, and then select the ‘Change’ item. For example, to replace sex with country of birth right-click on sex and select ‘Change Sex to’. Then select ‘Country of birth’ from the list.

If you wish to collate totals and present percentages, right-click on the table icon, where the data is displayed. This provides additional options for filtering the data. To hide dimensions right-click on the dimension name and select the ‘Hide’ menu item.

How do I export data from cubes?

The data can be exported to either to Excel or Word. Right-click the table area and select ‘Export table’ from the menu. Choose the number of rows you wish to export, and select either Excel or Word as your preference, or save as a tab or comma separated file. Name the file and save it in your preferred location.