3.1 Parental substance use (drugs)

Substance misuse includes the use of illicit drugs (such as cannabis), pharmaceutical drugs (such as pain-killers, tranquillisers) when used for non-medical purposes (an illicit behaviour), and other substances (such as inhalants) used inappropriately.

Parental substance misuse is a key risk factor for child abuse and neglect. Misuse can compromise parents' ability to consistently provide a stable and safe environment for children, maintain household tasks and routines, and respond to their children’s emotional needs. Financial difficulties can also arise due to substance misuse, compounding the issues faced by the family.

For all indicator displays, where all years of data are comparable over time an ‘All’ category will be provided as an option in the ‘Year’ drop down display. If only a selection of specific years are comparable, these years (e.g. 2017 to 2019) will be provided as an option under ‘Year’ and ‘All’ will not be an option. See the footnotes for this indicator in the supplementary tables hyperlink below for further information.

See the XLS DownloadXLS Downloadsupplementary table for this indicator for further information and footnotes about these data.

Indicator technical specifications

The information below provides technical specifications for the summary indicator data presented in the XLS Downloadquick reference guide.

National Framework Indicator 3.1 Parental substance use (drugs): Proportion of parents with children aged 0-14 years who used any illicit drug within the last 12 months
  Definition Data source
Numerator Proportion of parents with children aged 0-14 years who used any illicit drug in the 12 months prior to the Survey AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey
Denominator Number of parents with children aged 0-14 years in the Census 2011 for survey years 2010 and 2013, and the Census 2016 for survey year 2016 ABS Census of Population and Housing

Explanatory notes

Illicit drugs include illegal drugs (such as cannabis, amphetamines, and heroin), pharmaceutical drugs (such as pain-killers, tranquillisers) when used for non-medical purposes (strictly an illicit behaviour), and other substances used inappropriately (such as inhalants). Due to the illegal nature of illicit drugs it is likely that self-reported data underestimate the number of people using these drugs.

Reported usage is based on what drug the person believed they were taking, and it is possible that they may not have known.

See the XLS DownloadXLS Downloadsupplementary table for this indicator for further information and footnotes about these data.