1248.0 - Australian Standard Classification of Drugs of Concern, 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/07/2011   
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The need for periodic reviews of the ASCDC to reflect the changes in the types of drugs of concern being used and the prevalence of drug usage in Australia was foreshadowed when the ASCDC was released. Feedback from key users of the ASCDC highlighted the need for a review of the ASCDC to ensure it is up to date. Accordingly the ABS undertook a review of the ASCDC in 2009.


The purpose of the review was to:
  • incorporate new drugs of concern that have emerged in Australia, reflect the growth and decline of others, exclude previous drugs of concern that no longer satisfy the base level unit criteria and address any errors in the classification, and
  • improve the Coding Index used to map the actual responses provided to Drugs of Concern.
    There was no attempt to review the conceptual model underpinning the classification or to make major structural changes.


    Extensive research was conducted to:
    • confirm the appropriate terminology to be used for categories in the classification, and
    • assist in assessing the accuracy of coding of drugs of concern at the broad, narrow and base levels - which was achieved primarily through consultation with users of the classifications.
      The research included consultation with experts and stakeholders.

      Three rounds of Stakeholder Consultation were held to determine any shortcomings with the current ASCDC and to establish which, if any, new drugs needed to be included in the classification.

      To limit disruption to time series and to create as little confusion as possible, drugs separately identified in the first edition have mainly retained the same code in the Second Edition; only being allocated new codes if they have been moved to a different group. Drugs separately identified for the first time have been allocated previously unused codes. Previously used codes have not been reallocated. One effect of the decision to keep drug codes constant over time is that the original alphabetical order of drugs within narrow groups has been disrupted in some instances.

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