WHAT IS IT?
Responses provided in statistical and administrative collections do not always relate directly to classification categories. A coding index is therefore necessary to act as a link between responses given and the classification, enabling responses to be assigned accurately and quickly to the appropriate category of the classification.
The ASCDC coding index for the main classification structure has been developed to assist with the implementation and use of the classification and should be used when coding applicable drug-related data. It contains a comprehensive list of the most probable drug-related responses and their correct classification codes. The index can be presented in both alphabetical and numerical (code) order.
In general, the titles of the base level categories of the classification reflects the non-proprietary or generic name for a drug. Furthermore, the base level units identify psychoactive compounds rather than the physical or chemical forms of the drugs. As many drug-related responses will not exactly match those of the classification categories, the coding index includes many proprietary or brand names, physical or chemical forms of drugs, generic substance descriptions, acronyms, chemical names and common-use or street names for drugs.
The coding index also includes a number of drugs that are not separately identified in the classification structure but which are included in the residual (nec) category of the narrow group to which they relate. In addition to its coding function, the numerical index can therefore be used to clarify the nature, extent and varietal content of each classification category.
The main classification structure coding index does not include codes for the Form of Drug or Method of Drug Use classifications. The coding index would become large and unwieldy if each entry for Type of Drug also included one or more Form of Drug or Method of Drug Use codes. Nevertheless, to facilitate the coding process, some forms of drugs are included in the coding index with the main classification structure code because the form of drug is often given as a response to a question about type of drug. For example, responses such as 'hash oil', 'heads' and 'weed' which describe a form of drug are all included in the coding index and are all coded to 7101, Cannabinoids. The codes for the categories of the Form of Drug and Method of Drug Use classifications are listed in Tables 4.1 and 4.2 of the Type of Drug Classification and Additional Classifications
When coding drug-related responses in statistical,
administrative or service delivery collections, the following rules should be applied:
- responses which match exactly with an entry in the coding index are assigned the code allocated to that index entry;
- responses which have a partial match with an entry in the coding index and only differ in terms of alternative spelling, the use of abbreviations, acronyms, etc. are assigned the code allocated to that index entry;
- responses which have a partial match with an entry in the coding index and only differ in terms of qualifying or extraneous words are assigned the code allocated to that index entry; and
- responses which have a partial match with an entry in the coding index and only differ in that they refer to a different chemical form of the drug are assigned the code allocated to that index entry. For example, the response Testosterone propionate is coded to 4112 Testosterone.
As the nature of drug activity in Australia changes, (new) drugs may become prominent that are not represented in the current coding index. If responses are encountered that are not in the index, the procedures outlined below can be followed to assign codes to input data. However, to ensure that the ASCDC remains standard, the ABS should be contacted if an additional index entry is considered to be necessary and a revision to the index may be issued.
The procedures for coding new responses are:
- responses which represent proprietary or brand names are assigned the code of the psychoactive substance they contain.
For example, if Rohypnol was a new response it would be coded to 2404 Flunitrazepam;
- responses which represent a physical form of a psychoactive substance are assigned the code of the psychoactive substance or group of substances they contain.
For example, if Cannabis was a new response it would be coded to 7101 Cannabinoids;
- responses which represent common-use or street names are assigned the code of the psychoactive substance that is most commonly associated with the name.
For example, if Ecstasy was a new response it would be coded to 3405 MDMA even though it is acknowledged that substances described as Ecstasy are not composed of MDMA in all instances;
- responses which represent a substance that comprises a combination of base level categories in the classification are assigned the code of the substance that is considered to be of most concern in terms of its contribution to drug-related harm.
For example, if Rubber cement was a new response it would be coded 6201 Toluene even though it is acknowledged that this is not the only harmful compound contained within the product;
- responses which do not relate to a separately identified drug or to an aggregate group of drugs in the classification are assigned a residual 'nec' code, or a supplementary 'nfd' code (see Reserved Codes for Residual Categories and Supplementary Codes). A response should only be coded to a residual 'nec' category if it is clear that it belongs in the particular narrow group and that it contains sufficient detail to indicate that it is definitely not included in one of the other separately identified base level units. Responses which are not precise enough to be coded to any base level category should be assigned the appropriate supplementary 'nfd' code.
The additional classifications Form of Drug and Method of Drug Use are used to code responses in applications which require form of drug and method of drug use codes rather than the main classification code of the psychoactive substance. These three classifications represent different elements of drug use or different statistical variables in the context of data collection. For all these variables it is recommended that data be collected, coded and stored separately. This allows data from organisations which collect all sets of information to be compared with data from organisations which only collect information on one or two of the variables. By having the variables stored in different fields the data can be manipulated according to the needs of the organisation.