Illicit drug

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Glossary Item
Synonymous names:Illegal drug
METeOR identifier:413485
Registration status:Health, Standard 28/04/2016
Community Services (retired), Standard 06/02/2012

An illicit drug is defined as any drug which is illegal to possess or use or any legal drug used in an illegal manner, for example:

  • a drug obtained on prescription but given or sold to another person to use
  • glue or petrol which is sold legally, but is used in a manner that is not intended, such as inhaling fumes
  • stolen pharmaceuticals sold on the black market (e.g. Pethidine)

Collection and usage attributes


The 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report defines illicit drugs as illegal drugs (such as marijuana/cannabis), prescription or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals (such as analgesics/pain-killers or tranquillisers/sleeping pills) used for illicit purposes, and other substances used inappropriately (such as naturally occurring hallucinogens and inhalants).

Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare


AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2008. 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey: first results. Drug Statistics Series number 20.Cat. no. PHE 98. Canberra: AIHW.

Relational attributes

Metadata items which use this glossary item:

Person—substance used illicitly indicator, yes/no/not stated/inadequately described code N Health, Superseded 28/04/2016
Community Services (retired), Standard 06/02/2012

Prisoner health NBEDS Health, Standard 28/04/2016