Overdose death toll ‘a disaster’
ALMOST 1000 Australians a year are now dying from accidental drug deaths as the toll continues to grow.
Total drug deaths are now ahead of road fatalities, according to analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data conducted by Penington Institute to mark International Overdose Awareness Day.
A total of 1447 drug deaths occurred in 2013 – 185 more than died on the roads.
The 993 accidental fatal drug overdoses in 2013, was 304 more than died as drivers or passengers of cars, and represents a 57 per cent rise in the past decade.
“Overdose deaths are one of Australia’s hidden public health disasters,” Penington Institute chief John Ryan said.
“Far more people are being killed from accidental drug overdoses than car accidents in Australia, yet it has become taboo to talk about the extent of the problem.
“Most Australians still prefer to believe that drug overdoses are confined to the fringes of society.”
Deaths from methamphetamines such as ice and ecstasy have also skyrocketed – up from just 36 in 2003 to 168 in 2013, which is an increase of 367 per cent.