The Courier-Mail

Over­dose death toll ‘a dis­as­ter’

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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.

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