Drug-induced deaths continue to rise
MORE than five Australians a day died as a result of misuse of drugs - including medications - in 2019, with opioids the most commonly identified substances in drug-related deaths (1,121), the latest National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) report reveals.
Preliminary data estimated that there were 1,865 drug-related deaths in Australia in 2019 excluding deaths caused by alcohol and tobacco - accounting for
7.4 deaths per 100,000 people, continuing an upward trajectory since 2006, although it remains lower than the previous peak in 1999.
Researchers found a noticeable shift in the number of deaths involving heroin (474) than natural and semi-synthetic opioids such as morphine or oxycodone (460).
NDARC Drug Trends Program Lead, Dr Amy Peacock, noted that at least one psychosocial risk factor was present for approximately 24% of unintentional deaths and 62% of intentional deaths in 2019.
“The most frequent psychosocial risk factor identified in coroner-certified drug-induced deaths was personal history of self-harm,” she said.
“Other frequently identified psychosocial factors in 2019 were: disruption of family by separation and divorce, disappearance and death of a person in the primary support group, problems in [their] relationships with a spouse or partner, and problems related to other legal circumstances.”
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