Pharmacy Daily

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.”

CLICK HERE to read the report in full.

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