The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures shows Australian drug deaths have been on the increase with a new record high since the late 90s.
But unlike the 90s, the #1 killer drug is no longer heroin. It’s also not ice but something seemingly far more benign.
In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Adam Gartrell talks about how Australian drug deaths have reached their highest level in nearly 20 years.
In 2016, there were a total of 158,504 deaths registered in Australia, 1,808 of which — or about 7.5 deaths per 100,000 Australians — were drug-caused.
Heroin crisis no more
In 1999, when Australia was in the grip of a heroin crisis, drug deaths peaked at 1,740.
Prescription drugs and illicit drugs are driving the increase in this these drug-caused deaths, even beating the number of suicide rates in the country.
Drug-induced or drug-related?
Deaths are classified as “drug-induced” if the death is directly attributable to drug use, like an overdose; and if drugs were a contributing factor to a death –like an accident — then the death is classified as “drug-related.”
Australian drug deaths: Now caused by opioids and stimulants
It is particularly worrying because Australian drug deaths are steadily rising. The country is once again in the grip of an opioid and stimulant crisis.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data Director of Health and Vital Statistics James Eynstone-Hinkins said the latest Australian drug-induced deaths were mostly due to benzodiazepines and oxycodone. Both are anxiety and pain-relieving drugs and are preferred by older users.
One in five drug deaths were more or less due to psychostimulants like methamphetamine and ecstasy. The figure is now 4 times higher than in the 90s. Psychostimulants are preferred by the younger drug users.
Psychostimulants (methamphetamines, ecstasy, and Ritalin) are now the third most common substances that are responsible for drug deaths in Australia.
Drug user profile: then and now
When you think of a drug user in Australia, you don’t think of Australians who keep 9 to 5 jobs. The profile of Australians that use drugs today and die from drug-related deaths has changed since the 90s.
According to the ABS, in the 90s, the usual profile of a drug user was a young person. This young person would be in their early 30s. The drugs of choice were either morphine or heroin.
But now, Australians who are under 35 years of age, have lower rates of drug-induced deaths. Someone dying from a drug-induced death in Australia is most likely to be a middle-aged male, mixing prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines or oxycodone.
You can read the original article here.
We also created an infographic to share the most important statistics at a glance:
Why Drug-Test Your Employees?
With the staggering rates of drug-induced and drug-related deaths in this country, it’s only natural to want to safeguard your business and your employees.
Keep your workplace safe and maintain a healthy work environment through a comprehensive drug testing program.
You will not only keep your employees safe, but you will also protect your company by cutting the risk of legal liabilities if an accident at your company is found to be drug-related.
Find out who among your workforce is struggling with substance abuse, and address it while you can.
Drug-Safe Australia Will Keep Your Workplace Safe
Our mission at Drug-Safe Australia is to help you secure and safeguard your company and workforce from the impact of drug and alcohol-related incidents at work. Our comprehensive drug testing service is one of the best in Australia today.
Call us at 1300-DRUGSAFE (1300-378-472) and find out what options you have in creating a drug-safe workplace.