In 2018, more than 2,000 people died from drug overdoses in Australia — about five each day.
That’s according to the Penington Institute’s annual overdose report, released today.
The largest number of overdose deaths (more than 1,000) involved opioids (for example, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl), followed by benzodiazepines (for example, Valium).
Opioid-related deaths in Australia have been on an upward trend in recent years, having doubled since 2006. This means we’re now not far off numbers recorded in the late 1990s, when opioid-related deaths were highest. There’s more we could be doing to curb this problem.
What kind of opioids are causing harm?
Unlike North America, where illicitly manufactured fentanyl has been involved in many opioid deaths, most opioid deaths in Australia involve pharmaceutical opioids.
That said, heroin deaths have increased over the past five years.
Among all opioid deaths, just over half of people overdosing have a history of