Skip Page Header

Home > Trends in drug-induced deaths in Australia, 1997-2019.

Chrzanowska, Agata and Man, Nicola and Sutherland, Rachel and Degenhardt, Louisa and Peacock, Amy (2021) Trends in drug-induced deaths in Australia, 1997-2019. Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia.

[img]
Preview
PDF (Trends in drug-induced deaths in Australia, 1997-2019)
1MB
[img]
Preview
PDF (Trends in drug-induced deaths in Australia, 1997-2019 - Methods document) - Supplemental Material
434kB

Key findings:

  • Preliminary estimates indicate that there were 1,865 drug-induced deaths among Australians in 2019. This is equivalent to over five drug-induced deaths per day. This is the fifth year in a row where the number of deaths is higher than the earlier peak in the late 1990s.
  • The preliminary rate of drug-induced deaths in 2019 was 7.4 deaths per 100,000 people. The rate has been increasing since 2006 yet remains lower than the peak rate observed in 1999 and consistent with the preliminary estimated rate in 2018.
  • In 2019, one-in-four drug-induced deaths were considered intentional.
  • Consistent with previous years, the rate of drug-induced deaths observed among males was nearly twice the rate observed among females in 2019.
  • Those in the 45-54 and 35-44 age groups had the highest rate of drug-induced deaths in 2019; this contrasts with the late 1990s where the rate was highest in the 25-34 age group.
  • The highest rate of drug-induced deaths was observed in Western Australia across all jurisdictions for the third consecutive year.
  • The rate of drug-induced deaths was similar in major cities, inner regional and outer regional areas, with the lowest rate recorded in remote/very remote areas.
  • At least one psychosocial risk factor for mortality (e.g., employment, housing, social and family support) was identified for one-in-four unintentional deaths and three-in-five intentional drug-induced deaths in 2019.
    Personal history of self-harm was the most frequent psychosocial risk factor identified in unintentional and intentional drug-induced deaths.
  • A decrease in the rate of drug-induced deaths involving most drug types was observed from 2018 to 2019, noting that estimates are preliminary for these years. The exceptions comprised an increase in the rate of drug-induced deaths involving amphetamine and cocaine from 2018 to 2019.
  • Opioids have been the main drug cited in drug-induced deaths for over two decades. They were identified as the underlying cause of 1,121 deaths in 2019 (including 873 deaths deemed unintentional).
  • The rate of drug-induced deaths involving amphetamine in 2019 was four times the rate recorded in 2009.
    The rate of drug-induced deaths involving cocaine has more than doubled from 2016 to 2019.
  • From 1997 to 2018, natural and semi-synthetic opioids (e.g., morphine, oxycodone) were the most commonly identified opioid in opioid-induced deaths. By contrast, heroin was the most commonly identified opioid in 2019.
Item Type
Report
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Date
April 2021
Pages
22 p.
Publisher
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia
Place of Publication
Sydney
ISBN
978-0-7334-3977-3
EndNote
Related (external) link

Repository Staff Only: item control page