More people die of unintentional overdose than from car crashes.
- In Tasmania between 2014 and 2018, 179 people were lost to unintentional overdose, compared to 134 car crash fatalities.
- In 2018, 1,556 people died from unintentional drug-induced overdoses in Australia, compared with 1,220 people who died on our roads.
Unintentional drug-induced deaths are increasing by 3% each year.
- The number of unintentional drug-induced deaths has increased significantly over the past 15 years, from 981 in 2001 to 1,556 in 2018. Penington Institute found that deaths due to unintentional drug overdose in Australia are increasing by 3.0% per year, based on trends from the 2001 to 2018 period.
Someone is lost to overdose every 5.6 hours across Australia.
- There were 1,556 unintentional drug-induced deaths in Australia in 2018, accounting for more than three-quarters (75.2%) of all drug-induced deaths (2,070). It is anticipated that these numbers will rise as cases are finalised through the coronial system.
Taking pain medication? Ask your doctor or pharmacist about overdose.
- Over the past decade, drug-induced deaths were more likely to be due to prescription drugs than illegal drugs. Most drug-induced deaths are caused by the use of a combination of drugs rather than a single drug.
Overdose, not just a young person’s problem.
- Unintentional deaths were most common among the 40-49 age group, which accounted for 26.9% of all unintentional drug-induced deaths in 2018.1 Less than one in ten (9.6%) deaths recorded was among those aged under 30.
- Males were almost three times as likely as females to suffer an unintentional drug-induced death in 2018, accounting for 71.5% of deaths.
- Aboriginal people were almost three times as likely to die from an unintentional drug-induced death in 2018, with a rate of deaths of 17.3 per 100,000 population, compared with 6.0 deaths per 100,000 population for non-Aboriginal people.
- Since 2011, the rate of unintentional drug-induced deaths in regional parts of Australia has surpassed the rate seen in capital cities. From 2011 to 2018 the rate of unintentional drug-induced deaths in rural and regional Australia increased by 15.9%, while the rate in capital cities increased by only 3.6%.
What you can do
- Fold cranes and attend a community event to be a part of ending overdose
- Learn about overdose
- Talk about overdose as it could save a life
- Suspect an overdose? Call 000.
- Learn about Naloxone and how it can save lives.
Overdose can affect anyone
- No more stigma. No more shame.
- Use people-first language. Listen to people’s stories and experiences.
- People don’t just overdose from illicit drugs
- 75.2% of overdoses are accidental. More than half of all unintentional drug overdoses in 2018 involved some form of opioid. The second most common group of drugs linked to unintentional overdoses was benzodiazepines, followed by stimulants e.g. methamphetamine or ice.
Penington Institute (2020). Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2020. Melbourne: Penington Institute
Transport Services Tasmania statistics