New injury deaths report sheds light on severity of prescription medication crisis in Australia

New injury deaths report sheds light on severity of prescription medication crisis in Australia

Statement

18 October 2018

 

New injury deaths report sheds light on severity of prescription medication crisis in Australia

 

A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report released last week, Trends in injury deaths,Australia paints a disturbing picture of pharmaceutical use across the country.

 

Chief Executive Officer of ScriptWise, Bee Mohamed, says the statistics should be a wakeup call for governments across Australia to invest in education and treatment to prevent further harms.

 

“It’s clear that Australia is in the midst of a public health crisis, but the system continues to operate as normal,” said Ms Mohamed.

 

“While we’re seeing positive declines in many areas, such as transport-related injury, deaths due to pharmaceuticals is one of the few areas where more people are dying.”

 

Rates of injury deaths due to transport injury, drowning and homicide have declined from 1999-00 to 2014-15. Rates of poisoning deaths involving pharmaceuticals fell in 2001-2 but have since risen by 2.4% per year.

 

“Solutions to complex issues like this are never simple, but it is clear that efforts to reduce accidental deaths through awareness and education, like for the road toll, have been very effective,” said Ms Mohamed.

 

“Not enough Australians are aware that using certain medications for sleep, anxiety or pain (benzodiazepines or opioids) long-term or in combination can cause serious harm, and even be fatal.”

 

“We have the opportunity to stop other families from experiencing the devastating loss of a loved one to a medication initially just taken to help. It should be a priority for all governments.”

 

 

AIHW: Henley G & Harrison JE 2018. Trends in injury deaths, Australia, 1999–00 to 2014–15. Injury research and statistics series no. 112. Cat. no. INJCAT 192. Canberra: AIHW. Accessed 18 October: https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/313761b5-8215-4bd1-8df2-6eb06a200629/aihw-injcat-192.pdf.aspx?inline=true

 

 

Summary of key findings:

 

 + Unintentional poisoning involving pharmaceuticals accounted for 1,237 injury deaths (9.8% of all injury deaths) and 67% of all poisoning by drugs deaths in Australia during 2014-15

+ 88% of unintentional poisoning deaths involving pharmaceuticals were people aged 25-64 (compared to 40% of all injury deaths)

+ Western Australia and New South Wales had the highest rates of unintentional poisoning deaths involving pharmaceuticals

+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were nearly twice as likely to die due to an unintentional poisoning death involving pharmaceuticals (1.8 times the rate for non-indigenous Australians)

+ Almost 71% of unintentional poisoning deaths involving pharmaceuticals involved poisoning by narcotics and psychodysleptics. The largest percentage of these deaths were due to poisoning by other opioids (43%)

+ More than 43% of the deaths involved poisoning by psychotopic drugs, not elsewhere classified. The largest percentage of these deaths involved antidepressants (51%)

+ More than 36% of the deaths involved poisoning by antiepileptic, sedative-hypnotic and antiparkinsonism drugs. The largest percentage of these deaths involved benzodiazepines (97%)

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.