What’s happening with overdose deaths in Australia?
Sep 10, 2021
The Medical Journal of Australia’s “InSight” newsletter recently featured an article titled “Overdose data highlight need for drug checking services.” The article analysed data from the Victorian Coroner’s “Victorian Overdose Deaths 2011-2020” report, published earlier this year. Some of the important findings include:
- GHB overdoses doubled between 2019 and 2020
- Deaths related to the anticonvulsant pregabalin have been steadily increasing across the ten-year period
- The pandemic resulted in increased numbers of people receiving “unsupervised” doses of methadone, without any increase in overdose deaths
- Deaths related to novel psychoactive substances have been increasing from 8 deaths in 2018 to 33 deaths in 2020.
Together, the data highlights the increasingly complex drug market, which the authors believe warrants to introduction of drug checking services. Drug checking services allow people to have their substances analysed by a chemist, where results can be provided alongside a brief health intervention in order to reduce drug related risks.