Two thirds of deaths in Australia have been caused by the over use of prescription drugs.
The new figure shows that prescription drug abuse is to be blamed for roughly 70 per cent of Australia’s drug-related deaths.
The number of prescription-related deaths is said to be at its highest since the 1990s.
New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that, in the past 20 years, Australia has recorded its highest number of deaths caused by prescription drugs.
Prescription drugs, also known as prescription medication, is a pharmaceutical drug that legally requires a medical prescription by a general practitioner. In most cases, only one GP has the authority to give the drug to the patient, as Dr Saater Tine says.
“Schedule 8 medication can also be known as drugs of addiction. When we’re prescribing these medications, as doctors we need to ensure that we prescribe the required amount and nothing more,” he says.
The figures were also backed up by Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2017, which showed overdoses accounted for 7.5 per cent of deaths per 100,000 Australians.
The rate has more than doubled among Australians aged 35 to 44 since a decade ago.
Geelong’s Leslie Maria knows the issue first hand – she has a friend going through the tough process of trying to overcome addiction.
Hear more from Leslie here …
The programs offered for patients going through times of addictions can be accessed through your local GP, as Dr Tine says.
“Of course we prefer patients to stop taking these sorts of medications as soon as their health issue is fixed. However unfortunately not everyone does. And in those situations we want to help patients as much as we can so they don’t go further in the path of addiction,” Dr Tine says.
Overdosing on a highly potent drug such as any pharmaceutical painkiller and/or very pure crystal methamphetamine, or the use of alcohol at the same time, has a big impact on the public.
Like Leslie’s friend who had seen the side effects of overdosing, so do many other Australians.
Not only does overdosing effect the individual in many ways such as physical, mental and social, but it has a huge impact on the people around them.
Accidental overdoses can occur when a person mistakenly ingests the incorrect medication or takes the wrong dose of a medication. Purposeful overdoses are done out of choice, either to get high or as a form of self harm.
Benzodiazepines are a form of prescription drug which is given to patients to help them with anxiety. Unfortunately they are also the cause of 37 per cent of the deaths.
Thirty per cent of deaths were also caused by prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and morphine.