The number of Australians who have died from drug overdoses has continued to increase since 2001.
Experts say stigma and discrimination are the causes.
According to Australia’s Annual Overdose Report, the number of drug-related deaths has outpaced population growth.
The Penington Institute’s non-profit drug and alcohol research center also found that while there was a sharp increase in the number of stimulant-related deaths, prescription drugs were the leading cause of death.
A total of 2,070 deaths from drug overdoses occurred in 2018.
In fact, 1,556 of them were accidental.
In the same time frame, 1,220 people have died on Australian roads.
Penington Institute deputy chief executive Dr. Stephen McNally said the death toll from overdoses even exceeded the number of victims in 2008.
However, unfortunately, the problem has consistently failed to attract public attention.
Dr. McNally said the public image associated with drug overdose was that it was caused by drug use, when in fact, it was prescription drugs that were the problem.
The report found opioids, such as morphine or codeine, were the leading cause of death, followed by benzodiazepines used for things like anxiety and insomnia, and antidepressants.