The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has released its Annual Report 2018 and once again highlights the low availability of opioid medications for pain relief in low income countries.
“The low availability of opioid medications in low income countries is a continued cause for concern and is causing suffering,” said NDARC Honorary Visiting Professor and INCB Board Member, Professor Richard Mattick.
By contrast there is a need for vigilance of prescribing of pharmaceutical opioids in high income countries such as Australia, Professor Mattick said.
“Prescription opioids are the leading cause of drug deaths in Australia.
“This suggests that vigilance is warranted in their use for controlling chronic non-cancer pain.”
Highlights of the report related to Australia include:
- The quantity of precursors seized in Australia in 2016/17 was 2.3 tons, a considerable increase from the 0.3 tons seized during the previous 12 months. This indicates that the strong demand for methamphetamine in the country continues.
- National Wastewater Drug Monitoring has shown that Australia has become a major consumer of methamphetamine, cocaine and “ecstasy”. Australia’s lucrative illicit market for drugs continues to attract transnational organised criminal groups.
- The rate of drug-induced deaths in Australia has been increasing since 2007 and reached 1,808 deaths in 2016, which was the highest on record since the late 1990s. The deaths were mainly a result of the non-medical use of benzodiazepines and oxycodone; deaths resulting from the use of other controlled substances have also been increasing.
The INCB Annual Report 2018, related reports and media release are available on the INCB website.