There were 969 hospitalisations with a drug-related principal diagnosis in Tasmania in 2019-20.
This is equivalent to 201 hospitalisations per 100,000 people, which was a significant decrease from 2018-19 (261 hospitalisations per 100,000 people; p<0.001) (Table 1) but an increase from 1999-00 (127 hospitalisations per 100,000 people) (Figure 1).
The rate of hospitalisations was higher among females than males in 2019-20 (241 versus 163 hospitalisations per 100,000 people).
In 2019-20, the rate of hospitalisations was highest among the 20-29 age group, followed by the 10-19 and 40-49 age groups (429, 285, and 263 hospitalisations per 100,000 people, respectively).
Remoteness Area of Usual Residence
The highest number and rate of hospitalisations in 2019-20 was observed in inner regional Tasmania (756 hospitalisations,223 hospitalisations per 100,000 people), noting there are no major cities in Tasmania (Figure 2).
External Cause of Drug Poisoning
In 2019-20, 48% of drug-related hospitalisations in Tasmania were due to drug poisoning. Furthermore, 82% of drug poisoning related hospitalisations were intentional (78 hospitalisations per 100,000 people) and 11% were unintentional (9.2 hospitalisations per 100,000 people) (Figure 3).
Drug TypeIn 2019-20, the rate of hospitalisations was highest where there was a principal diagnosis indicating amphetamines and other stimulants (52 hospitalisations per 100,000 people) (Figure 4).
Compared to 2018-19, there were significant decreases in 2019-20 in the rates of hospitalisations related to cannabinoids; non-opioid analgesics; antidepressants; antiepileptic, sedative-hypnotic and antiparkinsonism drugs; opioids; and antipsychotics and neuroleptics (p<0.050) (Table 1).
In contrast, there was a significant increase in the rate of hospitalisations related to amphetamines and other stimulants (p<0.050) (Table 1).
Figure 1. Age-standardised rate per 100,000 people of drug-related hospitalisations, by sex, Tasmania, 1999-00 to 2019-20.
Provision of Tasmanian data between 2008-09 and 2015-16 was limited to drug related hospitalisations based on selected drug-related ICD-10-AM codes (see the methods for the list of ICD-10-AM codes). Estimates of drug-related hospitalisations for this period are likely to be underestimated.
Figure 2. Age-standardised rate per 100,000 people of drug-related hospitalisations, by remoteness, Tasmania, 2012-13 to 2019-20.
Note: The size (area) of the bubble is proportional to the number of hospitalisations. Data by remoteness are only available from 2012-13. There are no major cities in Tasmania. Where the number of hospitalisations for remote and very remote Tasmania were small (less than or equal to 10) age-standardised rates were not calculated. Please refer to our methods document for details.
Figure 3. Age-standardised rate per 100,000 people of drug-related hospitalisations, by principal diagnosis of mental and behavioural disorder due to substance use (A) and external cause of poisoning (B), Tasmania, 1999-00 to 2019-20.Note: Age-standardised rates were not calculated if the number of hospitalisations was less than or equal to 10 (please refer to our methods document for details). Suppressed data are visible as gaps in the data series.
Figure 4. Age-standardised rate per 100,000 people of drug-related hospitalisations, by drug identified in the principal diagnosis, Tasmania, 1999-00 to 2019-20.Note: Age-standardised rates were not calculated if the number of hospitalisations was less than or equal to 10 (please refer to our methods document for details). Suppressed data are visible as gaps in the data series.
Table 1. Age-standardised rate per 100,000 people of drug-related hospitalisations in 2019-20 and rate ratio and p-value for difference compared to 2018-19, in Tasmania by drug type identified in the principal diagnosis
||Age-standardised rate (95% CI)||2019-20 versus 2018-19|
|All drugs||201 (189,215)||261 (246,276)||0.77 (0.76,0.78)||<0.001|
|Amphetamines and other stimulants||52 (46,59)||47 (41,54)||1.10 (1.07,1.13)||<0.001|
|Cannabinoids||34 (29,39)||36 (31,42)||0.94 (0.91,0.97)||<0.001|
|Non-opioid analgesics||29 (24,34)||42 (36,48)||0.68 (0.66,0.71)||<0.001|
|Antidepressants||21 (17,25)||34 (29,39)||0.62 (0.59,0.64)||<0.001|
|Antiepileptic, sedative-hypnotic and antiparkinsonism drugs||20 (16,24)||39 (33,45)||0.51 (0.49,0.53)||<0.001|
|Opioids||18 (15,22)||25 (21,30)||0.72 (0.69,0.75)||<0.001|
|Antipsychotics and neuroleptics||14 (11,18)||24 (20,29)||0.61 (0.58,0.64)||<0.001|
|Multiple drug use||11 (8,14)||10 (8,14)||1.03 (0.97,1.10)||0.352|
|Volatile solvents||2.7 ( 1.4, 4.6)||2.4 ( 1.2, 4.1)||1.12 (0.99,1.27)||0.081|
The Drug Trends program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the Drug and Alcohol Program.
We would like to acknowledge the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for data from the National Hospital Morbidity Database.
We thank Dr Louise Tierney and her team from the Tobacco, Alcohol and Other Drugs Unit at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for reviewing the report.
We would like to acknowledge the contribution of those who have been involved in past reporting on drug-related hospitalisations by Drug Trends, specifically: A/Prof Timothy Dobbins, Dr Amanda Roxburgh, and A/Prof Lucinda Burns.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which the work for this report was undertaken. We pay respect to Elders past, present, and emerging.
Chrzanowska, A., Man, N., Sutherland, R., Degenhardt, L. & Peacock, A. (2021). Trends in drug-related hospitalisations in Australia, 1999-2020. Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney.
Hospitalisations data visualisations: https://drugtrends.shinyapps.io/hospital_separations
Hospitalisations methods document: https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/resource-analytics/trends-drug-related-hospitalisations-australia-1999-2020
For other Drug Trends publications on drug-related hospitalisations and drug-induced deaths, go to: https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/project/national-illicit-drug-indicators-project-nidip
For more information on NDARC research, go to: http://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/
For more information about the AIHW and NHMD, go to: https://www.aihw.gov.au/
For more information on ICD coding go to: http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/ https://www.ihpa.gov.au/what-we-do/icd-10-am-achi-acs-current-edition
For more research from the Drug Trends program go to: https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/program/drug-trends