Accidental drug-induced deaths due to opioids in Australia 2012

This bulletin provides interpretation of final data on accidental opioid induced deaths in Australia in 2012, and estimated data for 2013 and 2014.

The majority of opioid overdose deaths in Australia are accidental. To provide context, we also present data on the total number of opioid deaths (including deaths that were not accidental). The focus of this bulletin, however, remains on deaths that are due to accidental opioid overdose.

The data for 2013 and 2014 are not final and are likely to change. We have estimated figures for 2013 and 2014 based on changes that occurred in the 2011 and 2012 revisions. We have not interpreted these figures in any detail. This will be the subject of later bulletins.

Opioid overdose deaths include deaths due to heroin and pharmaceutical opioids such as morphine and oxycodone.

In this bulletin deaths refer to accidental deaths in which opioids were determined to be the underlying cause of death – that is, that they were the primary factor responsible for the person’s death. They are coded according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Problems, 10th revision (ICD-10).