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Accidental drug-induced deaths due to opioids in Australia, 2013

  • This bulletin provides interpretation of final data on accidental opioid induced deaths in Australia in 2013, and estimated data for 2014 and 2015.
  • The majority of opioid overdose deaths in Australia are accidental (defined as being a death where there is no information to suggest the decedent intentionally took their own life). Accordingly, the focus of this bulletin is on deaths that are due to accidental overdose.
  • 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).
  • To provide context, we also present data on the total number of opioid deaths (including deaths that were not accidental).
  • The data for 2014 and 2015 are not final. We have estimated figures for 2014 and 2015 based on changes that occurred in the 2012 and 2013 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.