What you need to know about overdoses

What you need to know about overdoses

The Penington Institute has released their Annual Overdose Report for 2021, which highlights many of the problems we at Claims Pharmacy are trying to address – too many Australians are dying from unintentional drug overdoses each year.

In 2019, 2227 Australians lost their lives to a drug overdose, of which 1644 were unintentional. The number of unintentional drug overdoses surpassed the road toll, as it has every year since 2014. John Ryan (Penington Institute CEO) says “This year’s Annual Overdose Report contains many findings that should prompt a shift in our approach, to drug policies based on lived experience and research.”

Drug overdose is one of the leading causes of death for Australians across all ages.

Most unintentional overdoses from drugs involve legal drugs, such as pharmaceutical opioids and benzodiazepines. The 2021 Overdose (OD) report finds that pharmaceutical opioids are the most common drugs associated with unintentional overdose deaths, followed closely by benzodiazepines. Deaths involving opioids have trebled in the last 14 years, while those involving benzodiazepines have increased from 16.8% in 2001 to 35.4% in 2019.

A substantial examination of our Claims Pharmacy data has displayed similar trends within the personal injury insurance sector. Between January – June 2021, opioids are the most commonly prescribed medications, followed closely by antidepressants with consumption of both medication types increasing from 2020, creating a perfect storm for potential secondary issues such as addiction and overdose to follow.

It is now far more common for unintentional overdose to include multiple drug types, rather than just a single drug. The 2021 OD report found that overdoses involving more than one drug are rising, accounting for more than half of all deaths. An analysis of our Claims Pharmacy data shows that in 2020 over a third of all injured people were consuming 5-20+ medications daily.

This growing trend of poly-drug use and its impacts is the result of the complex nature of injuries. In 2021, we have seen an increase of anti-depressants being consumed in physical claims, often to treat secondary psychological conditions that arise from the physical injury, such as chronic pain from a back injury or PTSD from an MVA.

Claims Pharmacy can make a difference through our medication management program identifying and resolving risks before they lead to an overdose. Our focus is on PREVENTION rather than reaction.

Unintentional drug-induced deaths have been increasing at a rate of more than 3% each year and if this continues, we are looking at an additional 271 more deaths by 2024. In contrast the road toll has been decreasing by 1.8% per year on average. The efforts the government has explored in national road toll prevention campaigns, need to be adopted in the same way for the prevention of prescribed medication overdoses.

Here at Claims Pharmacy, we work in collaboration with stakeholders to ensure optimal health for our injured people. Our medication management service helps to monitor, identify, and resolve risks before they occur.

The proof is in the pudding! We have assisted many Injured Australia’s by reducing their medication intake, improve functional capacity and created better opportunities for a safe and durable return to work. We have assisted in reducing drug dependency, improving recovery timeframes, driving behaviour change at all levels and supported the healthcare system. What could be better?

For more information on our Medication Management programs, please contact Claims Pharmacy on 1300 926 220 or email us at ask@claimspharmacy.com.au

The information on this website is not a substitute for medical advice, nor is it to be used for diagnosis and treatment.

The Penington Institute – Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2021