Prescription medication is being blamed for Australia recording its highest number of drug-induced deaths since the 1990s.
New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows 1,808 Australians died from drugs in 2016.
Some were suicides but the ABS said the overwhelming number were accidental.
The ABS’s director of Health and Vital Statistics, James Eynstone-Hinkins, said the deaths were most commonly associated with benzodiazepines and oxycodone.
“These are both prescription drugs which are used to manage anxiety and pain respectively,” he said.
Death rates from illicit drugs have also increased, with the death rate from drugs such as methamphetamines and ice quadrupling since 1999.
In total, there were 158,504 deaths in Australia in 2016.
The number and rate of deaths from heart disease continues to decline, but it is still Australia’s main killer.
Deaths from dementia continue to increase and in 2016 it was the leading cause of death among Australian women.
Cancers accounted for almost 30 per cent of Australian deaths in 2016.
Suicide is the leading cause of death among people 15-44 years of age, and in 2016 the suicide rate was 11.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
The ABS figures show in 2016, 2,866 people died from suicide.
The infant mortality rate was at a record low of 3.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.
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