Arisk communications kit

Campaign Overview

Australia’s fastest-growing drug problem is addictive medication. Many Australians are hooked on prescribed and over-the-counter medication than ever before and they don’t even know it.

This is a major public-awareness campaign led by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) to:

  • Increase public knowledge and understanding about pharmaceutical misuse, particularly amongst men in their 30s and women in their 40s
  • Highlight the fact that anybody can find themselves dependent on addictive pharmaceuticals.
  • To encourage people to, where possible, think of alternative treatments.

Key Statistics

  • If you’re in your 20s or 30s you’re more likely than any other age group to misuse addictive medications.
  • Between 2010 and 2013 the number of Australians misusing addictive medications rose from 7.4% to 11.4%.
  • Nearly 1,400 people die every year due to prescription and over-the-counter drug overdoses – that’s more than the national road toll.
  • In Victoria, benzodiazepines were associated with 220 overdose deaths and opioid analgesics were associated with 183 overdose deaths in 2015.

Statistics for sharing

Key Messages

  • More Australians are dying from overdosing or misusing their chemist bought medication than all illicit drugs combined.
  • Medications such as painkillers and tranquilisers are responsible for 7 out of 10 drug overdoses.
  • Most overdoses are accidental – and often the result of misuse such as mixing alcohol with medications and/or mixing medications.
  • Pharmaceutical overdoses are overtaking our national road toll.
  • Pharmaceutical misuse is Australia’s fastest growing drug problem. The number of people dying after using the most common form of opioid painkiller – codeine – has doubled in the past decade.

Are you taking a risk?

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