Where does Australia rank in world drug overdose death rates?

Out of 13 countries, Australia features near the top - and death rates are rising

Australia has achieved the dubious distinction of being in the top three countries for the largest annual increases in drug overdose deaths, according to US research.

Using the World Health Organisation Mortality Database, researchers from the National Cancer Institute and National Institute on Drug Abuse compared premature mortality rate trends in 13 OECD countries, including the US and Australia, between 2001 and 2015.

The study found Australia ranked just behind Estonia and then the US when it came to the average annual increase in drug overdose death rates for people aged 20-64 years, for both men and women.

Increases in Australia were largely driven by prescription opioids, such as oxycodone and codeine, the researchers wrote in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The researchers found:

  1. The US: the average annual increase in mortality was 4