Module 5: young people, society and AOD: facilitator's guide

4.5 Drug-related deaths and harm among young people

Page last updated: 2004

Deaths
Harm consequences

Deaths

Nearly one in five deaths in Australia is drug-related. In 1998, it was estimated that 17,671 Australians died as a result of harmful drug use and over 18,500 Australians would be hospitalised for conditions resulting from harmful drug use.

Figure 6 outlines drug-related deaths among 15-34-year-olds with a comparison of deaths among those over 35.

Tobacco and opiates figure significantly in the death rates (as the primary cause of death) for adults, whilst alcohol features much more strongly in the death rates for young people.

Figure 6: Drug-related deaths 1998 (not including suicide/accidental poisoning)

Text equivalent below for Figure 6: Drug-related deaths (not including suicide/accidental poisoning) 1998

* 1992 data

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Text version of Figure 6

Figures in this description are approximate as they have been read from the graph.
15 - 34 yearsOver 35 years*
Alcohol
63
24
Tobacco
6
76
Opiates
30
1
Cannabis
0
0
Other illicit drugs
1
<1

Harm consequences

Alcohol and other drug use results in health problems in a very large number of young people in Australia (Alcohol in Australia 2001; National Action Plan on Illicit Drugs, 2001).

The following are some of the AOD-related health consequences for young people:
  • road traffic injuries
  • assault
  • depression and self-harm
  • cognitive impairment (brain damage)
  • overdose (especially with heroin use)
  • blood-borne disease such as Hepatitis C and HIV.

Note: Young males have much higher rates of alcohol-related health problems compared to females.