Locally and internationally, the rising use of opioids is a cause of concern. All opioids—including codeine—can be addictive and their use can result in dependence, accidental overdose, hospitalisation or death.
This report brings together information from a range of data sources to tell the national story of opioid use and its harmful effects. It is the first time that the AIHW has produced such a comprehensive report that presents current national data and trends on opioid use and harms in Australia. The report also presents findings from a collaboration between the AIHW and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). This includes comparisons between ED presentations and hospitalisations in Australia and Canada, where possible, and discussion of the benefits and challenges of international collaboration.
In Australia in 2016–17, 3.1 million people had 1 or more prescriptions dispensed for opioids (most commonly for oxycodone); about 40,000 people used Heroin; and about 715,000 people used pain-killers/analgesics and pharmaceutical opioids for illicit or non-medical purposes.