New data shows how many Australians die from drug overdoses every day

Six Australians die from drug overdoses every day, according to an annual report from the Penington Institute.
how many australians die from drug overdoses

Six Australians die from drug overdoses every day, according to a new data from the Penington Institute, a non-profit drug policy organisation.

The report used data up to 2021.

Here are the key takeouts.

The latest data

The Penington Institute found 2,231 reported drug-induced deaths in Australia in 2021. 75% of these were accidental; chiefly men, making up 70% of accidental overdose deaths.

Since 2001, there have been over 37,000 fatal overdoses.

It found that overdosing was the third most common cause of death for Australians aged 20-29.


The most common drug used in fatal, accidental overdoses involving multiple drugs in the five years to 2021 was opioids, found in 81% of these deaths.

Opioids are a group of pain medications that can become addictive if used on a long-term basis. People access them through a prescription or illegally.

Heroin and pharmaceutical opioids were commonly detected in accidental male opioid-related overdoses, while pharmaceutical opioids were most common among female deaths.

Disadvantaged groups

Data showed an overrepresentation of First Nations people in accidental drug deaths.

There were also slightly higher overdose deaths in rural and regional areas compared to the cities.

One-third of accidental overdoses came from lower socioeconomic areas in Australia.

National alcohol and other drug hotline:

1800 250 215

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