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Quantifying the Social Costs of Pharmaceutical Opioid Misuse & Illicit Opioid Use to Australia in 2015/16

28 February 2020

In recent decades the range and patterns of opioids used for extra-medical purposes have changed. The use of pharmaceutical opioids exceeds the use of heroin. In 2017, 63 percent of opioid deaths were attributed exclusively to pharmaceutical opioids, 28 percent to illicit opioids and 8 percent to both illicit and pharmaceutical opioids (aged 15-64 years) (Chrzanowska et al., 2019). The extra-medical use of opioids is also likely to result in other adverse outcomes including those that: require the use of health services; reduce work productivity; or, result in contact with the criminal justice system.


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