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We're Taking Too Many Over The Counter Pills

Killing More Aussies Than Illicits

We're Taking Too Many Over The Counter Pills

(Image: AAP)

A growing number of Aussies are dying from accidental drug overdoses... and illicit drugs are not the problem!

New research from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation says an alarming number of us have become dependent on addictive over the counter medications, but have no idea when we become hooked and put our lives at risk.

ADF spokesperson Ilka Burnham-King says “Strong painkillers – like codeine, Oxycontin and Endone – help a lot of Australians manage intense pain after surgery or dental work. But they are also opioids, just like heroin, and they can be fatal. The scary thing is, almost half of all prescriptions handed out in Australia are not for treating these conditions. People are using opioids for everything from the common headache to dealing with a bad day at work".

Researchers have found more Aussies are dying from accidental overdoses of over the counter drugs than from all illicit drugs combined. Authorities say more than 70% of prescription drug related deaths are accidental.

Those of us at the greatest risk are aged between 40 to 49, with deaths from accidental overdoses doubling in the past decade.