Drug deaths at 20-year high, dementia leading killer of women

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the country’s leading causes of death.

Drug deaths at 20-year high, dementia leading killer of women

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the country’s leading causes of death and while the top cause remains the same, there’s another that’s creeping up the charts.

While more people die from heart disease than any other cause, drug-induced deaths are at their highest rate since the late 1990s.

"There were 1808 drug induced deaths in 2016, with those deaths most commonly associated with benzodiazepines and oxycodone," said James Eynstone-Hinkins, Director of Health and Vital Statistics at the ABS.

"These are both prescription drugs used to manage anxiety and pain respectively."

Death rates from illicit drugs such as psychostimulants, including methamphetamines and 'ice', have quadrupled since 1999, making them the third most common fatal substance. Heroin is the fourth most common.

The rate of death caused by heart disease is declining, as are stroke deaths. However, deaths caused by conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s are on the rise.

"In 2016, dementia became the leading cause of death among Australian women," said Mr Eynstone-Hinkins.

"Improvements in treatments and prevention of heart disease have contributed to increased life expectancy, but this has also led to increased deaths from conditions such as dementia, which affect predominantly very elderly Australians."

Were you aware that drug-induced fatalities were so prevalent in our society? Why do you think that may be?

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    COMMENTS

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    Hasbeen
    29th Sep 2017
    11:50am
    In other words, the main cause of death in the old, is, wait for it, OLD AGE.

    For gods sake, we know we all have to die. If the medicos can make our hearts last a little longer, something else is going to catch up with us.
    Tib
    29th Sep 2017
    1:43pm
    Men don't have much trouble with dementia you have to get really old for that.
    Retired Knowall
    2nd Oct 2017
    4:38pm
    When were you first diagnosed with Dementia Tib?
    Tib
    3rd Oct 2017
    5:45pm
    About a month after you retired know all.
    jackie
    29th Sep 2017
    11:52am
    Australia has always had a culture of heavy drinking and drug abuse since white settlement. Nothing has changed just the population has grown.
    MICK
    29th Sep 2017
    1:13pm
    That's where 'percentages' are a better way to describe events as this is a non population size comparison.
    youngunpassingthru
    29th Sep 2017
    6:23pm
    Australia... 'since white settlement'. funny way to put it.
    terrib
    29th Sep 2017
    12:01pm
    My take on it is because euthanasia is not permitted. When old & you are in pain or have an incurable illness you get to the point you do not wish to carry on & die in pain. So many oldies would rather suicide before we get to the point of no return. That would certainly change if the law does.
    Jennie
    29th Sep 2017
    12:35pm
    Euthanasia is permitted, but it's called do-it-yourself. The problem is if anyone helps you (family, friend) then that is illegal. That is the sad part: if you are too physically or mentally incapacitated to suicide, there is no hope of relief from suffering from a life lived for too long. Suicide is of course legal.
    KSS
    29th Sep 2017
    1:43pm
    Actually jenny suicide is against the law but who are you going to covict?
    KSS
    29th Sep 2017
    1:43pm
    Actually jenny suicide is against the law but who are you going to covict?
    Rosret
    29th Sep 2017
    6:38pm
    They were my thoughts too terrib. It seems the medical profession have found a way to keep us alive at all cost and we have to make the decision to hide that stash of drugs for our end of days.
    johnp
    29th Sep 2017
    1:01pm
    have a question.
    Re" "dementia, which affect predominantly very elderly Australians"
    Do the elderly with dementia also usually know they have the condition ?
    By that I mean are they conscious of that and aware generally or is it more a case of being unaware and not being stressed by their condition ?
    KSS
    29th Sep 2017
    1:40pm
    A bit of both Johnp. At the beginning lpeople do.know that they aren't remembering things for example but as the disease goes on, they don't know anything any more. They often don't know who people are or even where they are fir more that a minute or so. However, they are very clear about long ago people and events. There is a place in Holland I think where the entire facility is set in the 20s and 30s. The radio plays music from that era, they show films, there are shops and a post office manned by aged care staff but dealing in the old currency. The residents are free to come and go as they please because it is a closed community so safe to wonder about. By all accounts it costs no more than regular aged care and the residents are very happy.
    CindyLou
    29th Sep 2017
    6:36pm
    That village sounds great but in late stage dementia individuals need higher care, prompting to toilet, dress and further down the track they are basically bed bound etc. I worked in dementia units for about six years so have first hand experience.
    MICK
    29th Sep 2017
    1:12pm
    Never knew that. So how many women are we talking about leon?
    Rosret
    29th Sep 2017
    6:49pm
    Its an interesting statistic. Everything is fading away, eye sight hearing, mobility etc. and so too the brain and heart as the elderly reach their mid nineties.Dementia maybe present but not necessarily the cause.
    TREBOR
    29th Sep 2017
    1:30pm
    Juicy as it is - I will not comment on women and dementia..... (hides and dons kevlar)...

    Pain killers are a worry - the ex I am carer for has been on stuff for months now, and every time we visit the doc I say we might need to get her into rehab for addiction to prescription drugs.

    What do you do when in pain?
    TREBOR
    29th Sep 2017
    1:31pm
    I know! Drink and get cancer!!
    Tib
    29th Sep 2017
    1:36pm
    Dementia is the leading cause of death for women. No one knows what is the leading cause of death for men or no one checked?
    Tib
    29th Sep 2017
    1:40pm
    I guess I will have to get my cheque book out to support dementia research after all there are women suffering.
    CindyLou
    29th Sep 2017
    6:32pm
    People don't actually die from dementia - they get other health issues that leads to death.
    terrib
    29th Sep 2017
    1:56pm
    KSS suicide is legal it is assisting someone to suicide that is illegal. If anyone wants to know the best method of self deliverance join an Exit international group in your area. Then you cannot make any mistakes.
    Tib
    29th Sep 2017
    2:37pm
    Exit international sounds like a good group. On a less serious side if I commit suicide I hope they jail me for ten years.;)
    Chris G
    29th Sep 2017
    4:01pm
    KSS, after very recently watching the film "Fade to Black", I learned that suicide is NOT illegal in Australia.
    Tib
    29th Sep 2017
    5:32pm
    And so it shouldn't be. After all if someone attempts suicide and fails a jail sentence wouldn't help.
    DogLover
    29th Sep 2017
    4:56pm
    Suicide is definitely not illegal. How could a person be charged for suiciding when they are already dead? Life insurance is definitely paid if death was by suicide so long as the premiums have been paid for at least 2 years. I know all this because my son suicided 2 years ago, police attended but no charges and superannuation and life insurance were paid to beneficiaries.
    Tib
    29th Sep 2017
    5:23pm
    Sorry to hear about your son. The number of male suicides seems to just get worse. 2015 it was around 2400 male deaths for the year. Unfortunately not enough is being done.
    Rosret
    30th Sep 2017
    7:45am
    My thoughts are with you DogLover.
    There used to be a lot of horrible laws and religious beliefs associated with suicide. For those who attempted suicide and survived their outcome became even bleaker.
    Suicide touches everyone so very deeply as you will well know.
    One sector of the community I hadn't given too much thought to was the police until a young officer went on stress leave. He said, "This is the 41st suicide I have attended and I just can't go to another."
    It was his last day on the police force.
    There is quite a difference between the elderly self euthanizing and the young being swallowed by the black dog.
    youngunpassingthru
    29th Sep 2017
    6:26pm
    Re the deaths from prescription drugs as mentioned above, is there any indication of what proportions were due to abuse of the drugs, and what proportion attributed to them being taken in prescribed quantities to treat a genuine condition?
    Tib
    29th Sep 2017
    6:31pm
    I suspect many overdoses were done on purpose. Suicide is continuously on the increase. Drug overdose probably looks better than hanging.
    musicveg
    29th Sep 2017
    7:04pm
    Yes I knew this, my brother died at 58 from too many prescription pills, I was appalled at how doctors kept giving him so much until his heart stopped. There was no signs of any disease in his body, all the pain he was trying to stop was from the pain killers themselves, that is why those who take them end up addicted. Pharmaceutical companies are loving the money. Along with companies like Monsanto they are killing people with no care in the world. Doctors get bonuses and are expected to push pharmaceuticals at every consultation. It is a sick and evil industry.
    Polly
    29th Sep 2017
    9:08pm
    So sorry to hear about your brother musicveg. It astounds me that so many people will listen to their doctor with blind faith that a pharmaceutical drug is the answer without doing any research into side effects, toxicity or addictiveness, but will query a proven natural alternative to the nth degree and question anyone recommending it because they may be making money from the sale.
    How much money do pharmaceutical companies make from drug sales?!
    Why not support a small business owner promoting a natural alternative, especially when the product in question is proven to reduce one of the main causes of over 200 diseases including Alzheimer's, Arthritis, Cancer, Parkinson's, MS etc, etc? Yet we will often be slammed for recommending it! All despite having thousands of testimonials and 23 peer-reviewed studies in pubmed.gov.
    5 ancient herbs combined in a patented synergy to positively affect our genetic expressions .... Nutrigenomics. Less pain, more energy and improved sleep as well!
    CindyLou
    30th Sep 2017
    1:38am
    Polly, I'm so fed up with people pushing their products..."natural product". Totally inappropriate - wild, far fetched claims. Disgraceful.
    Rosret
    30th Sep 2017
    11:31am
    Yes CindyLou it looks like a deliberate "set up".
    I think you will find the success rate for scientifically tested medicines probably out weighs the untested 'natural' potions by 99.9 to 1.
    So when a cure is not yet available for say Arthritis, Alzheimers, MS the snake oil deliverers can offer promises of absolutely anything. Don't forget they only work if you take them continuously for at least 2 months. If that doesn't work there is always this other potion.
    musicveg
    30th Sep 2017
    2:15pm
    Rosret, most drugs do not get the testing you think they do, and often the results are skewed so they can still go ahead and sell them with or without the side effects. After all humans are not mice. Natural products are safe and have been around a lot longer than 'scientifically tested medicines'.
    CindyLou
    30th Sep 2017
    11:21pm
    Big sweeping statements, especially Polly's comment, words to the effect that..."the product (that she sells) is PROVEN (evidence ???) to reduce the causes of over 200 diseases...cancer, Parkinson's, MS".

    What total bs. I hope nobody is suckered ino buying her crap. I'll repeat again, disgraceful.
    Captain
    2nd Oct 2017
    10:07am
    Polly, what is the one main cause of those 200 diseases that this natural remedy helps? I hope you are not related to Belle.
    Charlie
    30th Sep 2017
    5:52am
    Its hard to escape pain in old age, so one of the best remedies is medication. The perfect remedy for pain is a fatal dose.
    Alcohol, cigarettes and Bex powders were popular with the previous generation.
    Rosret
    30th Sep 2017
    7:47am
    You forgot the poppies. I am sure the atmosphere was so much happier when poppy seeds floated through the air!
    Franky
    30th Sep 2017
    12:14pm
    It doesn't surprise me, my mother went into an old age home some years ago. We were told that according to statistics, 30% die within the first 12 months. Once in there she was quite heavily drugged. It was her nature to complain of her ills and pains, so they just gave her drugs. She ended up like a zombie, but pain free. 18 months later she died.
    musicveg
    30th Sep 2017
    2:17pm
    Sadly they do drug them up too much. Hardly any control and the carers are not even properly trained.
    CindyLou
    30th Sep 2017
    11:33pm
    Aged care workers are A.I.N.s., E.N.s and R.N.s

    FYI.
    Assistant in nursing - requires completed of studies, level III & IV
    Enrolled nurse - endorsed enrolled nurses
    Registered Nurse - three years tertiary education

    So I certainly dispute the claim that workers are "not even properly trained", as evidenced by the above.

    In regard to the comment "they do drug them up", well any medication given is prescribed by a Doctor not given ad hoc. Really, it is amazing that people make such sweeping statements.
    Captain
    2nd Oct 2017
    10:03am
    Franky,

    Questions - how old was your Mother when she went into Care and what were her medical conditions? Also in Aged Care Facilities they have Doctors who prescribe what is required and the family are consulted about those requirements, and it is also up to the family to ask why Mother/Father are on meds if you have not been consulted.

    Musicveg, having worked in Aged Care and now having a Mother-in-Law in Care (for 3 years), I agree with Cindy Lou. There are some places that may not have the best care standards, but it is up to the family to find the best place available they can afford. Our older folk deserve the best.
    ex PS
    4th Oct 2017
    9:21am
    I must concur with CindyLou, even support staff such as Divisional Therapists require a Cert IV to perform that task, there are volunteers, but they are supervised and limited as to what tasks they are allowed to perform.
    ex PS
    4th Oct 2017
    9:13am
    You may be breathing, you may have a heartbeat, but if you can't walk, talk or communicate with those around you, can you really claim to be living, or are you just existing.

    We all have to die, why can't we make the decision as to when and how that happens?