23 April 2018

Impact of alcohol and illicit drug use on the burden of disease and injury in Australia: Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011

This report from the AIHW quantifies the health impact that alcohol and illicit drug use place on Australia, including as risk factors for other diseases and injuries. Together, alcohol and illicit drug use were responsible for 4.5% of all deaths (6,660 deaths) in 2011 and 6.7% of the total burden of all disease and injuries in Australia in 2011 (9.1% for males and 3.8% for females). The burden of disease from alcohol and illicit drug use was less than the 9% attributed to tobacco use in the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011 (AIHW 2016c). One-third of road traffic injuries were due to alcohol use. Opioids accounted for the largest proportion (41%) of the illicit drug use burden in 2011, followed by amphetamines (18%), cocaine (8%) and cannabis (7%). The report highlights that health inequalities exist, with lower socioeconomic groups and those living in more remote areas generally experiencing higher rates of disease burden due to alcohol and illicit drug use. For example, the lowest socioeconomic group (1.9 times and 2.4 times as high for alcohol use and illicit drug use, respectively), when compared with the highest socioeconomic group. Also males experienced around three-quarters of the total burden from alcohol use and illicit drug use.