Increasing socio-economic inequalities in drug-induced deaths in Australia: 1981-2002

Najman, Jake M., Toloo, Ghasem and Williams, Gail M. (2008) Increasing socio-economic inequalities in drug-induced deaths in Australia: 1981-2002. Drug and Alcohol Review, 27 6: 613-618. doi:10.1080/09595230801956108

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Author Najman, Jake M.
Toloo, Ghasem
Williams, Gail M.
Title Increasing socio-economic inequalities in drug-induced deaths in Australia: 1981-2002
Journal name Drug and Alcohol Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0959-5236
Publication date 2008-11-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/09595230801956108
Open Access Status
Volume 27
Issue 6
Start page 613
End page 618
Total pages 6
Editor John Saunders
Place of publication Abingdon, England
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Language eng
Subject 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
920413 Social Structure and Health
C1
Abstract Introduction and Aims. Since the 1990s illicit drug use death rates in Australia have increased markedly. There is a notable gap in knowledge about changing socio-economic inequalities in drug use death rates. Some limited Australian and overseas data point to higher rates of drug death in the lowest socio-economic groups, but the paucity of available studies and their sometimes conflicting findings need to be addressed. Design and Methods. This paper uses data obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to examine changes in age-standardised drug-induced mortality rates for Australian males over the period 1981-2002. Socio-economic status was categorised as manual or non-manual work status. Results. With the rapid increase in drug-induced mortality rates in the 1990s, there was a parallel increase in socio-economic inequalities in drug-induced deaths. The decline in drug death rates from 2000 onwards was associated with a decline in socio-economic inequalities. By 2002, manual workers had drug death rates well over twice the rate of non-manual workers. Discussion. Three factors are identified which contribute to these socio-economic inequalities in mortality. First, there has been an age shift in deaths evident only for manual workers. Secondly, there has been an increase in availability until 1999 and a relative decline in the cost of the drug, which most often leads to drug death (heroin). Thirdly, there has been a shift to amphetamine use which may lead to significant levels of morbidity, but few deaths.
Formatted abstract
Introduction and Aims. Since the 1990s illicit drug use death rates in Australia have increased markedly. There is a notable gap in knowledge about changing socio-economic inequalities in drug use death rates. Some limited Australian and overseas data point to higher rates of drug death in the lowest socio-economic groups, but the paucity of available studies and their sometimes conflicting findings need to be addressed.
Design and Methods. This paper uses data obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to examine changes in age-standardised drug-induced mortality rates for Australian males over the period 1981 - 2002. Socio-economic status was categorised as manual or non-manual work status.
Results. With the rapid increase in drug-induced mortality rates in the 1990s, there was a parallel increase in socio-economic inequalities in drug-induced deaths. The decline in drug death rates from 2000 onwards was associated with a decline in socio-economic inequalities. By 2002, manual workers had drug death rates well over twice the rate of non-manual workers.
Discussion. Three factors are identified which contribute to these socio-economic inequalities in mortality. First, there has been an age shift in deaths evident only for manual workers. Secondly, there has been an increase in availability until 1999 and a relative decline in the cost of the drug, which most often leads to drug death (heroin). Thirdly, there has been a shift to amphetamine use which may lead to significant levels of morbidity, but few deaths.
Keyword Australia
drug-induced death
socio-economic status
trend
1981-2002
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Fri, 20 Mar 2009, 01:53:28 EST by Margaret Gately on behalf of School of Social Science