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International Overdose Awareness Day 31/08/2022

Mediclinic staff will be wearing Purple on Wednesday the 31st of August 2022 to raise awareness and remember those who have died from overdose.

If you feel like getting teary, have a read of the tributes that family members make to their loved ones lost to overdose.

Direct from,

Depressants and Opioids

A depressant is a drug that slows the vital activities of the body including breathing and the heart rate. Depressants may also be known as sedatives. Opioids (such as heroin and pharmaceutical opioids like Endone), benzodiazepines (such as Xanax or Valium), barbiturates and alcohol all slow the central nervous system to produce a calming effect. These substances are prescribed to relieve pain, help you sleep, or in the case of alcohol, used recreationally. However, when taken in excessive amounts or in combination, they can depress normal functions such as breathing and heart rate until breathing and the heart eventually stop, resulting in death.


Generally people do not automatically think of alcohol when they think of overdose, but alcohol is a depressant and it is possible to overdose on it. Acute alcohol poisoning, which is usually a result of binge drinking, is an example.

If you drink a large amount of alcohol quickly the level of alcohol in your bloodstream (blood alcohol concentration, or BAC) can become dangerously high. This can stop your body from working properly. In extreme cases, alcohol poisoning could stop you breathing, stop your heart or cause you to choke on your own vomit.

Statistics in Oceania

Oceania, primarily comprised of Australia and New Zealand, has a drug mortality rate 2.5 times the global average (at around 100 per million population). However, due to the region’s comparatively small population, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says raw numbers remain low (2,000–2,500 drug-related deaths in 2015).

Australia recorded 2,070 drug-induced deaths in 2018 (of which 1,556 were unintentional) – the fifth year running of 2,000+ mortalities according to data analysed by Penington Institute.

Sources: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ‘World Drug Report 2019’; Penington Institute ‘Australia’s Annual Overdose Report


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