Action is needed

There are now more Victorians dying from drug overdoses than on our roads.

Graph of overdose deaths

While the ice epidemic across Australia continues, another front has re-emerged. The number of heroin associated overdose deaths is the highest in almost 20 years.


In 2012, 111 Victorians died of a heroin overdose, and this has escalated to 190 deaths in 2016, with heroin being a factor in 74% of overdose deaths involving illegal drugs.

The 190 heroin overdose deaths in 2016 are comparable to the 2012-2016 five year Victorian road toll average of 210 deaths. Both are unacceptable numbers than need drastic investment.

The facts are, more must be done reduce the number of deaths from heroin. We must do more to ensure that we do not return to the heroin scourge of the 1990s. These people aren’t just statistics. They are sons, daughters, sisters and brothers, and the families who are left behind are broken.


Overdose deaths due to ice are growing exponentially. It’s taking young, innocent lives, and contributing to family violence and crime. We must invest more in treatment options to turn this around.

Overdose deaths where ice was a contributing drug have risen by 60% from 2015 to 2016.  Use has been associated with drug-induced psychosis, violence and aggression. As drug users shift to more potent forms of methamphetamine, the harms of the drug have increased, the helplines are consistently busy and there is a rise in drug and alcohol treatment episodes, hospital stays, and deaths.

Ice help line : 1800 423 238


Pharmaceutical drugs

Pharmaceutical drugs play a role in approximately 80% of Victorian overdose deaths each year. This has stayed relatively consistent over the last seven years. Common prescription drugs are often the cause of these overdoses, with benzodiazepines such as diazepam the drugs most frequently contributing to overdose.

The Victorian Government is committed to stepping up the fight against ice, heroin and other problematic drug use in Victoria.