Sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs have become the nation's "silent killers," and the number of people dying from prescription drugs has more than doubled in a decade.
That's the warning in a new report that found five people One day is now dying of an overdose of drugs, with middle-aged people being the most likely victims.
The manager of the Penington Institute, John Rya N says benzodiazepines are "silent killers" who have slipped under the radar.
"People often use these drugs for a period of peak stress," he said, as the report was released on Tuesday.
"Commonly used drugs like temazepam helped people sleep and valium in anxiety, and sleep was involved in far too many accidental overdoses."
Mr. Ryan was alarmed by the increasing overdose of heroin and fentanyl, one Synthetic Opioid Painkillers
The report found that the number of deaths caused by synthetic opioids fentanyl, pethidine and tramadol between 2012 and 2016 was 997, nine times more than the 94 deaths a decade earlier
Mr. Ryan said, Fentanyl Overdoses are "a huge cause for alarm" and called on the federal government to review how it was prescribed.
Heroin-related deaths have also more than quadrupled in a decade, rising from 73 in 2006 to 362 in 2016, while the number of drug overdoses rose dramatically.
Of all drug-related deaths, 30- to 59-year-olds accounted for almost 70 per year
40-49 year-olds die most frequently, with prescription opioids and benzodiazepines being the most commonly used drugs.
Mr. Ryan said the findings of the report indicated that Australia's increasing overdose mortality rate expresses this in line with the US, Canada and the UK
He urged the government to increase the availability of drug treatment and conduct a review current drug policy by the Commission of the Productivity Commission.