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COVID-19 is postulated to impact drug- and poison-related deaths. America has reported an increased in drug-related deaths, whereas Australia has reported a decline. Regional studies are scant and may not mirror national data. Characterising drug and poison-related deaths during COVID-19 at a regional level would inform local interventions and policies on the current and future pandemics. A 4-year retrospective study from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2019 (pre-COVID-19 pandemic) and from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021 (COVID-19 pandemic) of all drug and poison-related deaths admitted to the Gold Coast University Hospital under Coronial investigation. Drug and poison-related deaths increased in both the proportion and absolute numbers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was no statistical difference in age, sex, location of death, manner of death and classification of drugs and poison implicated. Although there is an increase in drug and poison-related deaths, the overall demographic and pattern have not changed. Further studies to account for the variation may enable implementation of targeted public health interventions to address the burden of related deaths in regional settings in the context of future pandemics. © 2022. Crown.


Isabella Thompson, Alex Olumbe, Rexson Tse, Melissa Thompson. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug and poison-related deaths in Gold Coast, Australia. Forensic science, medicine, and pathology. 2023 Jun;19(2):154-159

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PMID: 36400985

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