Health round-up: Drug taking and mental illness, NSW healthcare and obesity

Richard Laycock 28 September 2017 NEWS

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A weekly round-up of Australia's latest healthcare news.

42% of recent meth users diagnosed with or treated for a mental illness

The rates of mental illness are rising for those who take meth and ecstasy, according to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Drug Strategy Household Survey: detailed findings 2016 report.

The report found that 42% of those who had recently used meth amphetamines had been diagnosed with or were being treated for a mental illness, up from 29% in 2013.

Drug users across the board saw the percentage of those diagnosed with or treated for mental illness rise. Recent cannabis users rose from 21% to 28%, ecstasy users up from 18% to 26% and cocaine users up from 17% to 25%.

"Drug use is a complex issue, and it’s difficult to determine to what degree drug use causes mental health problems, and to what degree mental health problems give rise to drug use," AIHW spokesperson Matthew James said in a statement.

The study also found that 10% of drinkers admitted to driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in 2016.

The AIHW study comes just a day after the release of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) causes of death study, which found that drug-induced deaths were at a 20-year high.

NSW healthcare outperforms rest of the country... and most of the world

Good news NSW residents, a recent report from Bureau of Health Information (BHI) has found that NSW healthcare consistently matches or outperforms similar healthcare systems around the world.

The annual Healthcare in Focus 2016 compares the NSW health system with the rest of Australia and 11 other countries, grading their healthcare systems based on a range of metrics.

The report said that NSW matched or outperformed other systems in 80% of the measures.

“New South Wales performs consistently well when aspects of our healthcare system are measured against those in comparator countries. The report finds that no country had lower spending and better health than NSW,” BHI Acting Chief Executive Dr Kim Sutherland said in a release.

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Source: Bureau of Health Information (BHI) Healthcare in Focus 2016

Factors driving obesity

Excess energy is the main factor driving the obesity epidemic, according to a new report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The report reviewed energy intake, dietary composition of foods and eating patterns, and how lifestyle affect obesity.

One of the editors of the report and a Senior Visiting Scientist in the Section of Nutrition and Metabolism at IARC Dr Isabelle Romieu said that while there are other factors that contribute to obesity, excess energy intake is the main offender.

"Although genetic factors play a role, these cannot explain the upward trends in obesity rates, and in turn the report shows that increased physical activity alone cannot solve the problem,” Dr Romieu said.


What else is happening?

The cause of death report mentioned earlier also found that deaths from dementia and diabetes are on the rise.

However, the number of people dying from heart disease is falling.

Each week our round-up offers a summary of the latest developments impacting Australian healthcare and most importantly, you, the consumer. Check in every Thursday to find out what's happening in health.

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