BALLARAT is far from immune the drug overdose crisis sweeping the nation, a leading not-for-profit substance use researcher warns.
New figures show 25 people died of a drug-related death in Ballarat between 2012 to 2016 as shown in the Penington Institute Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2018, released on Tuesday.
Penington Institute chief John Ryan said Australia was on track to mirror a United States drug epidemic with 1,045 Australian aged 15-64 dying to drug overdoses in 2016 alone.
The new report also shows the rate of accidental drug related death in rural and regional Australia is consistently on the rise higher than metropolitan Australia.
“Drug overdose deaths are hurting communities outside of our major cities hard and Ballarat is no different,” Mr Ryan said.
“From 2001 to 2016, the drug type claiming the most lives in the area is unsurprisingly opioids such as codeine, heroin, oxycodone and fentanyl.”
Ballarat Community Health harm minimisation expert Pauline Molloy made a call in The Courier earlier this year for greater awareness, rather than blame, to tackle rising prescription medication misuse across the region.
- READ MORE:Expert calls to prevent script misuse
Ms Molloy said prescription medications were potent and this was why it was vital to take medication strictly as prescribed, to not give medication to others, and to talk to your doctor if you felt your pain or use was not well controlled.
An Australian block on over-the-counter codeine, an opioid, took effect on February 1.
The new report shows sleeping and anxiety tablets, known as Benzoes, have become a hidden killer, with the number of deaths involving such medication more than doubling in a decade.
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