Drug and alcohol report uncovers burden in regional Australia

ABC Central West, 15/03/2019

A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has revealed alarming statistics about drug and alcohol use in regional Australia, and the difficulties faced by those seeking treatment.

The report found a 41 per cent increase in drug-induced deaths in regional and remote areas in the decade to 2017, compared to a 16 per cent spike in major cities.

Researchers said this could be attributed to opioid overdoses.

The report found there was a higher rate of people seeking drug and alcohol treatment in regional and remote communities in 2016–17, but they were likely to travel one hour or more to receive treatment.

It also said people in country areas were more likely to smoke, drink heavily, use drugs, and avoid exercise.

Australia’s health 2018 (Report)

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare,  Release Date: 

 

Australia’s Health 2018 is the AIHW’s 16th biennial report on the health of Australians. It examines a wide range of contemporary topics in a series of analytical feature articles and short statistical snapshots.

The report also summarises the performance of the health system against an agreed set of indicators.

Australia’s health 2018: in brief is a companion report to Australia’s health 2018.

Table of contents:

Whole report:

PDF Report (17.3Mb)

Australia’s health 2018 in brief:

Companion ‘in brief’ booklet presents highlights in a compact easy-to-use format.

 

Andrews Government backflips on safe injecting room trial because current drug policy ‘not working’

ABC News, 31/10/2017

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said he changed his mind about supporting a safe injecting room trial in inner Melbourne because a jump in the number of overdoses showed the current approach was failing.

The Government has confirmed it will hold a two-year trial a centre at heroin hotspot North Richmond under a bold plan that includes tougher penalties for drug traffickers.

The medically supervised service will be run at North Richmond Community Health, which is already handing out a million syringes every month.

Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey: National Data Report 2012 – 2016

The Kirby Institute, UNSW, May 2017

The Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey (ANSPS) provides serial point prevalence estimates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies and sexual and injecting risk behaviour among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Australia.
Conducted annually over a one-two week period in October, all clients attending participating needle and syringe program (NSP) services are invited to complete a brief, anonymous questionnaire and to provide a capillary blood sample for HIV and HCV antibody testing.
This report presents national and state/territory data for the period 2012 to 2016.

Key findings:

  • In 2016, 50 Australian Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) participated in the ANSPS and 2,210 NSP attendees completed the survey. The response rate was 41%.
  • Over the period 2012 to 2016, the median age of survey respondents increased from 38 years to 42 years, with a concurrent decrease in the proportion of young injectors (aged <25 years) from 7% in 2012 to 4% in 2016.
  • HIV antibody prevalence remained low and stable nationally, ranging from 1.2% to 2.1% over the period 2012 to 2016
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody prevalence was stable over the period 2012 to 2016, ranging from 51% to 57%.
  • Nationally, the proportion of respondents who reported recent (last 12 months) initiation of HCV treatment was low and stable at 1-3% between 2011-2015, but increased significantly to 22% in 2016, with substantial increases observed in all jurisdictions.

Download Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey: National Data Report 2012 – 2016 (PDF) 

Harm reduction should address the specific needs of couples who inject drugs

nam/aidsmap, 21 March 2017

The sharing of drug injecting equipment most often occurs between sexual partners, but the ways in which couples manage risks and care for each other have been largely ignored by harm reduction services, say Australian researchers.

Read more here 

 

 

Naloxone: Victoria’s rising death rate prompts calls to relax restrictions on overdose ‘antidote’

ABC news, Posted 13.12.16 

The high rate of overdose deaths in Victoria has prompted calls for a change in regulations around overdose ‘antidote’ Naloxone.

Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of opioids like heroin and oxycodone but under Australian law it can only be dispensed over the counter by a doctor or pharmacist.

The stigma can mean some users avoid asking for the drug, despite the enormous rate of overdose deaths in Victoria every year, particularly in rural or regional areas.

Read more here