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.

Melbourne’s first safe injecting room, clean, sterile and ‘will save lives’

ABC News, 29.6.18

Up to 300 people a day are expected to use Victoria’s first medically supervised drug injecting room when it opens in the coming days.

The Victorian Government committed to a two-year trial at the North Richmond Community Health Centre, after three separate coroners called for a supervised space.

Mental Health Minister Martin Foley said it would save lives.

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.

Naloxone is a heath intervention that can’t be effectively provided without the knowledge and social connections of PWID

nam/aidsmap, may 5th 2017

Programmes to provide naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of opiate overdose, are successful because they harness the social contexts of drug use and train drug users to be ‘indigenous public health workers’ capable of intervening in an overdose, according to a qualitative study published in the May issue of Social Science & Medicine.

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 

Heroin deaths spike as investigations begin into ‘strong batch’ in SA

ABC News, 23rd August 2016

Toxicologists have begun investigating a spike in heroin-related deaths as emergency and health services are put on high alert in South Australia.

Read more here