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DRUG OVERDOSE: 42 killed by drugs in Hervey Bay region

MORE than 40 people have died from drug overdose which is almost 80% higher than the national average.
MORE than 40 people have died from drug overdose which is almost 80% higher than the national average.

UPDATE: 

BAYSIDE Transformations is calling for a detox facility on the Fraser Coast after it was revealed 42 people died from drug overdose in the region.

Bayside Transformation Program Coordinator Ashley Bottrell said this highlighted the need for expanded rehabilitation services in the area including the need for a detox facility.

"We're the only facility between the Sunshine Coast and Mackay and we're doing it on our own," Mr Bottrell said.

"Most people that come to us have suffered multiple drug overdoses and are lucky to be alive.

"There is a need for a detox centre."

EARLIER: 

MORE than 40 people have died from drug overdose which is almost 80% higher than the national average. 

The Penington Institute's Australia's Annual Overdose Report 2017 has revealed the extent of drug overdoses since 2011.

Detailed analysis of the report shows that locally 42 people died from an overdose in Hervey Bay between 2011 and 2015.

According to John Ryan, CEO of Penington Institute, the numbers show that overdose is a serious local issue that needs a coordinated response.  

Mr Ryan said increased deaths as a result of ice, heroin and prescription medication are an alarming wake-up call signalling more needs to be done to tackle avoidable deaths occurring across Australia.

42 people died from an overdose in Hervey Bay between 2011 and 2015.
42 people died from an overdose in Hervey Bay between 2011 and 2015. Thinkstock

Australia's Annual Overdose Report 2017 shows that more than twice as many Australians are now dying due to overdose as compared to those dying from car accidents. 

A significant increase in deaths related to pharmaceutical opioids, street heroin, and highly potent fentanyl is also highlighted in the report.

Australians are now far more likely to overdose on opioids including codeine and oxycodone. 

Since the early 2000's the number of Australians aged 30 - 59 who overdosed has more than doubled. Mr Ryan said there needed to be shift in how the community responds to overdose and drug use more broadly.

"We need better community education for people who are experimenting with drug use before they become addicted," he said.

Mr Ryan said prohibitive costs to treatment, insecure housing, scant availability of support services and a punitive approach serve only to push people who use drugs further into a cycle of crime and poverty.

"We need to do more to give people a chance to recover," he said.

"Reducing barriers around medical treatment will provide many people who use drugs with a way out of a cycle of criminal activity and incarceration.

This is not only a compassionate response it is one that will actively work towards reducing crime in our community."
Mr Ryan says the stigma around drug use and overdose needs to be addressed in order to effectively tackle the problem.

"Stigma and shame in relation to drug use and addiction is one of the great barriers for people who are experiencing problems from seeking help," he said.

Topics:  drug overdose drugs hervey bay



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