A drug overdose crisis in Australia is claiming more lives in regional areas then ever before, with the Goldfields and Esperance being no exceptions, a new nationwide report has found.
According to Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2018, released by Penington Institute, 20 people died of drug-related deaths in the Goldfields between 2012 and 2016, up from 13 between 2002 and 2006. In Esperance the deaths increased by 10, from one to 11 across the two periods.
Overall, the report found accidental drug-related deaths in rural Australia had grown significantly compared to metropolitan areas.
Penington Institute is urging the Federal Government to address the growing issue of drug overdoses, including to increase drug treatment across Australia by 400 per cent.
The other recommendations were to review the prescribing of the pain killer fentanyl, to focus on drug use as a health not law enforcement issue, to set up a Productivity Commission review of the current drug policy and to encourage doctors to write more naloxone scripts — an opioid overdose-reversing drug.
An increase in these deaths should act as a strong wake up call.