Stawell seminar to tackle rise in accidental overdose deaths

A Penington Institute seminar at Stawell will tackle an alarming increase in accidental overdose deaths in the Grampians region.

There were 55 accidental overdose deaths across the district between 2001-2015, according to Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2017.

The Pharmaceutical Risk and Response Seminar, funded by the state government’s Naloxone Subsidy Initiative, is designed to support frontline workers addressing overdoses in the Stawell region. 

Penington Institute chief executive John Ryan said the recently released overdose report highlighted the increasing rates of accidental overdose deaths due to the use of opioid-based drugs.

Opioids include methadone, heroin and pharmaceutical opioid painkillers such as codeine, oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine.

“Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2017 shows that communities throughout Australia are increasingly at risk of accidental overdose from opioid-based drugs,” he said.

“It is critical that frontline health workers are adequately supported to effectively respond to overdose.

“These seminars will save lives while also raising awareness in terms of who is at risk and what can be done to curb the tragedy of overdose in the region.”

Mr Ryan said participants in the seminars would gain an in-depth understanding of existing and emerging trends around the misuse of opioids. 

Participants will also learn how to use naloxone - the opioid overdose reversal drug. 

“Every year in Australia hundreds of people die from an accidental drug overdose,” Mr Ryan said.

“Many more survive but are deeply affected and are at increased risk of overdosing again. 

“Health professionals who engage with people who use drugs are in the best position to help their clients and to prevent and respond to overdose. 

“The purpose of this training is to increase the capacity of workers in a variety of roles to provide support and information that can help save lives.

“The sessions will also improve the community’s understanding of the implications of problematic prescription drug use.”

The Stawell training session will be on Tuesday, November 21, 1.30pm - 3.30pm at the Stawell Health and Community Centre, 8-22 Patrick Street, Stawell.