Education “essential to prevent prescription medication harms” says Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce

File photo
File photo

Australia had the highest number of drug-induced deaths since the late 1990s in 2016. 

This comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics most recent statistics. 

An Australian Bureau of Statistics spokesperson said "there were 1808 drug induced deaths in 2016, with those deaths most commonly associated with Benzodiazepines and Oxycodone … these are both prescription drugs”. 

In the Northern Grampians in 2014/15, the most recent statistics from the national addiction treatment centre Turning Point, there were 12 ambulances who attended to people due to pharmaceutical drugs. 

In the same year, 11 people in the Northern Grampians were admitted to hospital for pharmaceutical drugs.

This was the lowest hospital admissions for pharmaceutical drugs in 10 years. 

To address pharmaceutical drug misuse, Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce representatives will host a stand in Horsham Plaza on May 16 to encourage community members to discuss the safe use of medications such as opioids and benzodiazepines. 

This is for National Prevention of Prescription Medication Dependence week from May 14 to 18. 

WDAT coordinator Sally Pymer says community education is essential to prevent prescription medication harms.

“By increasing knowledge about the risks associated with using potentially addictive medications long-term, we can empower community members to make the right decisions for their health,” Ms Pymer said.

ScriptWise, the organisation who started the national week, chief executive officer Bee Mohamed said “we know that regional and rural areas have been hit harder by increasing rates of opioid overdose, and it is very heartening to see community groups taking action to address this”. 

People looking for assistance with pharmaceutical drugs can contact Grampians Community Health, Wimmera UnitingCare or your general practitioner.