A new report says accidental drug overdose deaths have increased five-fold in a decade across the Colac Otway and Corangamite area, with the region’s death rate among the highest in Victoria.
Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2019, which the Penington Institute released yesterday, shows the number of deaths from unintentional drug overdose in the region jumped from just two between 2003 and 2007 to 10 between 2013 and 2017.
Meanwhile, there were 12 deaths at Warrnambool in the five years ending 2017, up from nine, 13 in the Surf Coast-Bellarine area, up from six, and 77 at Geelong, up from 59.
The Colac Otway-Corangamite rate is about 26 deaths per 100,000 people, while regional Victoria’s rate was 9.6 per 100,000 and Melbourne’s 5.3 per 100,000, with regional Victorians almost twice as likely to die of an unintentional overdose as Melbourne residents.
But the report’s 500-per-cent increase comes in part from a small study sample, with Colac Area Health’s Dr Didir Imran indicating the number of accidental drug overdoses for the Colac Otway region was likely to be consistent with nationwide rates – with deaths climbing by almost 40 per cent in the past 10 years.
Dr Imran, who is also a regional health leader, said prescription drugs were the biggest contributor to accidental drug overdoses, with opioids at the top followed by benzodiazepines.
See today’s Colac Herald for more.