cohealth welcomes world overdose awareness day announcement of new investment to save lives

Released on 1st September 2016

cohealth, one of Victoria’s largest community health organisations and a provider of services to people who use drugs welcomes yesterday’s announcement from Minister Foley of additional investment into overdose prevention strategies, with Chief Executive Lyn Morgain expressing confidence that the expansion of a peer-based outreach workforce would help save lives.

“We are delighted to see investment in peer-led outreach in the overdose hot spots of Brimbank/Maribyrnong, Greater Dandenong, Greater Geelong, Melbourne, Port Phillip, and Yarra,” Ms Morgain said.

“We know from experience that peer-led outreach is a highly effective approach, delivering support in a way that is proactive, relevant and accessible. We value the contribution of our staff and clients who have lived experience of drug use in the development and delivery of our services, and can see the real difference their involvement makes.”

Ms Morgain also said that the proposed peer-led outreach worker initiative would be well placed to assist some people who will become at risk of overdose in the transition to real time prescription monitoring.

“It is extremely pleasing to see that Minister Foley’s investment recognises that both illicit drug use and prescription drug use can lead to accidental overdose deaths and emergency hospital presentations”, Ms Morgain said.

cohealth currently provides a range of community based harm reduction services in Brimbank/Maribyrnong, Melbourne, and Yarra, and is the leading agency in the North West Melbourne Pharmacotherapy Network which supports doctors and other health professionals to identify and treat people who have opioid dependence.

“We know overdose is preventable and that by proactively working together we can avoid unnecessary suffering,” said Ms Morgain.

“We are pleased to see cross party involvement in the Parliamentary Friends of Drug Law Reform, established by the Honourable Fiona Patten MLC, and look forward to working with all of its members, including Minister Foley, to continue to find strategies beyond the justice system that can reduce drug related harms.”

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