Community health service, cohealth, says that the latest Victorian Coroner’s report on drug overdose deaths is a wake-up call for policy makers, and has called for a broad range of responses including the immediate establishment of a CBD overdose prevention service (supervised injecting service), improved access to drug treatment medicines (pharmacotherapy) and overdose reversal drug, Naloxone, plus the introduction of drug testing. cohealth also says there is much work to be done to improve community understanding of addiction.
The Victorian Coroner today released the Victorian overdose deaths report which showed that there has been a 33 per cent increase in heroin overdoses statewide, with 230 Victorians losing their lives to heroin in 2022.
In the City of Melbourne alone, two people per month died of heroin overdose in 2022, more than double the number from the year before.
“In the face of these staggering numbers, we need a broad-based response that includes improved access to pharmacotherapy, introducing pill testing, the establishment of an overdose prevention service and making Naloxone more easily available in the community,” said Nicole Bartholomeusz, cohealth Chief Executive.
“Every one of these deaths is tragic and could have been prevented if we had the right policy settings and health systems in place,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
“It is critical for us as a community to recognise that addiction is a health issue that needs a health response.”
“At cohealth we support people who use drugs with wraparound health and social supports, including GPs, nurses and social workers. But we can’t help people once they are dead.”
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About cohealth: cohealth is a Victorian not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all. It provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services.