Stark jump in prescription drug deaths
Prescription medication abuse at an unprecedented rate in the Capes region has prompted mental health experts to call for change to the way drug use is treated.
Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2018, produced by the notfor-profit Penington Institute, revealed 28 people died from drugs in the Margaret River and Busselton area between 2012 and 2016, with opioids the top killers.
It was a stark jump from 20022006, during which seven local deaths by overdose were recorded.
While amphetamines were a significant problem, the benzodiazepine or “benzo” family is another major problem, with attributable deaths doubling in recent years.
South West Counselling senior counsellor Debbie George said opiate abuse often resulted from highlevel painkillers prescribed for back problems, or from black-market opiate medication to substitute heroin.
Penington chief executive John Ryan chief executive John Ryan urged the Government to focus on drug-use matters as a health, rather than legal problem.
South West Community Alcohol & Drug Service manager Johnathan Farr said substance dependence should “certainly be treated as a health issue”.