Bor­der’s over­dose stats grim

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS -

AS SUP­PORT ser­vices groan un­der the weight of a boom­ing de­mand for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, a re­port into the num­ber of over­doses across Aus­tralia has told a dire story for Coolan­gatta.

Aus­tralia’s An­nual Over­dose Re­port for 2017, re­leased this week by the Pen­ing­ton In­sti­tute, re­vealed 42 had died from an over­dose in Coolan­gatta be­tween 2011 and 2015.

That’s 65% higher than the na­tional av­er­age.

Pen­ing­ton In­sti­tute chief ex­ec­u­tive John Ryan said the bor­der town’s num­bers shed light on a “se­ri­ous lo­cal is­sue that needs a co­or­di­nated re­sponse”.

“We need bet­ter com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion for peo­ple who are ex­per­i­ment­ing with drug use be­fore they be­come ad­dicted,” Mr Ryan said.

“We need to do more to give peo­ple a chance to re­cover.

“Re­duc­ing bar­ri­ers around med­i­cal treat­ment will pro­vide many peo­ple who use drugs with a way out of a cy­cle of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity and in­car­cer­a­tion.

“This is not only a com­pas­sion­ate re­sponse, it is one that will ac­tively work to­wards re­duc­ing crime in our com­mu­nity.”

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