Drug-related deaths increase in Mandurah

Drug-related deaths are on the increase in Mandurah, with a new report showing a worrying trend in our region.

Not-for-profit organisation Pennington Institute has released Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2018, which shows the deaths of 59 people in Mandurah between 2012 to 2016 were drug-related.

This increased from 14 deaths between 2002 and 2006.

A total of 2,177 lives were lost across Australia in 2016 due to drug overdoses.

Pennington Institute chief executive John Ryan said the Mandurah figures were a cause for concern.

“The number of drug-related deaths in Mandurah and the surrounding region is trending upwards and that is a major concern,” he said. 

“An increase of 45 deaths in the years spanning 2012 to 2016 compared to 2002 to 2006 should act as a strong wake-up call.

“From 2001 to 2016, the drug type claiming the most lives in the area is unsurprisingly opioids such as codeine, heroin, oxycodone and fentanyl.”

Mr Ryan said sleeping or anxiety tablets, otherwise known as Benzodiazepines or Benzos, had become a silent killer – 7,088 Australians died from overdoses from 2001 to 2016.

In terms of accidental drug overdoses, middle-aged Australians were listed as the most likely to die, with 68 per cent of cases in 2016 involving people aged 30-59.

Mr Ryan called on the Federal Government to increase drug treatment across Australia and said only one in four people needing help is currently getting it.

“Spending priorities are wrong in Australia - 65 per cent of government investment tackling illicit drugs is spent on law enforcement to reduce supply,” he said.

“Just 22 per cent is spent on treatment, 9.5 per cent on prevention and 2.2 per cent on harm reduction.”

The report has been released ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day, which will take place this Friday. For more information go to www.overdoseday.com.