IN the five years between 2014 and 2018, forty-six Coffs Harbour residents died of unintentional overdoses.
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This is 15 more than in the five years between 2009 and 2013, corresponding to an almost 50 per cent increase.
Mr John Ryan, CEO of Pennington Institute, explained the data released in Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2020.
“In the five years between 2014 and 2018, there were forty-six unintentional overdose deaths in Coffs Harbour. That’s an unacceptably high number – and it’s forty-six too many.
“The data is clear: the overdose situation in Coffs Harbour is worsening.
“People are suffering and dying unnecessarily, and all levels of government and society are not doing enough to keep them safe,” he said.
Coffs Harbour resident Mr Mike Martin agrees.
He spoke with News of The Area about his daughter, Heather, who should never have died of an unintentional overdose.
After Heather had a motor vehicle accident, a hip replacement, knee and foot operations, she was prescribed drugs for the pain.
“Eventually she was on thirteen lots of drugs including endone, oxycodone hydrochloride, ketamine and methadone because there is no system in place where all doctors and pharmacists can see what the person has been prescribed,” he said.
“Most people normally take what they are prescribed and think the doctors know what they are doing.”
“Normal everyday people need to check out the drugs being prescribed to them no matter what it is.
“Go to the pharmacist and ask them what it is because it can cause lots of problems, even death,” he concluded.
The Pennington Institute Report showed that in 2018, two hundred and sixteen residents of regional NSW died of unintentional overdose, compared to 308 residents of Greater Sydney (there were a total of 524 unintentional overdose deaths across NSW).
The rate of unintentional overdose deaths has been higher in regional NSW than Greater Sydney every year since 2010.
By Sandra MOON