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The staggering scale of Australia’s drug overdose ‘crisis’

Australia’s annual drug overdose report has revealed the staggering scale of the country’s drug problem.

In the past 12 months, 2070 Australians have died from an overdose.

It’s the fifth consecutive year that there have been more than 2000 overdose deaths recorded.

Of this year’s deaths, 75 per cent were accidental.

John Ryan, CEO of the Penington Institute, which put together the report, says around 10,000 people have died from overdoses in the past five years, and the issue doesn’t receive enough attention.

“It really is a crisis and we don’t give it the attention it deserves,” he told Dee Dee.

“It’s not just illegal drugs, it’s not just heroin, it’s often pharmaceutical drugs and obviously alcohol.”

Mr Ryan said it’s not only long-time drug users who are dying from overdoses.

“It’s not only a complex number of drugs that are involved, but it’s also touching people from all walks of life. You certainly don’t have to be addicted to overdose on drugs,” he said.

“It could be the first time that you use something, if you make a mistake with your prescription drugs … or you add some alcohol.”

Mr Ryan called for better education about the risks of drugs, including prescription medications.

“We got the road toll down with evidence-based policy and community education. I think that’s a good model for the overdose toll,” he said.

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