GCH turns purple in support of International Overdose Day

GRAMPIANS Community Health (GCH) turned its Ararat headquarters purple on Wednesday night to shine a light on accidental drug-overdoses, including the risks posed by prescription medications and alcohol.

GCH marked International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 by lighting up its sites across the region.

Purple is used as a message that every person’s life is valuable and that stigmatising people who use drugs needs to stop.

GCH non-residential withdrawal nurse Emma Mackley said International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember loved ones lost and acknowledge the grief of family and friends left behind.

Unintentional overdoses kill more Australians than road deaths and 40.1 per cent of those deaths are among people aged over 50.

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in 2019 there were 1,195 road crash deaths while 1,644 died from unintentional overdose, from a total of 2227 recorded overdose deaths in Australia.

Accidental overdoses are also more prevalent in rural areas.

A 2019 Penington Institute report shows there were seven unintentional drug-induced deaths per 100,000 people in regional areas compared to 6.1 in metropolitan areas.

Ms Mackley said this could be attributed to higher use of prescription medication, often in conjunction with alcohol, and more limited access to Naloxone which reverses the effects of opioid overdose.

“The combination of alcohol and prescription medication increases the risks of accidental overdose,” Ms Mackley said.

If you have concerns about the substance use of yourself or someone you care about, contact GCH on (03) 5358 7400 and speak with the intake worker.

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