Australia’s annual overdose report, released by Penington Institute, shows every four hours an Australian is lost to preventable overdose.
Since 2001 35,000 Australians have lost their lives.
In Mackay, 25 people died from unintentional overdoses between 2016 and 2020.
CEO of the Penington Institute John Ryan says it’s one of the leading causes of death for people in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
“It’s taking people from all age groups and interestingly right across the socio-economic spectrum so the richest to the poorest are all touched by the overdose toll,” he says.
The organisation is calling for a national overdose prevention strategy that has input from researchers and people with lived experience.
Mr Ryan says the issue is considerably worse in regional communities than in cities.
“We need extra support in regional and rural areas. Improving access to healthcare as well as community education. It’s also about improved access to drug treatment for those people with a dependency,” he says.
If you, or someone you know, needs someone to talk to you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.