PRESCRIPTION drugs were responsible for about 75 per cent of overdose deaths in Warrnambool between 2009 and 2015, research reveals.
It’s an issue ScriptWise, a non-profit organisation dedicated to preventing the harms associated with prescription medication, wants to raise awareness of.
The organisation is hosting a number of community forums around the state to coincide with the first National Prevention of Prescription Medication Dependence Week.
Megan Newcomb, a panellist for the organisation, said more Victorians died from prescription medication related overdoses than from road crashes. “In the last five years the number of overdoses related to prescription medication has outnumbered the road toll,” she said.
A Warrnambool woman, who asked not to be named, knows what it’s like to become dependent on prescription medication. She attended one of the forums held in Portland recently.
The woman suffers from fibromyalgia and suffers from chronic pain.
“I was prescribed opiates and I’m working with doctors to reduce them and get off them,” she said.
The woman said she had become dependent on the pain medication.
“You become dependent on them without even realising it’s happening,” she said.
The woman said the forum made her even more determined to manage her pain without prescription medication. She encouraged people who used prescription medication to attend a free community forum on Monday, which will be hosted by Rotary clubs in the city.
Rotary Club of Warrnambool East president Mark Taylor said a Rotary District Conference had opened the eyes of local members to the magnitude of the problem locally. “This forum is a chance for community to respond o the problem and know what action they can take as an individual or as part of a group to make a difference in our community, in Victoria and across Australia,” Mr Taylor said.
The forum will be held from 7pm to 8.30pm at Buckley’s Mid City on Monday, May 14. Anyone interested in attending is asked to contact Jan Read at firstname.lastname@example.org